Andrew MacDonald. Healthy Scratch. We can use these words together in the same sentence for the first time in months. Rejoice Philadelphia!
The Flyers looked to stop a tailspin which had seen them win one of their last six games. Similarly, the Canucks had only won one of their last five games. In net tonight was a battle between two goalies traded for Jaroslav Halák. Ryan Miller faced off against Michel Neuvirth, who started his fourth straight as Steve Mason has been taking a slow ride on the pine. Neuvirth stood tall, though, as he backed the Flyers to the 3-2 win in Vancouver.
On a Sunday
Vancouver, British Columbia
The new look Flyers defensive corps took to the ice, Andrew MacDonald’s partner, Ivan Provorov found himself playing along Mark Streit. Less then two minutes, in Flyers 2010 3rd round pick Michael Chaput (should have kept) tripped up Streit and gave the Flyers their first powerplay of the game. For the first time in seemingly forever, the powerplay unit looked a tad different. Two defensemen could be found at the point... but not just any two defensemen. Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov. On the ice. At the same time. The cries of Flyers fans everywhere have been answered.
They did not score on this powerplay, but have no fear! Shortly after Alexandre Burrows hooked our good pal Claude Giroux to give the Flyers their second PP within the first five minutes of the game. Then, just like we’ve all dreamed of, Provorov recived the puck at the point, slid it down low to Gostisbehere who fired the puck on net only for it to be deflected in by Wayne Simmonds.
PROVY— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 20, 2017
Philadelphia looked good for the majority of the first period. Michael Del Zotto cross-checked Jayson Megna later in the period; however, the Canucks failed to do anything meaningful with the ensuing PP. (Megna should also be remembered for running Steve Mason at the end of the 2013/14 season, injuring him and forcing the Flyers to start Ray Emery in the first three games of the playoffs against the New York Rangers.)
The Flyers came out of the first period not losing, which they’re not used to recently. Things might be looking up, and it might actually be sunny in Philadelphia for once. Well, before you know it, my friend, here comes Sean Couturier flying down the wing after receiving the most perfect pass from Gostisbehere. Sean rips a shot that is saved by Ryan Miller. However, Miller leaves the juiciest rebound in the history of rebounds, and then Jake Voracek happened. Voracek has an empty net to shoot at ... all he has to do is guide the puck ever so gently into the net. And he did just that. Jake fires the puck into the unmanned net and it slides into the back of the net just as Miller attempts to sprawl back into position.
But that is not all folks!
Shortly after, the beast from Yekaterinburg known as Nikita Tryamkin decided the best thing to do with his down by two goals was to take an interference penalty. So he did just that!
Power-play Superstar® Brayden Schenn does what he only knows how to do. Score a goal — on the powerplay. At this point it’s complete pandemonium. My pants are off. I’m running around the house. The cat is hiding. I’ve forgiven the Flyers for every bad thing they’ve ever done.
SCHENN— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 20, 2017
IS THIS REAL LIFE? pic.twitter.com/fpgO3DE6t4
Welllllllllllllllllll. Not so fast. Markus Granlund (noted party pooper) took it upon himself to score a hockey goal (not a baseball goal, just ask Bill Clement). Now, it isn’t all that bad, as it is only one goal. But just ten minutes later Jannik Hansen also scored to bring Vancouver within one. Now the Grandlund goal can be excused; it was a deflection and you cant do much to stop that. But Hansen’s goal is the type that has you screaming “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” at the television set. Horvat was kept to the outside and defended nicely by Roman Lyubimov. He threw the puck in front of the net as Shayne Gostisbehere looked as if he was trying to slide ... I’m not sure where. And this is where it all fell apart, and before we knew it the puck was in the net and everyone had a confused look on their face. Michael Del Zotto attempted to do something resembling defense at the end of the play, but in reality it looked like a dance move straight out of music video for ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba.
It should also be noted that the Canucks allow players to choose their own goal songs, and Jannik Hansen happens to use ‘Booyah’, the song the Flyers used to years ago. So we can only come to the conclusion that Hansen is secretly a Flyers fan.
The second period came to a close and the Flyers were in the same position they were at the end of the first, ahead by one goal.
Here we are, the third period. The Flyers are actually in a spot to win a hockey game, something they have not been doing of late. Mark Streit wanted to make things interesting, so he tripped up Alexandre Burrows. But, the Canucks did what any team with a PP% of 14.8% would do. They didn’t score a goal. Which is good, because if they scored a goal then it would have tied the game. Something we, Flyers fans, do not want.
For some reason, the Flyers did not apply their patented technique of ‘turtling’ and actually applied some pressure throughout the duration of the third period. The clock ticked down and Ryan Miller was called to the bench with two minutes left in the game. The Canucks had trouble setting up in the Flyers zone, and we’re under a minute to go. Wayne Simmonds had a chance to score from his knees from center ice, missing just wide. It didn’t matter though, as the Philadelphia Flyers had won the hockey game.