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Return Flight: The legend of Gostisbehere grows

The rookie blue liner potted his second overtime goal in a span of three games.

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Throughout the season, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane whenever the Flyers open their season series against an opponent. We’ll be remembering a game, goal, or highlight Philly created while playing against that particular team. It won’t always be the most notable memory the Orange and Black have against that team, but it’ll be something that Flyers’ fans will want to remember.

Even though he isn’t having the most dominant or spectacular season, Shayne Gostisbehere is still a great defenseman who is important to the future of the Philadelphia Flyers. Proof of his greatness was seen during his first extended stay with the team, which happened during the 2015-16 season. In 64 games, Gostisbehere provided 17 goals and 29 assists with plenty of dynamic plays to grab attention from fans across the league. Despite an historic 15-game point streak and four overtime goals, the Flyers’ blue liner finished second in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting with 955 votes behind Artemi Panarin and the 42-year-old’s 1,258 votes. Even though his overtime tallies didn’t help him bring home any hardware, a few came in his first handful of games in the NHL to signal to Philly fans that a new high-end d-man had arrived.

Gostisbehere’s first taste of the NHL came during the 2014-15 season. Although he appeared in a pair of wins in late October, Gostisbehere had a shot on goal and was minus-1 in both of the games he took part in with 12:27 playing time in his first tilt and 12:40 in his second. These were the only two games he’d play until November of the following season, when he earned another call-up after veteran blue liner Mark Streit essentially broke his hog.

His first game of the 2015-16 campaign was on November 14, when the Flyers took on the Hurricanes in Carolina. With the visitors down 2-1 and only a little over three minutes left in the game, Gostisbehere received a pass from Brandon Manning and put The Classic Ghost Move on Chris Terry before he released a shot that redirected off Wayne Simmonds to tie the game. Gostisbehere’s first NHL point helped Philly earn a win, as Jakub Voracek potted the game-winner in overtime. Three days later, in a 3-2 shootout loss at home to the Los Angeles Kings, Gostisbehere recorded his first goal in the NHL with a blast from the point on the power play to open the scoring.

Philadelphia failed to score a goal in their next two games, an overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks and a 4-0 loss in Ottawa to the Senators on the 21st, but the squad snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hurricanes on the following Monday. After Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux put the Flyers up 2-0 late in the second period, Victor Rask and Brett Pesce leveled the score in the third period to force overtime. Just 24 seconds into the extra frame, and Rask in the sin bin for a holding the stick infraction, Gostisbehere teed off on a cross-ice feed from Giroux for the first overtime goal and first game-winning goal of his career.

Two days later, the Flyers traveled to New York to take on the Islanders and suffered a 3-1 defeat, but Gostisbehere had a slick backhanded assist on Giroux’s opening power-play tally. Since Thanksgiving came after the defeat to the Islanders, the Flyers returned to Philly to take part in their annual Black Friday game. This time around, the Orange and Black were hosting the Nashville Predators.

In their final season with Shea Weber on the roster, the Predators entered this game with a record of 12-6-3. They opened the scoring with a Mike Ribeiro pass from behind Michal Neuvirth’s net to Filip Forsberg in front for his third of the season to end a 17-game goal drought just 1:44 into the tilt. It wasn’t a one-goal game for long, as Michael Del Zotto ripped one past Pekka Rinne to tie the game just 2:16 after Forsberg’s marker. These were the only two goals of the game through the first two periods, as the Preds held the shot advantage through 40 minutes by a count of 22-20. An unlikely source gave the hosts a lead a little under five minutes into the third period, as Colin McDonald scored the first of his two goals as a Flyer to date in the second game of a five-game call-up by putting in a rebound caused by a shot from Evgeny Medvedev (2015-16, amirite?). This looked like the game-winner until the final minute, as Mike Fisher put in a rebound in front with Rinne pulled thanks to Nick Schultz laying down in the crease (again 2015-16, amirite?). Then, after the contest moved to overtime and Nashville was killing off a too many men on the ice bench minor, Gostisbehere slammed home another cross-ice feed from Giroux on the team’s sixth shot in the additional stanza.

It was Gostisbehere’s second overtime winner in three games, as he accrued three goals and two helpers in his first seven games of the 2015-16 season. Gostisbehere then helped the Flyers go 15-5-3 down the stretch to grab the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Although they lost in six games to the Washington Capitals in the opening round, Neuvirth provided one of the best goaltending performances in Flyers’ history and Gostisbehere had a goal and an assist during the series.

*Stats via Hockey Reference and NHL.com

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