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Stars 3, Flyers 2: We knew this would happen ...

Endless deja vu over here.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another game against a Central division team, and the Flyers, having been sort of meh recently, are looking to pick up some much needed points against a team that is pretty clearly imploding. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The Flyers met the Stars who, before tonight, were sitting on an eight game losing streak. We knew this was bound to happen. These results were inevitable.

If you needed any convincing that the late start games will always find a way to get weird, it’s 8:32, I’m writing my intro before puck drop, and the commentators have already referred to Dallas as “Big D” twice already. This is prime #FlyersAfterDark content, if you ask me. But on to the action.

The Flyers won the opening faceoff and did not ice the puck immediately--as they always seem to do when I’m doing these recaps--but they did dump it into the zone and promptly had it collected behind the net by the Stars, who got themselves rolling.

At the other end of the ice, the Stars were bringing chances on chances on chances, and Mrazek was left to make a few nifty saves to keep them off the board. It was a period of high activity, finally stopped by a whistle.

And, oh, it’s under a minute and a half into the period and we’ve already got a penalty. Provorov’s going off for a hook, and we get to look at the penalty kill again. Hooray…

The first minute of said penalty kill saw the Flyers dominating, carrying the puck into the neutral zone and eating up time, keeping it cleared. After this, the Stars had their chance in the zone, got the puck moving a bit, but only got one shot off, which Mrazek somehow stopped around Benn’s screen, and drew another whistle. And then, with one more Flyers clear, the penalty was killed.

The Flyers took this as an opportunity to finally generate a bit of sustained offense, and were able to get moving into the offensive zone, but couldn’t seem to get much of anything going. But a Lehtonen trip on Konecny bought them a power play.

An initial shot by Gostisbehere from the point gave Simmonds a quality chance in front, but it just wouldn’t go, and they had to recollect the puck for their next push, which saw a shot from Giroux go wide of the net and then be cleared out of the zone. The Flyers got their chance to change and get the second unit out, and it was, well, more or less what we’ve come to expect from the second unit. They made a couple of nice passes but couldn’t find the shooting lanes, and ultimately found the puck cleared, and their chance expired.

And, as this game is nothing if not symmetrical, as the penalty expired, the Stars took their chance to make a counter-push, and work to generate some offense of their own.

Dallas kept up their momentum after the TV timeout, as they got back to work in the offensive zone and did exactly what they needed to do—get in front of the net and wait for Mrazek to overplay the initial shot and leave Faksa open to collect the rebound, capitalizing on the open space left. And now we are well past the halfway point in the period, and the Stars have the same number goals as the Flyers have shots. Cool.

But they’re looking to change that. After the next TV timeout, the Flyers were finally able to generate a handful of chances in the zone, for the first time all evening looking like they were getting settled. The high point was Konecny putting a huge hit on Hamhuis, then collecting the puck for a chance in close, but, you guessed it, it still wouldn’t go. But they were finally able to Do Something. Which was a step in the right direction.

And oh! Would you look at that! It’s like instant (not quite) redemption! The Flyers got back to the zone and got the top line set up for a very long shift of chipping and shuffling and near chances, that looked like it wouldn’t see any results, until a nearly-out-of-gas Konecny was allowed to go for a bit of a skate, and then got the shot off that would just sail right on past Lehtonen. And we had a tie game.

The final two minutes of play saw another point-blank chance for Simmonds that again just wouldn’t go. Weal had a chance at the rebound, but this was also stopped. The energy was kicked up, but we only had a few seconds left, and with one more chance for the Flyers, time expired, and we went off to intermission.

AFTER ONE: Flyers 1, Stars 1

And we’re back! And nothing’s really happening! It’s turnover city over here, with both sides struggling to do much of anything. So that’s fun.

But wait! You wanted more fun? The Flyers are listening! After having a rush by the Patrick line broken up, the Filppula line picked up right where they left off. With Provorov getting the puck to Simmonds right along the blue line, and Simmonds getting it right back to him, Provorov continued the rush and lasered the puck over Lehtonen’s shoulder and in.

We’ve dipped back into that back and forth, breaking up plays, doing things quietly thing, and they just showed a stat on hits so far on the screen, and I’m thinking that I’m starting to miss our “take a drink every time the commentators mention Robert Hagg leading the league in hits” game. With no clue on when we’ll be seeing him again, I guess we’ll have to pick another threshold. I’ll be taking suggestions on the comments section.

In that musing, we went through more of that back and forth. The quick hits: blocking shots. Flyers allow a four-on-two but chase the Stars past the net, not letting them even get the shot off. Another chance for the Lindblom and the Patrick line. And Andrew MacDonald’s taken a delay of game penalty as the Flyers are trying to hold onto their lead.

That good work that they did on their first kill was nowhere to be found, here. They couldn’t get an initial clear and instead let the Stars get right set up in the zone. And then, well, you know the rest. Gudas let Ritchie get the inside on him, left uncovered in front of the net (sound familiar?), and he collected the rebound from the point shot. Tie game again.

But the Flyers responded well, as the Fippula line carried the puck into the zone for a few chances of their own. It saw them defended tightly but still able to execute their passes, and was punctuated by a pass by Filppula from along the boards to Simmonds in front of the net who again was robbed. Man oh man, he just cannot buy a goal tonight, huh?

And the Flyers weren’t without their chances allowed, either. After a turnover by Laughton at the blue line gave Seguin a chance on an odd-man rush, and MacDonald left to break it up. He did, and it was fine, but it looked like a scary sequence for a minute there.

From here we got another chance for the top line right in the crease, with Konecny and Couturier chipping away, but Lehtonen made the save. And the Stars got moving in the other direction and took advantage of the Flyers’ turnovers. Mrazek had to make another save on Seguin to start, and then a handful more on basically every other Star ever as the Flyers just could not get out of the zone. For pete’s sake.

And we have a scrum! Simmonds and Janmark are going at it and now everybody’s involved. Why not. It looks like the period’s over now. Let’s all take a snack break.

AFTER TWO: Flyers 2, Stars 2

It’s the third period and it’s four-on-four and it’s veritable onslaught by the Flyers, as both the first and second units got to work for the first minute or so, holding onto the puck in the zone despite pressure, and both finding themselves robbed in front of the net, putting up four shots in total.

The Stars got a chance of their own on the other side of the ice which Mrazek handled as the four-on-four concluded, and kept up their pressure as we returned to fives. Mrazek had to fend off a flurry of chances for the Stars as the Flyers struggled to get the clear.

And a chance for the Flyers! And they’re robbed again! But they drew a slashing penalty! And they’re playing the X-Files theme song in the arena? Not so bad.

Should we even talk about the power play? It wasn’t great. Outside of a centering pass that could have been a chance, and a nice shot by Lindblom, it was a pretty quiet affair, offensively. They gave up a rush for Benn and Seguin, but they couldn’t do anything with it. Neither could the Flyers do anything with the rest of their chance. So the game remained tied. Sigh again. Are we all sleepy yet?

We hit a bit more run and gun which made things feel like they were moving quickly enough, which was good, because I am now assuming that we are all sleepy, but we’re condemned to live with this game forever, it seems. No scoring kept it tied, and we had a long stoppage while Lehtonen had some work done on his mask.

And this seems as good a time as any to mention we’re now up to three “Big D” references. Because they cannot be stopped. #FlyersAfterDark cannot be stopped.

Inside the last five minutes, the Flyers were looking like they were starting to get back on track. Back to back shifts from the Patrick and Laughton lines saw the Flyers back to being set up in the offensive zone and creating chances. And after getting caught in their own zone, the Giroux line responded with a chance of their own, off the stick of Giroux on a rush and from the angle, but still the Flyers couldn’t get the bounce they needed, and Lehtonen kept making stops.

Sidebar: it looks like Filppula’s gone off to the locker room and Lehtera’s taken over centering the third line.

We’ve ticked down to a minute left to go with both sides left scrambling, trying to get set. The Patrick line was able to generate one last chance, but time ran out.

AFTER THREE: Flyers 2, Stars 2

You know, I apologized in our BSH slack chat before the game for this one inevitably going to overtime. Because it always seems to when I’m recapping. And I will apologize to you, too.

Giroux, Voracek, and Gostisbehere got the start, winning the opening faceoff and getting a chance for Voracek on the wraparound that was saved, and sent the other way. Mrazek made the stop, and the Flyers got another chance, had it stopped, and then the Stars claimed possession again, springing Radulov and Seguin on a 2 on 0, and Seguin notched the overtime winner. And we return to Bummer City.

FINAL: Stars 3, Flyers 2