Surprisingly enough, the new look fourth line had the first bit of sustained pressure for the Flyers in this one.
Jordan Weal got around the Oilers defense and tried a wrap around on Laurent Brossiot, which was followed shortly there after by a short side shot by Taylor Leier. The Flyers would continue hemming the Oilers in their own zone with solid fore-checking, leading to a penalty taken by Matt Benning resulting in the game’s first man advantage.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they were unable to convert on the powerplay despite a very passive penalty kill from Edmonton. Wayne Simmonds had the best chance with a backhand shot from in tight, but Brossoit was up to the task.
The Flyers should have been given another powerplay on what looked like interference on Sean Couturier dumping the puck in, but just a few minutes later they were paid back as Claude Giroux was interfered with following a face-off. However, this powerplay had the same fate as the former, no goals to show for it.
From the 15:30 mark of the period to the 17:00 minute mark, the Flyers had one of their best shifts in years. The forecheck was insufferable for Edmonton and although they weren’t able to put too many quality scoring chances on net, they controlled play for over a minute and a half and put together a strong finish to a solid first period.
1st period heatmap/gameflow
DALE WEISE DID WHAT NOW?
The Flyers controlled pace of play for the most part in the first, but they really took it to Edmonton in the second and it finally resulted in goals.
The period was not without adversity, however, as just 3:41 into the period the Oilers capitalized on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity to put them up 1-0. That shorthanded goal was scored by Leon Draisaitl assisted by Connor McDavid. That’s just disrespectful, Edmonton.
Redemption would be had later in the period though by Jordan Weal, who received a beautiful tic-tac-toe pass from Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux on the powerplay to tie the game up at 1.
Then....the unthinkable happened. (I know he’s scored three goals this year, shush, you wouldn’t have expected this either)
DALE WEISE, YES, THAT DALE WEISE, SCORED A GOOD HOCKEY GOAL.
The Flyers were making a line change and Giroux entered the zone looking to just set up control of the puck. Weise came over the boards on the line change, received the pass from the captain, and went five-hole on Brossoit to put the Flyers up 2-1. I’ve watched this a few times now and I’m still in shock it happened.
2nd period heatmap/gameflow
After an uneventful first three minutes of the third, Michael Raffl broke up a pass, then Voracek hit him with a beautiful breakout pass which lead to a Raffl breakaway. He promptly sniped one by Brossoit and just like that, the Flyers get a two goal lead.
A theme that was present in the third period vs Calgary: the Flyers continued their strong back-check in their efforts to keep the Oilers at bay. The strong checking resulted in many Oilers turnovers and while the Flyers didn’t do much with these turnovers, they continued to force them.
The first real threat in the period to the two goal lead was a two on one featuring, you guessed it, McDavid and, you not so much guessed it, Milan Lucic. Brian Elliott was in perfect position however and made a strong stop on Lucic, allowing no rebound.
The Flyers continued to play ultra-conservative as the period wound down, and it eventually bit them. Patrick Maroon fired one toward Elliott from a sharp angle, and even though Elliott made a fantastic stop on a shot in close from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mike Cammaleri was there to deposit the rebound. 3-2 Oilers.
The refs had been letting holding go for much of the game, so it just figures that the Flyers get a late penalty for holding, setting up a wild end to this game.
The Flyers would kill it off brilliantly, leaving the Oilers a minute and a half of empty net time to try and tie the game. Despite some anxious moments, Simmonds got a pass from Valtteri Filppula and buried the empty netter, Flyers win 4-2.
After adjusting for score and venue, the Flyers finish out the night with a team CF% of 53.05, a solid mark for a team who turtled for basically the entire third period after Raffl’s goal. Leier, Scott Laughton, and Travis Sanheim lead the way in adjusted CF%.
(ok Natural Stat Trick’s hetmap isn’t working at the moment so here’s the team’s expected goals for which is a decent substitute)
PHI xGF: 3.66
All stats and images courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Corsica.hockey