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Devils 3, Flyers 2: We can’t have nice things


NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, friends! We’re back for more weekend action and it’s the absolute worst forced rivalry nickname in front of us. That’s right, it’s the Battle of the Turnpike. Yikes.

The puck hasn’t even dropped yet and the broadcast team has just reminded us that the last time these two teams met was the game where the Flyers hit the post six times and somehow I had almost been able to erase this from my memory. And now it’s back again. Why have they done this to me. Why.

Anyway, there’s a new game happening and the Flyers are off to a bit of a rough start, as the Devils got right to work in the offensive zone creating chances while the Flyers just tried to get their bearings, setting up an initial onslaught of pressure.

But the Flyers were working to generate some pressure, getting the puck into the zone and OH MY GOD IVAN PROVOROV RANG ONE OFF THE POST. IT’S THE POST AGAIN. IT’S HAPPENING.

But the Flyers’ sloppiness wasn’t contained in their first few minutes, and the turnover issue kept them hemmed into their own end while the Devils got to the attack. They were caught scrambling, and couldn’t seem to get the puck cleared out of the zone. And then, this considered, it didn’t feel like much of a surprise when a pass from the point got through to Damon Severson at the goal line, who lasered his shot in on goal. And the Devils had the first lead of the game.

The Flyers took a bit of time to get settled after that, but when they were able to do so, they got themselves into the offensive zone and got themselves another good chance and—NO THIS ONE’S GONE OFF THE POST TOO. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

It’s more bad news coming, too, as the other side of the TV timeout saw Jake Voracek take a hooking penalty and send the Devils to the power play. The Flyers’ penalty kill came up big for them, fortunately, keeping the Devils from getting well set up and generating too much, holding them to just one shot from the point on the whole of the attempt.

But we wouldn’t have to wait too long to see if they could replicate those results, as after a few more minutes of 5-on-5 time that didn’t see a whole lot happening, Robert Hagg was whistled for tripping and off to the penalty kill they went. It wasn’t as clean of an effort ad the first, as the Flyers failed to keep the puck as well cleared out of the zone, and the Devils were able to get a cycle going. The Flyers got some help from the Devils whiffing on their would-be shots, but they were still able to keep things tied up well enough to kill the penalty.

AFTER ONE: Devils 1, Flyers 0

If we were hoping that the Flyers would come out for the second period and just absolutely take over, well, we’d be out of luck. Right off the opening draw, the Devils took control of momentum and got off a couple of chances in the opening minute. They would get a chance to put up a couple more, as Travis Sanheim took a hooking penalty and gave the Devils another chance on the power play.

It started off well enough for them, as Radko Gudas blocked a shot, collected the puck, and started off on a shorthanded rush, where we got the puck to Scott Laughton who had open net to work with, if his shot hadn’t sailed wide of the net. The Devils got the puck back and got ready to buckle down in the offensive zone and generate some pressure, but Nico Hischier took a hooking penalty and ended their time on the man advantage.

The Flyers’ power play, well, do we really even have to give you a breakdown of it? We can tell you they had an abbreviated power play and you know what this means—they got a couple of looks but couldn’t close on anything. And then that was the end of things.

But, oh wait, it got worse. With a turnover by Sanheim, Hischier, fresh out of the box, was off to the races and was able to beat Carter Hart five hole. And it was a two-goal game.

The Flyers came back with some push, though, and it got them a couple of nice chances from Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek, and, ultimately, helped them draw another penalty and another chance on the power play.

This one, much like their first attempt, didn’t yield anything in terms of points on the board, but they looked even more dangerous on this second go.

And, oh, there’s some weirdness happening. We’re back from commercial and there have been penalties handed out during the break from some sort of gathering that we missed. So it’s 4-on-4 for two minutes and, well, not too much is different here. The Devils are holding momentum and the Flyers are struggling to handle the puck. So it goes.

But, oh, oh something else is happening! It’s James van Riemsdyk on the rush and the Devils’ lead’s been cut to one! Wow!

And they’re not done! Scott Gordon seems to be liking what he’s seeing from van Riemsdyk, enough to get him back out on the next shift for yet another great chance. They couldn’t put it away, but the Flyers were buzzing for the first time in a bit, there.

They couldn’t close out the period with that push, as Lindblom was called for tripping and they would have to spend the last just under a minute and a half on the penalty kill. They were able to do so without much incident, and we hit the first intermission with a one goal game.

AFTER TWO: Devils 2, Flyers 1

We’ve got some good news, folks! The Flyers were able to kill off the last bit of that Lindblom penalty to start the period! It was only a little bit, but they did it!

We’ve also got some bad news. Failing to convert on their power play, the Devils got right back into the offensive zone and kept pressure up on the Flyers. They had the puck bouncing around in the crease and Hart just lost sight of it. Miles wood, of course, didn’t, and he was right there with a bunch of open space to work with, and just chipped it in. Two goal lead restored.

But, as has been the case through much of the afternoon, the Flyers managed some push back in the subsequent shifts, and again it was Lindblom and Voracek with the chances, chipping away in front of the net, but the puck ended up underneath Mackenzie Blackwood, and this drew a whistle.

The Flyers kept with this and looked to get something more going at 5-on-5, but they would have to wait a bit longer to do that, as Michael Raffl’s clearing attempt went over the glass and the Devils got themselves another power play.

The short rundown: the Flyers killed the penalty. You’ve heard about four others so far. Nothing ground breaking about this one.

The Flyers did get their next good chance after that kill, as they had an extended shift in the offensive zone which also saw first one Devil and then later two Devils without their sticks, but because they were out there for so long everybody was gassed and they couldn’t seem to do anything on that one.

They followed this up with another shift in the offensive zone that saw another great chance with the Flyers scrambling for the puck in the crease, and then ended with a whistle and a gathering in front. Ultimately, van Riemsdyk and Mirco Mueller went off and we had a bit more 4-on-4.

Not too much came out of that, and we were starting to wonder when the Flyers would really come out with that push to try and close the gap. The answer to this, it would turn out, would be with three minutes left in the game, when the Flyers were awarded another power play, and Scott Gordon opted to pull Hart for a 6-on-4. And, and, and, there wasn’t really anything there. It was a bit of cycling, a few pucks on net, but either Blackwood had them beat of they didn’t have anyone in the right position in front of the net

And with the last minute of play, the Flyers kept at it on the 6-on-5, but in the end couldn’t get anything going. A few clears by New Jersey and that’s all she wro—wait. It was what looked like one last clear but Voracek collected it and got it over to Couturier who found a seam up with middle and just ripped one in on goal. And the Flyers had gotten themselves back within one with *counts fingers* two seconds left in the game. So close. So. Close.

FINAL: Devils 3, Flyers 2