And we’re off! It’s New Year’s Eve and the Flyers are hanging out in Raleigh and we’re hanging out with them! Well, we at BSH are. Maybe you aren’t. Maybe you’re out having more fun and reading this later. If that’s the case... honestly we don’t blame you.
But anyway, like we said, we’re off! We kicked things off with a good bit of pace, doing some back and forth. We had chances for Jake Voracek! We had a chance for Sebastian Aho! We had a chance for Robert Hagg! Chances for everyone! Lots of effort going on but not a whole lot of consequence.
Did we ask for too much, then, wanting a bit more consequence? Because the Canes took some of that momentum and capitalized, off a rush into the offensive zone it was Lucas Wallmark who took the shot from between the circles that beat Carter Hart clean. And the Flyers fell to an early deficit yet again.
The Flyers had a bit of trouble getting settled after that one, but started to build some momentum just after the 13 minute mark with just a bit of sustained zone time, but again they couldn’t do anything with it, and again the Hurricanes took the puck and started off the other way again. For a chance that didn’t turn into anything. Are we picking up on a trend here? Just spitballing.
Perhaps the Flyers’ best chance came inside the final four minutes of the period, which saw the Couturier line again getting set up in the zone and working to get a cycle going. We had chances for Gudas and Couturier as they worked to collapse in on the net and create something more dangerous, but McElhinney had them beat. But, hey, something was finally starting to build for them.
And they had a chance to keep building on that! After a bit more zone time, they drew a hooking penalty and got their first power play of the night. They got to work right away, getting the puck in deep and chipping away at it in the crease, but a whistle stopped their effort. And that would be just about as good as it got for them. The rest of the chance saw a struggle to get set and a shorthanded chance before the buzzer sounded. Alas.
AFTER ONE: Hurricanes 1, Flyers 0
It was more drama right from the get go in the second period. The Flyers had four seconds of power play time left, which expired just after the Hurricanes won the opening faceoff. And then it was the Canes on the rush into the offensive zone that Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim couldn’t break up at the blue line, so it was Jordan Martinook in on goal, to give the Canes the two goal lead just six seconds into the period.
But the Flyers responded well with an odd-man rush of their own, with Jordan Weal feeding Scott Laughton for a chance, but McElhinney stopped him. And then, because we can evidently know nothing but sadness, the Hurricanes were all over the rebound and zipping the other way with it. Do we have a feeling where this is going? Andrei Svechnikov. Canes up by three. Carter Hart’s coming out. And it’s Michal Neuvirth time.
He was tested just about from the get go, as the Flyers struggled to gather any momentum and get themselves out of their own end. But perhaps they would have a chance to turn the tides? Phil Varone made a great defensive play to prevent a goal, and then Janne Kuokkanen was called for hooking and the Flyers got another chance on the power play.
It took them a bit to get going but they were eventually able to get settled and generate some chances for themselves, for both units. They were knocking on the door, but again they just couldn’t seem to close on anything. If we were feeling optimistic, we might say that at least it felt like them getting back to a sense of urgency, something they’d been lacking for much of the period. We might say that? Maybe.
It got them a bit more extended zone time, and another chance for Oskar Lindblom, but, you know the drill, they couldn’t find a way to solve McElhinney. So a bit more pressure but no finish. Whomp whomp.
The back end of the period saw more of that back and forth without a ton of tangible pressure, as the Flyers and Hurricanes tracked the length of the ice a bunch of times but held at 16 and 18 shots, respectively, through a couple of minutes. The Hurricanes were able to add a couple more to their shot total with a flurry inside the last minute of the period, but couldn’t get one past Neuvirth. Mercifully.
AFTER TWO: Hurricanes 3, Flyers 0
We still have a period of hockey left, are we having fun yet? Have we dipped into the bevs yet? Gotten some snacks?
The Flyers are doing some good things, and tangible good things, at that. They started things off with a bit of pressure, crashing the net for a scoring chance, and looking sharper. The Canes broke up that chance but the Flyers came right back with another. It was Scott Laughton outmuscling his man and centering the puck to Wayne Simmonds, who got it over to Voracek, who beat McElhinney from the angle. And the Flyers were on the board!
They took over momentum from there and really looked like they were starting to rally, but their momentum was broken up when Simmonds was called for hooking and the Canes were sent to the power play. The Flyers were able to kill the penalty, but it got a little ugly. The Flyers’ tired penalty killers were stuck on the ice and fell back into trying to block lanes while standing still, getting collapsed as the Canes pressured, and Neuvirth had an onslaught of shots to fend off. He did it, and the Flyers ultimately settled things down and kept the Hurricanes from converting. And we all got to exhale.
The Flyers then turned that into a bit of momentum as it looked like they might be taking things over. They had some jump, they were working to crash the net, but still the Canes’ defense was coming up big for them. It feels like we’re just repeating this over and over across this recap, but really what else is there to say? Not too much is happening here, friends. We’re all doing our best.
Time ticks below three and a half minutes to go and we’re starting to wonder when Scott Gordon’s going to pull Neuvirth. The Flyers would have to control the puck in the offensive zone long enough for him to get off the ice for that to happen, and that seems a happening tough to come to, as the Hurricanes sustained a bit of time in the Flyers’ end.
And it’s happening! With two and a half minutes to go he’s off! They’re scrambling around a little bit, trying to get the right players out on the ice so, uh, things are going well. The Flyers got a chance with the goalie pulled but the Canes pressured them well and kept them pushed well out of the zone. And then Giroux took an interference penalty with just over 30 seconds to go and the Canes closed things out on the power play. The didn’t score any more. And then that’s the end. Happy New Year, fam.
FINAL: Hurricanes 3, Flyers 1