Look at that, pals! It’s officially the weekend! The Flyers played a hockey game in Columbus! Do you want to relive it? Do you want to live it for the first time, because you were out doing other Friday night things, instead of watching the game? I definitely wouldn’t blame you if it was that last thing. But, either way, we’ve got some words for you about the game. Let’s get into it.
The Flyers’ top line got to work right off the opening faceoff with a rush into the offensive zone and a shot put on net, but Giroux’s shot was stopped, and their play broken up. Their initial pressure then went the other way, as the Blue Jackets took the puck into the Flyers’ zone and got well set up, keeping the puck moving and out of the Flyers’ reach.
And a great chance for the Flyers! As the Blue Jackets collected the puck in their own zone and got ready to make their push out, Jordan Weal forced a turnover and carried the puck in with speed into Bobrovsky, but couldn’t seem to get it elevated enough to get it past him. But it sparked the Flyers for the next shift, where the top line brought another similar chance (to the same result). And they were humming.
And we’ve got more speed! It was a near-breakaway for Raffl, then the Honey Bees zipping the puck around the zone! Then Panarin had a breakaway of his own, blocked by Neuvirth! Then not too long after Simmonds very nearly had a chance on the rush! And now it’s a three on two with the top line, and Couturier’s shot is blocked, and Giroux is robbed with the shot on the rebound from the angle! We are moving so fast and I can only type so fast someone please help me.
But, oh, oh dear, a Flyers turnover led to another chance for the Blue Jackets. They chipped away in front of Neuvirth and he was down on the ice. MacDonald nearly fell down on top of him. It took Patrick sweeping in and pushing the puck out of the crease to break up the play. Whew.
[The Blue Jackets are playing “Don’t Take The Money” by Bleachers very loudly in their arena and I took a dance pause on my couch. The cat sitting next to me is not pleased. But back to the game…]
The Columbus pressure was not confined to the time before the dance break, unfortunately. The Flyers’ top line again brought a chance off the rush, but the puck was collected by the Jackets and sent moving in the opposite direction. From there, they got to work shuffling the puck around and peppering Neuvirth with shots before he would finally smother it, just outside the net. And a stoppage of play.
The tone shifted for the final four minutes or so of the period, when we saw things shift away from the hyperdrive run and gun in favor of both teams working to get pressure established and sustained after those initial rushes. The top line and the Bees led the Flyers’ efforts, but couldn’t seem to get anything past Bobrovsky. *heavy sigh*
AFTER ONE: Blue Jackets 0, Flyers 0. Shots: Blue Jackets 11, Flyers 9
Aaaaand we’re back! And the Flyers are doing the thing, peppering Bobrovsky with shots right out of the gate. Who else should it be but the Couturier line. Their first chances came as they sustained some pressure in the zone, and then the next when Konecny forced a turnover along the boards in the neutral zone, getting the puck to Giroux who sprung Couturier for a breakaway. He got off a nice enough initial shot, but found it blocked, and then he just couldn’t quite control the rebound. So it goes.
From here we moved back into early first period form, with our faster run and gun, a handful of shots for each side, and even more broken up plays and suppressed shots. Still no goals. Still no penalties. Imagine that.
[Broadcaster nod to Hits Leader Robert Hagg: DRINK]
After the Flyers looked to be pulling momentum into their favor, the Blue Jackets took it back, hemming the Flyers into their own zone and working to generate plays from below the red line. It took a Neuvirth robbery to break up this pressure. And the Flyers were saved again.
[Sidebar: Guys. I think we might have crossed over into the twilight zone. This second period has seen both Lehtera and now Filppula controlling entries into the zone with some not unremarkable speed. What is happening?]
But, Twilight Zone or not, the Flyers did a good thing! With the second line out for an offensive zone draw, Patrick won it and was able to muscle a bit of extra time with the puck, before passing it off the Gostisbehere at the point, who blasted it in on goal, where Simmonds collected the tip-in (in true Simmonds form). And the Flyers picked up the first goal of the game.
It’s now more than halfway through regulation and we’ve finally got a penalty, Two penalties, rather! Sedlack and Weise were tied up along the boards and both were sent off to the box for boarding and roughing, respectively. So finally some penalties, but still no man advantage for anybody. Fine.
At four-on-four, the Jackets took control of the puck and got set up in the Flyers’ zone, but the Flyers’ defenses kept them from getting a clean play set up and a quality shot off. Giving the Flyers a chance of their own was Giroux, on the breakaway. His shot was stopped and he himself was dumped and found himself at the back of the net, but no call was made. Columbus got a bit more time in the Flyers’ zone before we went back to five-on-five.
The last minute of the period saw the Flyers’ top line controlling in the zone, but they were defended tightly. They were able to get just one more shot off before time expired. Oh well.
AFTER TWO: Flyers 1, Blue Jackets 0
The third period has commenced and we are certainly not wanting for movement. The Flyers worked to generate some kind of rush into and subsequent pressure in the zone, but first few minutes were all Blue Jackets. They kicked things brought the puck into the zone and almost tied things up, as a shot from Panarin trickled through Neuvirth’s legs, but was somehow and inadvertently pushed away by his skate, and the Flyers held the lead.
And then a bit more activity, but at the opposite end of the ice. The fourth line had the Blue Jackets hemmed into their own zone and were able to generate a few chances in front of the net, but couldn’t seem to beat Bobrovsky.
But the Flyers had an opportunity to potentially get that chance back, as right after breaking up that play, the Blue Jackets were called for Too Much Man, sending the Flyers to the power play.
The first unit, after responding to an initial clear, brought a solid bit of pressure, complete with a Voracek shot that just would not go. The second unit was brought out with under a minute and got some movement going, but weren’t able to bring that same level of pressure. No power play goal to be had bere. Penalty killed.
Bringing even more pressure, back at even strength was the fourth line, again, with Provorov starting the play behind the net and the forwards chipping away of the puck in front of the net. But you’ve read this far, you know what happened: Bobrovsky made the save and got Columbus moving the puck into the Flyers’ zone for another quality chance that Neuvirth was somehow miraculously able to save. There you have it.
With seven minutes left in the period, the Flyers found themselves hemmed into their own zone, tired, and fighting off an absolute onslaught of shots from the Blue Jackets. Some masterful work by Neuvirth and the Flyers’ defense, and ultimately a clear by Filppula saved them from giving up a goal, but the chances were there for the taking, and things got very scary for us for a moment, there.
Were we worried that the Blue Jackets were spending too much time in the offensive zone, and exploiting the Flyers’ fatigue and give-ups? Well, rightfully so. With three and a half minutes to go, a breakdown by the tired fourth line got the puck to Atkinson’s stick, and then in past Neuvirth. Tie game, folks. Sigh.
But the Flyers responded well to this goal. The Patrick line was able to carry the puck into the zone and were able to—as it’s been done—get a nice enough look, but couldn’t close on it. But their energy remained up.
And another chance! Giroux intercepted the puck from Werenski and sent it off to Konecny who got off the quick shot, but, of course, had it stopped by Bobrovsky. Still tied.
[Sidebar: remember when Werenski broke his face in the playoffs last year? That was so gnarly.]
But anyway, with the final minute of regulation ticking away, the Flyers saw a bit of movement and a chance for Lehtera, but still nothing that would go for them.
And now: 2.2 seconds left in regulation, and the Flyers had an offensive zone draw. They had one more chance… and the Du Bois won the draw. Let’s get to overtime.
AFTER THREE: Blue Jackets 1, Flyers 1
Something new: The Flyers started the trio of Giroux, Voracek, and Gostisbehere for the period of bonus hockey. They controlled off the opening faceoff, and were able to get the puck to Voracek for a shot, but Bobrovsky stopped it and got the puck for his own side.
With the Flyers tired on the ice, Columbus controlled and got a shot on goal that rang off the crossbar. The Flyers were able to get the puck back and get the change, getting Couturier, Konecny, and Provorov out on the ice. And then? Magic.
After a turnover, Konecny got the puck back and sprung Couturier and Provorov on the odd-man rush. And with Bobrovsky crept way out of his net, Couturier lasered the puck past his blocker side for the goal. And the Flyers finally picked up a win in Columbus.
FINAL: Flyers 2, Blue Jackets 1