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Flyers 6, Panthers 5: Well, that was fun

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And frustrating, and amazing, and annoying all at the same time. Flyers hockey, folks!

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This win didn’t come easy, but our Philadelphia Flyers pulled it out. It was a crazy game with a lot of bad defense and goaltending, but it’s a win! Let’s get into it.

Graphics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

1st Period

If you looked up the definition for a slow start to a hockey game, the start for this game is what probably comes up. Florida definitely had control for a good majority of the first period, but even they didn’t exactly really start controlling play until the halfway mark. Sloppy passes, failed dump ins, failed carry-ins, zone exits, everything. Around that midway mark, however, was where the Flyers began to find their footing a bit. They were able to generate some offensive zone time and finally start testing Michael Hutchison.

That short-lived momentum vanished briefly though when Travis Konecny took an ill-advised interference penalty, giving Florida their first power play of the night. The Panthers were unable to produce much offense though, and the Flyers penalty killed stepped up huge early on in the game. The Flyers would then go to a power play of their own as Sean Couturier drew the call. Despite their best efforts, the power play was unable to get the puck by Hutchison. They spent almost the entire man advantage in the Panthers zone, but simply could not find the twine.

In typical Flyers’ fashion, shortly after the power play ended Frank Vatrano who definitely sounds like an Italian mob boss, fired a shot from a sharp angle through a screen, by Brian Elliott. It’s a screened shot, but Elliott can’t let that get by him. Especially after the Flyers had seemingly stunted the Panthers momentum from the first half of the period.

1st period heatmap/gameflow

2nd Period

Hmmm...let’s start every period like this one! The Flyers quickly made up for the disappointing end to the 1st period with two strong chances, one resulting in a goal. The first, a two on one between Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom. Lindblom placed a perfect low shot on Hutchison, got the rebound to Konecny, who in 2018-19 Travis Konecny fashion, flubbed the shot. This dude has just not been able to buy a goal early on. Luckily for the Flyers, Wayne Simmonds eased the pain. He deflected a Travis Sanheim pass by Hutchison and tied the game for the Flyers.

And again in typical Flyers fashion, Claude Giroux was promptly robbed by Hutchison shortly afterwards in attempts to make it 2-1. You know who did make it 2-1 though? Jordan “Weally good at deflections” Weal who tips home a Robert Hagg point shot and just like that off of two point shots, the Flyers have the lead. They may not be the greatest way to generate offense, but if as a team point shots are going to be a mainstay in your offense, get traffic in front.

After a Simmonds penalty, the Flyers put together another dominating penalty kill vs. Florida. And after that huge kill, Claude Giroux found a puck sitting right in the slot off a gorgeous pass by former first overall pick Aaron Ekblad, and rifled it by Hutchison. 3-1 Flyers on a much needed goal for the recently snake-bitten captain. Giroux was robbed twice vs. Vegas and Marc-Andre Fleury, so you know this one had to feel good.

The Flyers continued to control the pace of play after taking the two goal advantage, until...oh..oh no what in the actual hell was that Brian? The Panthers dumped the puck in, it caroms in front of Elliott who just sort of does a half attempt to corral the puck and everyone’s favorite hockey-playing mob boss is at it again, Frank Vatrano puts it by Elliott, 3-2 game. That goal was somehow more stupid than the first one, once again, no excuses for Elliott there. He needs to grab that puck and at the very least stop play.

Alright so at this point the Flyers just needed to dig down and regain the momentum lost and...did Christian Folin just make a phenomenal pass to send the Flyers on a two on one that leads to a breakaway and a Simmonds goal?

* wipes glasses *

OH YOU BET HE DID

Folin makes a QB-like lob pass to Scott Laughton, who settled the puck down perfectly, and finds Simmonds for what turns into a partial breakaway, he goes forehand-backhand and oh baby that is one beautiful goal. Folin is what he is, a bottom pair defenseman in this league at best, but that was pretty awesome to say the very least. It was certainly a good play to make in a game replacing Andrew MacDonald, a healthy scratch in this one.

Not long after, Shayne Gostisbehere absolutely worked the Panthers defense. First, he put the moves on Keith Yandle, then sends a beautiful pass over to Giroux, who with the perfectly timed and executed screen by Weal, beats Hutchison for the second time and puts the Flyers up 5-2. All around this was a fantastic goal and nice to see out of Ghost, who has struggled to start the year.

After some rough stuff involving quite a few players from each team, the Flyers somehow ended up on the penalty kill despite it appearing as though the Panthers were more so the aggressors. Just seven seconds into that power play, Mike Hoffman tallied a power play goal on a deflection by Elliott. Disappointing way for the period to end, but still one where the Flyers outscored Florida 5-2, and very much so improved upon their shot selection, and possession numbers. What hurt for the Flyers was the loss of Simmonds for the rest of the game, who along with Petrovic received a 10 minute misconduct.

2nd period heatmap/gameflow

3rd Period

Remember how I mentioned earlier how Konecny just can’t seem to buy a goal? Well, it happened again. Jordan Weal who had a fantastic game for the Flyers in this one, made a perfect, silky smooth pass finding Konecny darting to the net after Weal cut to the far side, but Konecny was denied on the backhand.

Although the Flyers continued to control the game primarily as the third began, Evgenii Dadonov received a great pass from...Bogdan Kislevich? Sure, why not. Anyway, Dadonov puts a perfect shot over Elliott and the Panthers had brought the deficit to just one. It was a breakdown in coverage by the Gostisbehere and Provorov pairing, but as John Tortorella said those many years ago, “it’d be nice to get an occasional save.”

And that my friends, was Calvin Pickard’s music.

Dave Hakstol pulled Elliott after the Dadonov goal and Pickard entered with just under 15 minutes to play in the game, and the Flyers up one. High pressure situation to say the very least. That pressure got cranked up even more when a very poor decision by Gostisbehere who tried to fire a puck on net that got knocked down, and flipped ahead to Barkov who blew past Provorov. Barkov buried the backhander by Pickard and just like that, the Panthers had tied the game.

The sloppy play from the first half of the first period returned then after, and the two teams traded minimal offensive zone time, and the game would go to overtime.

Final heatmap/gameflow

Overtime/shootout

The Flyers controlled the beginning portions of the overtime, and it eventually lead to a tripping call on Mike Hoffman, and the Flyers would head to the power play with a huge chance to win the game. Alas, the Flyers were unable to convert or generate all that much offense on the power play, sending the game to a shootout.

Voracek scores, Barkov scores, Weal scores, and Calvin Pickard in relief stops that hockey playing mob boss and the Flyers win the hockey game! This was a frustrating game but a fun one nonetheless. The game should have been won in regulation, but as they say, a win’s a win, and the Flyers are back to .500.