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Flyers 4, Hurricanes 3: The one where we all became Boston sports fans

The Flyers won this, despite their best efforts not to.

The ‘yoffs. They are looming.

Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers took two points away from an extremely important game on their hunt for a playoff spot. They could clinch as early as tonight, as this recap is going up before the end of the Florida Panthers game that could decide their fate. Fingers crossed, etc.

Strong offensive play overcame some questionable goaltending from a rusty Brian Elliott, leading the Flyers to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. It wasn’t always pretty, but they got the job done, which is all we can ask from them at this point. They kept the shots overwhelmingly in their favor (34-22) and had a few highlight-reel worthy looks. All in all, they did the thing. The sports thing. The ‘yoffs thing.

This period started out fairly promising, with the Flyers having multiple scoring opportunities right from the start. For the first eight minutes or so, the Flyers played well, bringing the play right to the Carolina zone. It looked like everyone was getting in on the action, peppering Scott Darling with shots and looking like the obvious dominating team they should be against Carolina.

Yet, of course, because this is the 2017-18 Flyers, this exciting potential and good fortune would not last long. Beginning with a tripping penalty on Travis Konecny at 11:53 (that was soon evened out into 4-on-4 hockey with an embellishment call on Jamie McGinn), the Flyers started to slowly show signs of mediocrity accompanied by bad puck luck.

Just before returning to even strength, Klas Dahlbeck would score his first of the year off a defensive turnover at 13:45. The game that had been mostly dominated and controlled by the Flyers through the first half of the period quickly began to look the opposite direction. Another turnover, this time by Konecny, resulted in a breakaway chance by McGinn. In related news, I cannot wait to see Dave Hakstol throw Konecny on the fourth line for the rest of the season.

The first Flyers goal of the game would come not too long after. Michael Raffl, enjoying his fancy new spot on the first line, scored a hockey goal! He must have read some of the not-so-kind tweets some of y’all were making about him. (Not me, however. I have never said anything disparaging about Raffl. Just to keep you all aware. The next paragraph notwithstanding.)

It seemed like a nice opportunity for the Flyers to prove that they could continue their strong play from earlier in the period, but like most opportunities, they squandered this one. A disastrous breakdown in the defensive zone (that may or may not have involved Raffl) led to Sebastian Aho scoring for the Hurricanes. 2-1 Canes. I really do struggle to love this team sometimes.

AFTER ONE: 2-1 Hurricanes, shots 15-7 Flyers

The best word for the Flyers to start the second was “clunky.” Carolina came up with scoring chances almost immediately, looking strong from the start and giving the Flyers some trouble in all zones. When the Flyers did have the puck, they didn’t have much of the luck to go with it. A rebound off Darling came close to being Jori Lehtera’s fourth goal of the year, but God had other plans. The puck bounced off the post, skimmed the line, and came right out. Of course.

An interference call on Jeff Skinner and an accompanying slashing call on Brandon Manning at 9:57 gave us our second 4-on-4 situation of the game. Carolina took control for a long stretch here, looking truly dangerous in the Flyers zone and forcing Brian Elliott to make some saves up close. This stretch of play would lead to the first power play of the game, as Jake Voracek would get called for high-sticking at 11:48.

It’s time for a penalty kill! How exciting and not nerve-wracking in the least.

To their credit, the Flyers did not give up a goal here, even if it wasn’t the prettiest effort of the season. The successful penalty kill would soon be followed by the game-tying goal, which was a strong effort by Sean Couturier to get the puck to Ivan Provorov parked up front. Provorov scored his 16th of the season, and things felt good again.

The Flyers managed to put together some heavy offensive energy to close out the period. A stretch pass to Travis Konecny turned into a neat scoring chance, followed soon after by a shot up close by Wayne Simmonds. They looked close to the go-ahead goal several times as the clock wound down, a promising finish to a mostly-unlucky period.

AFTER TWO: 2-2, shots 28-13 Flyers

The third period began fairly uneventfully. The Flyers continued to push offensively, but failed to have a whole lot of luck in their favor. It took the Hurricanes seven minutes to record their first shot of the period; the Flyers looked to have solved some of their issues from the second, getting pucks to the net and looking like a more coherent team.

It would all pay off when Claude Giroux (our perfect, great, gorgeous, radiant, lovely captain) scored to make it 3-2 off a stellar Couturier pass. It’s an excellent shot, but the effort from Couturier to keep possession of the puck and get it to Giroux is what stood out on that goal. May have peed my pants slightly.

The afterglow from this goal would not last very long, as the Flyers would disappoint me, their biggest fan, at 13:41 by allowing a goal by Jordan Staal. Brian Elliott could not handle that. I don’t know why. At this point, I dissolved into muttering curses and mumbling, “Why, why, why, why,” over and over.

This also did not last very long, because this team is anything but boring. Voracek’s shot off of Noah Hanifin’s stick surprised Darling, who clearly was not expecting it, and it’s 4-3 Flyers. Two goals on two shots. God has not yet abandoned us. What’s the score on that Boston-Florida game again?

As an aside: what a game for Brian Elliott. By that I mean, what a bad one. Yikes. He needs to shake off this rust before ‘yoffs (knock on wood).

The Flyers held on, with the most amount of drama possible. Looking at you, Boston.

AFTER THREE: 4-3 Flyers, shots 34-22 Flyers

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