Games like the one the Flyers played tonight are, generally speaking, the kinds of games that the Flyers have lost this season.
So while you can be well within your rights to be annoyed at the fact that the Flyers waited until they were out of the playoff race to start winning these kinds of games, it’s still nice to see them come out on top of them for once.
Large stretches of dominance looked to be for naught after about 59 minutes of this one, but a lucky bounce off Travis Konecny’s stick tied this one up in the final minutes, and Brayden Schenn collected the rebound on a drive to the net by Sean Couturier in overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win.
For the first half of this game, the Flyers were absolutely in control. Despite having a number of stretches, particularly in the first period, where the team was a bit disjointed passing the puck around the offensive zone, the Flyers completely stifled Carolina offensively and regularly held the puck for extended periods of time. And after a first period that had mostly played out like so many Flyers first periods before it — extended territorial dominance that wasn’t rewarded on the scoreboard — Ivan Provorov rung up his first even-strength point in five weeks with a snipe of a shot over Cam Ward’s right shoulder to open up the scoring.
The Flyers’ strong performance from late in the first period carried over to the second period, in which Carolina didn’t register a shot on goal until about six minutes into the period. And not long after that, Dale Weise — for the second time in three games! — was there to cash in on the end result of a fantastic Travis Konecny shift.
They don't call him the Dutch Gretzky for nothing! pic.twitter.com/XyI6xOnTVP— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 20, 2017
Of course, things would then unravel, as they often do once good things appear to be happening to the Flyers. Carolina would even up the score before the second period was up, with one goal on a carom off the back boards that went straight to Jeff Skinner and another following a laughable defensive breakdown that gave Elias Lindholm a clean shot with which he’d beat Steve Mason.
After the Flyers would let two overlapping power plays go to waste early in the third period, everyone in the building probably knew who was scoring the next goal, and it wasn’t the team in orange. Surely enough, a slashing penalty on Sean Couturier gave Carolina their second power play of the game, and after stumbling their way through most of it, they would eventually break the tie on a goal from the other other Staal brother.
So, yes. Outplay the opponent for most of the game, take a couple of untimely penalties, have some bad breakdowns, goalie can’t bail them out, and all of a sudden the Flyers are trailing in the third period of a game they probably should be winning. It’s a script we’ve all seen unfold a few times before (ironically, it’s one that the Flyers’ opponent tonight, the Hurricanes, have also been on the bad end of a few times), and it was pretty reasonable to expect a loss as the game wound down.
Which made what happened next all the more surprising! Following a somewhat questionable delay of game penalty on Sebastian Aho, the Flyers went to the power play for the third time in the game. And just seconds after the penalty had ended — by which point the Flyers had an extra attacker on the ice — Konecny would end up on the good end of a lucky bounce, as his blind centering attempt from behind the net would bounce off of two Hurricanes and into the net.
Travis Konecny is love— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 20, 2017
Travis Konecny is life pic.twitter.com/fYyXlqg86t
The teams would make it into overtime, at which point Sean Couturier — who’s had himself quite a run in the past couple of weeks — bulldozed his way around Teuvo Teravainen and into Cam Ward’s grill, and Schenn was there to pick up the garbage and end the game.
Schenn scored the OT winner, but that play was all Couturier pic.twitter.com/IpVse1c84l— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 20, 2017
Wins and losses, at this point in the season, mean as much or as little as you want them to. But at the very least, it’s encouraging to see contributions coming from players that are almost certainly going to be around for a while, the way we did tonight from Provorov, Konecny, and even Couturier.
Off to Winnipeg on Tuesday. Go Flyers.