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Return Flight: A late comeback leads to seventh straight win

There weren’t many positives from this season, but the 10 game win streak sure was.

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Throughout the season, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane whenever the Flyers open their season series against an opponent. We’ll be remembering a game, goal, or highlight Philly created while playing against that particular team. It won’t always be the most notable memory the Orange and Black have against that team, but it’ll be something that Flyers’ fans will want to remember.

The 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers season was one of frustration, and it all stemmed surprisingly enough from a 10 game winning streak. Heading into the 50th season of Flyers hockey, hopes were high as the team returned to the playoffs in the first year under Dave Hakstol. Prospects Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny had made the team out of camp, and Shayne Gostisbehere was looking to repeat a stellar rookie season.

Then the season happened. A slow start and questionable coaching decisions followed, but there was one aspect of this season that had fans in a frenzy. It started on November 27, with a 5-3 win vs. Calgary with none other than Anthony Stolarz in net. What happened next was something so unforeseen for a team that started the season 9-10-3, but possibly had Flyers fans the most excited they had been in quite some time.

They’d win the next five straight, bringing their total to six before a date with the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid. The year before, McDavid lost an edge going to the boards with Manning, careened into said boards, and broke his collarbone with Manning landing on top. Everyone and their mother knew that Manning had no intent to injure here, and it was just a freak play. For reference, here is said injury

So when the Flyers and Oilers met on December 8 for the first time since that game, some thought there would be bad blood in the air. While I think most shrugged it off at the time, what happened next was one of the strangest player rivalries in NHL history.

Leon Draisaitl would score first for the Oilers just four minutes into the game, but the second goal from McDavid started the craziness that was this game.

I remember watching this when it happened and being entirely confused what the hell McDavid’s issue was here. It was widely accepted that there was no intent to injure, and it was just a misfortunate thing to have happened. Well, the Flyers responded to the chirps, and they did so in grand style.

First the goal from Mark Streit, then Pierre-Edouard Bellemare gets his first of the season filling in for an injured Sean Couturier on the second line, and then Claude Giroux with a one-time bullet. Three goals in 72 seconds that captured the utter insanity this win streak had become. But, in typical Hakstol lead Flyers fashion, they wouldn’t be out of the woods yet.

Andrej Sekera scored a short-handed goal before the second period would end, tying the game for Edmonton. Then Benoit Pouliot and Oscar Klefbom scored less than two minutes apart to open the scoring in the third, giving the Oilers a 5-3 third period lead. This looked like it could be the end for the winning streak, but then the Flyers stormed back. Jakub Voracek would score to make it 5-4 with a power play goal just over a minute later, and Giroux tallied the equalizer with just under eight minutes to go.

Just two games prior in the fifth straight win over Nashville, Michael Raffl scored a late go-ahead goal with a spectacular power move goal. It was only fitting that the Austrian forward would go to the same move to put the Flyers up for good with this goal.

The Flyers would go on to win this game for their seventh straight, and end the streak at 10. What followed was a comedy of errors, with Michal Neuvirth being legitimately one of the worst goalies in the entire league, and Steve Mason being mediocre for most of the season. The goaltending wasn’t the only issue however, as the flaws in Hakstol’s system and personnel decisions began to creep up more and more. The favoritism towards the likes of Chris VandeVelde and Bellemare over younger players became more evident, along with the scratchings of Gostisbehere and Konecny.

They would miss the playoffs this season becoming the first team to miss the postseason after a 10 game win streak. They’d follow that up of course by making the playoffs the next season in which they lost 10 straight. We’ve been put through some rough shit over the past few years, guys and gals. This win streak is tainted by the failure the season ended up being, but looking back, they were some of the most fun I’ve had watching hockey. Oh, and the McDavid/Manning feud after the game was incredible.

Previous Return Flights

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