Something that was great to see as this game began was the energy level of the Flyers. Solid forechecking lead to some early chances for the home team. Nolan Patrick forced a turnover along the boards that eventually lead to one of Robert Hagg’s early shot attempts. An energetic start was a necessity after the trainwreck that was Tuesday night.
Jordan Weal intercepted a pass at the blue line and looked as if he’d be off on a breakaway but was hooked by former Flyer Dennis Seidenberg and after a few solid chances on the delayed penalty, the first man advantage of the game finally began for Philadelphia.
The Flyers would make quick work on the power play as a Jakub Voracek shot was deflected by Sean Couturier, past Thomas Greiss, to give the Flyers a quick 1-0 lead.
Yesterday, Tyrell Goulbourne was called up to bring energy to the Flyers lineup; well Travis Konency must have taken offense to this, because the diminutive Konecny answered the bell against Shane Prince and won the fight with a knockout blow.
Generally, the Flyers controlled play for the remainder of the period; they weren’t sitting back on their lead as they typically do. However, in typical Flyers fashion, they surrendered a goal on the only scoring chance the Islanders had up to that point. A point shot from Nick Leddy deflected off of Cal Clutterbuck’s knee and past Elliott. Despite having decimated the Isles for the entire period, the Isles clear the slate and it’s a 1-1 game.
After a period of play, the Flyers lead the Isles in Corsi-for: 22-13, scoring chances-for: 10-5, and high danger chances-for: 5-2. The top line was excellent in the first along with the third line of Jordan Weal, Nolan Patrick, and Wayne Simmonds.
WELL THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.
Michael Raffl started the goal scoring in the second just a minute and 36 seconds in: a deflection off an Ivan Provorov shot found its way by Greiss and put the Flyers back in front by a 2-1 score. Less than a minute later, Wayne Simmonds buried a rebound chance after great work along the boards by Jordan Weal to work it to the point for a Hagg shot. After dominating so much of the first period, the Flyers were finally burying their scoring chances.
Andrew MacDonald would then draw a four minute double minor via a high stick from Tanner Fritz, which gave the Flyers their second power play of the night. They would make no mistake as Patrick setup Provorov to let another wrister go from the point, it found the back of the net and just like that, the Flyers have a 4-1 lead with over half of the second period yet to play.
The Isles would answer however, as Clutterbuck once again lit the lamp for his second of the night to make it a 4-2 game. Despite never really taking control of the game, the Islanders definitely had a bit more sustained pressure in the period.
Just a minute and a half after Clutterbuck’s goal, the Flyers were right back at it. Couturier made a beautiful flip pass to send Konecny in on a breakaway, and finally Teeks was able to bury one of those golden opportunities and gave the Flyers back their three goal lead.
After two the Flyers lead in corsi-for: 43-29, scoring chances-for: 23-11, and high danger chances-for: 12-4. Hagg, Konecny, and Claude Giroux lead the team in CF% heading into the final stanza.
The final period started just about how you’d imagine, the Islanders pushing play and the Flyers sitting back for the most part. Scott Laughton would take a hooking penalty early on and send the Isles to their first power play of the night and what do you know, John Tavares snipes one by Elliott to make it a two goal game yet again. The penalty kill has been a problem all year, but it only seems to be getting worse.
With 13:10 left in the period, Andrew Ladd was called for tripping and the Flyers went to the power play looking to essentially ice the game. They were unable to convert despite a prime chance from Couturier at the side of the net. It looked like he had a tap in of a goal but decided to make the extra pass to Simmonds. I’m all for making a more creative play than just shooting the puck a la Radko Gudas, but that’s a shot Couturier needs to take.
As the Flyers continued to sit back, the Islanders continued to generate scoring chances, and with just over five minutes in the game, Ryan Pulock blew by Hagg and went top shelf on Elliott. The Islanders all of a sudden are within a goal with the game winding down.
Then Sean Couturier obliterated Josh Bailey.
Sean Couturier vs. Josh Bailey pic.twitter.com/FIW6pJPyPT— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 5, 2018
This completed the Gordie Howe Hat Trick for Couturier, the first time he has done this in his career.
Then Scott Laughton promptly beat Jordan Eberle up. This game was awesome.
Scott Laughton vs. Jordan Eberle pic.twitter.com/bQ9UW9esXC— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 5, 2018
After Giroux missed two empty nets because WHAT IS THIS GAME???? Provorov buried his second goal of the game and the Flyers go on to win 6-4 over the Islanders in a wild one against their division rivals.