The Flyers needed a win, but maybe not even as much as the fans needed one.
Things have been awfully morose around these parts lately. We’re a depressing bunch when the Flyers suck. I don’t blame us, but man, I thought, we need a win.
Before I even had a chance to settle in, the Sharks had taken a bench minor, possessing just too much man for the National Hockey League to handle. It must have had something to do with all the beard. The Flyers got some good chances, especially thanks to Shayne Gostisbehere who, shockingly, is half decent on a power play. They never managed to score, which sucked because the power play has just not been clicking. Some things are just not meant to be. For example, me experiencing joy.
Not soon after the power play had ended, Michael Haley tried to run over Radko Gudas, but Radko Gudas is smart and had ducked out of the way mostly. Still, Radko was very unhappy with this. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t like to be hit either. A little scrum ensued and Gudas managed to get a punch in, which got him an extra two minutes for whatever reason. Fans booed, which they tend to do when things go against us.
After some chaos in front of the net, the Sharks power play struck. A sigh echoed across the nation, a sigh that sounded eerily like “of course”. Dave Hakstol studied the play, though, and saw some goaltender interference. I never assume challenges will go in our favor because pessimism is so much easier and funnier. To be fair, the Sharks player (Kevin Labanc, I think) did give Neuvirth a pretty good whack, which looked like it may have impeded Neuvy from getting across the net. That is an important part of being a goaltender, or so I’ve heard.
Shockingly, the goal was overturned and we got a great shot of Peter DeBoer calling it embarrassing which was super funny. Back to square one again. Delicious.
The Flyers poured it on, getting some really dangerous opportunities from...all four lines? That seems like it would be fake, but it’s true! They outshot the Sharks 14-4 in the opening period, and gosh, that’s great. It would have been greater to get a goal, but you know what the Rolling Stones say: it’s only rock and roll, but I like it.
Opening up the second period with the majority of a power play on their side, they continued to keep the Sharks at bay. San Jose is such a dynamic and creative team, making it both surprising and delightful.
The drama of the second period really came when Wayne Simmonds was called for cross-checking (after the refs missed a slew foot against Mark Streit, but who’s counting?). Obviously Simmonds is an invaluable member of the penalty kill, making it all the more difficult to kill off. After a fluky play with the puck landing on the outside of the cage, Neuvirth lost his stick and the Flyers seemed to collapse. I found myself holding my breath for the next minute as the Sharks kept the puck in the zone with four extremely tired penalty killers. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare blocked a heavy shot, barely getting around.
Those were some tense moments, but the Flyers kept calm for the most part and didn’t sag back as the period progressed. In fact, play got more and more aggressive, which was exciting! It’s been a long time since I would call a game played by the Philadelphia Flyers “exciting”. Kinda silly, considering it was a 0-0 game going into the third period. I can’t help how I feel.
The pace was frenetic throughout the third, wide open neutral zone leading to lots of rushes for both teams. The Sharks seemed to push back well against the Flyers, far more than the first two periods. That’s never good news. Still, the orange boys managed to keep control in the defensive zone while getting their chances.
Jordan Weal had a monster of a shift, generating tons of opportunity and keeping possession. Andrew MacDonald got a shot off which Dell stopped, but Provorov was able to zip the rebound home. It was Provorov’s fifth of the year and after playing a great game, he deserved it!
Almost immediately after they took the lead, however, the Flyers had a messy shift which lead to a penalty. Brandon Manning got called for holding and sure enough, some good puck movement found a Patrick Marleau shot in the back of the net. Back to square one again. Good lord. No wonder everyone is frustrated by this team.
With just fourth minutes left in regulation, game tied, the Flyers got a power play chance. I don’t mean to be obscene, but the first unit should have had an NC-17 warning. They really deserved a goal, but God had bigger plans in store. We went to overtime.
Wayne Simmonds made an All Star play (ha), reading a fumble by Brent Burns in the neutral zone and got himself a breakaway. He stuffed it past Dell, netting his first overtime winner of his career, and wow, I had forgotten what it was like to feel this happy after a win.
Stuff, Lori. Things:
- Many have pointed out that the Flyers have had three absolutely dominant first periods in a row, none of which have resulted in a lead going into the second period. This, predictably, has some fans frustrated.
- Jordan Weal as a Flyer again! He looked great, in my professional opinion! Should look good, considering who he’s managed to slot in with, but still, a very heartening game for him. A very talented, feisty kid.
- All four lines looked...as close to optimal as Dave Hakstol will allow. It seems like these new combinations will probably stick, at least until Konecny returns. Hey, who knows, maybe even then! (I wish this was a joke.)
- Wayne Simmonds. My word. He made an incredible move against Brent Burns in the first, and I nearly pooped myself. Holy god, it was beautiful. Aaron Dell should have let him score simply because it was so good. He scored eventually, though, so I don’t mind.
- Dave Isaac tweeted that Michael Raffl and Shayne Gostisbehere were wearing hats during warm-ups, and that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. I do think it’s very sweet, though.
- Radko Gudas nailed a linesman, as my nephew would report, “in his privates!”
- I know it’s sacrilege to talk shit on beards, but Joe Thornton’s beard is awful. It looks like he cut a straw broom up and just glued that to his face. Terrible. How do people praise this? It’s just plain bad. Please dont @ me.
Last night, I had a dream that the Flyers played the Devils and they lost 8-0. I’m not kidding about this. How dejected does a person have to be to have that dream? I think that’s reminiscent of how the entire fan base felt going into this game.
This win felt good, really good, and it didn’t just fall into their laps either. It actually felt like luck was working against them with the amount of chances they had. They worked hard for this win, and they got it! Enjoy the feeling.
The Flyers are off for a couple days, back on the road to face Calgary on Wednesday. Go Flyers.