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Return Flight: A Texas-sized shootout for the first win of the season

The 2014-15 Flyers weren’t very good, but this win easily counts as one of the better moments.

Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

At the start of the 2014-15 Flyers season, many were skeptical if the team from the previous year that needed a late season surge to make the playoffs, would continue their success. Well, those questions were answered fairly quickly as the team struggled out of the gate and never really found their footing. It was no surprise, with a defense consisting of Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz, Luke Schenn, and ... ah you get the point by now; their defense sucked, OK?

That of course was compounded by the fact Kimmo Timonen would not play a game for the team this season as he dealt with blood clots in his leg. The warrior Timonen would eventually be dealt to Chicago where he played a few playoff games, and got to finally hoist the Stanley Cup. Coburn would be traded midseason as well which resulted in the team getting Radko Gudas. This was the first year of Ron Hextall as General Manager of the team, and he was making it very clear the goal was to get younger. He wound up forgetting that apparently as he let Dave Hakstol bench all the rookies in the coming years, but ... we’re getting off topic.

The 2014-15 Flyers started the season on a four-game losing streak, though two of those losses came in overtime. Next came a match with the Dallas Stars who were coming in 2-1-1. Trevor Daley would pot the game’s first goal on a power play tally, but less than two minutes later, Sean Couturier found the rebound off the Andrew MacDonald shot and buried it for his first of the year to tie the game. Less than two minutes later the Flyers were at it again, this time with the Schenn brothers combining for a goal to make it 2-1 heading into the second period.

Dallas would respond in the second period, with three goals from Erik Cole, Daley for the second time, and captain Jamie Benn. Down 4-2 heading into the third, it looked like a fifth straight loss was on the horizon for the Flyers. Then in the unlikeliest of fashions, Andrew MacDonald of all people scored on the power play to make it a one-goal game.

(Sidebar: if Andrew MacDonald is on your team’s power play at any point, you know your defense is some hot garbage. No offense to A-Mac as realistically your other options include Nick Schultz, but my god, that is the definition of less than ideal.)

With just under six minutes to go, the Flyers pounced on yet another rebound and tied the game. Schultz fired away from the point and Jakub Voracek followed up to net the goal. Voracek would go on to score a career high 81 points this season, and his hot start was a big reason for it. While the team was floundering in the month of October, Voracek had 15 points in 10 games.

In typical Flyers fashion however, less than a minute later Jason Spezza put Dallas ahead yet again with his first goal of the season. But, as was the theme with this game, the Flyers would miraculously respond yet again less than two minutes after as Michael Raffl sent a puck toward the net that deflected off of Daley to tie the game yet again, and force overtime.

To put the icing on the cake, Trevor Daley, the one who scored two goals in this game and then had the final game-tying goal for the Flyers go off his skate, took a penalty in overtime. The 2014-15 Flyers may not have been a good team, but their power play was by far the best aspect of this team. They ended up third in the league in power play percentage only behind the Detroit Red Wings, and Washington Capitals. So what better way to win your first game of the season on a power play goal in overtime?

The captain Claude Giroux buried it for his second goal of the season, and the Flyers first win. This team would go on of course to miss the postseason despite the best efforts of Giroux, Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and Steve Mason who miraculously posted a .928 save percentage. That offseason, the Flyers did draft Ivan Provorov who has turned into the team’s number one defenseman since he arrived in 2016-17. Although there weren’t too many positive moments from this season, this first win was definitely one of them.