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Devils 3, Flyers 0: Everybody hit the post

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Well, everybody on the Flyers, that is.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This game was arguably the most frustrating one of the season, and they probably deserved a win in this one. So in other words, your average Flyers vs. Devils game.

1st Period

The Flyers came out in this one with considerably more jump than they did against Florida, but it was New Jersey who tallied the game’s first goal. After Nolan Patrick received a hit in the neutral zone just moments after taking a breakout pass from Christian Folin, the Devils came on the counterattack and *checks notes* Joey Anderson scores? Oh it was his first NHL goal, well, that sounds about right. Anderson took a one time shot from just beyond the faceoff circles, and needless to say, that’s one Brian Elliott is going to want back. The puck went right through the five-hole of Elliott and the Devils take the early lead.

In the early going, the Flyers found themselves pretty unlucky. Scott Laughton fired one off the post after some strong forechecking lead to Laughton left alone in front of Keith Kinkaid. Travis Sanheim also pinged iron with a long range point shot. After great work by Patrick to take the puck away from former first round pick (ahead of Ivan Provorov) Pavel Zacha, the Devils forward hooks Patrick and sends the Flyers to the power play.

It appeared as though the Flyers scored just five seconds into the power play, with returnee to the lineup James van Riemsdyk getting the deflection goal. However JVR accidentally bumped Kinkaid’s glove as he glided by, leading to goalie interference called and the Flyers still down by one. Boo hiss.

Remember what I said about the Flyers being pretty unlucky early on? Well I decided to change pretty unlucky to COME ON WITH THIS NONSENSE unlucky. Patrick on the power play almost sniped one by Kinkaid, but found iron, then Travis Konecny as the same power play was winding down, hit, you guessed it, the post! The power play for the Flyers has genuinely been bad this year, but this was the players doing quite literally everything but the finish.

Folin would take a tripping penalty as the period came to the close, putting the Flyers on the penalty kill for just under the full two minutes to start the second. That was one annoying 20 minutes of hockey, folks. Jordan Weal lead the team in Corsi For after one with a 82.33 percent mark (10-2), and Jakub Voracek brought up the rear at 28.57 percent (2-5).

Gameflow/heatmap after 1st Period

2nd Period

The Flyers would kill off the New Jersey power play with relative ease, and Christian Folin gave it his absolute best effort to get to that puck out of the penalty box. It was honestly so painful to watch him attempt to get to that puck. He’s not an offensive guy, and I’m sure he never expects to get that opportunity, but man was he slow. Regardless, moments later Provorov would high stick Devils blueliner Sami Vatanen in the corner, sending New Jersey right back to the power play.

Philadelphia’s penalty killers did a fantastic job on the first kill, but on this one it was the fantastic work of their goalie. Elliott made not one but two spectacular saves on the kill keeping the Flyers just down a goal. After giving up a soft one for the first goal of the game, Elliott really settled down after that. More hard work by the Flyers forwards would lead to their first power play of second period, as Konecny kept his feet moving and drew a tripping call (although on second glance did not really look like a trip), giving the Flyers a huge chance to tie the game.

Alas, the game-tying goal would not occur here, as very little offense was generated by either power play unit. The best chance came via a Couturier slot shot that missed the net. Although the Flyers dominated much of the second period, the Devils saw a resurgence in the closing minutes. Elliott was forced to make some difficult saves and was up to the task, once again keeping the boys in the game. Voracek would get two solid chances in 4-on-4 time as the period came to a close, but was unable to beat Kinkaid and the Flyers went into the third still down a goal.

After two, Travis Sanheim lead the way for the Flyers in driving play, with a 78.95 CF, and Voracek remained in last at 37.50. The Devils evened up the possession battle a bit in the second, but the Flyers still hold a small lead at 34-31 CF.

Gameflow/heatmap after 2nd period

3rd period

After some consistent offensive zone time to start the period, but little to no shots to show for it, Dale Weise was tripped by Taylor Hall sending the Flyers to their fourth power play of the game looking to tie it up. Despite a solid chance from Shayne Gostisbehere on a cross-ice one timer, that would virtually be the only solid scoring opportunity for the orange and black on the man advantage. The Devils would continue to play, well, Devils hockey, which will put even the most rabid of hockey fans to sleep.

Oh, and Oskar Lindblom hit the post, giving the Flyers five hit posts in the game. This is one of those “rip your hair out” kind of games. Not fun, folks!

You know what else isn’t fun? Absolutely everything about the New Jersey Devils, including Kyle Palmieri who beat Elliott on a wraparound goal. Elliott leaving the game directly after said goal was not all that fun either, as it was clear the Philadelphia netminder could not move post-to-post.

Dave Hakstol would pull Calvin Pickard with over three minutes remaining in the game, and once again the Flyers were robbed on a prime scoring chance. Keith Kinkaid tried to fire the puck into the empty cage after a Flyers dump in attempt, turned it over to Wayne Simmonds who had an empty net staring him down, and Kinkaid somehow got back to deflect the puck away. Think we can just chalk this up as “one of those games.”

Blake Coleman would score the empty netter, 3-0 Devils, and that would be your final. Who doesn’t hate the Devils am I right?

Final gameflow/heatmap

All stats and graphics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick