Well, we made it. Considering the fact that this was the second half of a back-to-back and the Flyers had both Tyler Pitlick and Scott Laughton going down with injury in Minnesota and then having to ship Nic Aube-Kubel and Carsen Twarynski in from Lehigh Valley for this game, this one was just about doomed from the start to be a weird one.
And weird, in this case, turned out to be something of an understatement. The Flyers didn’t have a terrible start and did get themselves a handful of good chances, but they also gave up back to back goals for Nikolaj Ehlers and Luca Sbisa, and they hit the first intermission down two.
The second period saw them come out with a bit more jump, and they were pretty promptly rewarded with a power play goal for Matt Niskanen, and just like that it was a one-goal game again.
The Flyers have scored a power play goal!— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 15, 2019
It looked like the Flyers were starting to pick up steam, but then it all just sort of came crashing down on them. Here’s the breakdown:
9:03- Joel Farabee takes a five minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
10:34- Blake Wheeler scores. 3-1 Winnipeg.
13:15- Mark Sheifele scores. 4-1 Winnipeg.
14:35- Logan Shaw scores. 5-1 Winnipeg.
14:51- Patrik Laine scores. 6-1 Winnipeg.
James van Riemsdyk picked up a goal just before the second period ended, but the game was over by then. Carter Hart came in in relief for the third and played just fine. Winnipeg had another power play goal in them in the third period to extend their lead, but the Flyers got one back at just about the midway point, with Shayne Gostisbehere taking a nice shot from the right circle on a feed from Nic Aube-Kubel (his first NHL point!), but, yeah. Given its timing in the blowout, it was hard to feel very amped about it. On to the next one.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com
1. Kevin Hayes
Particularly early on in this one, the Flyers’ offensive game seemed to be threatening, and Hayes really seemed to be right in the thick of many of those chances created. He led the team in individual shot attempts (with nine) and high danger chances for (with four) across all situations, and just really seemed to be flying out there. He lost a bit of steam, it seemed, as the team as a whole looked to deflate a bit, but he was definitely one of the Flyers most noticeable players on the ice tonight. It would have been nice to see him rewarded with more than just the one assist, but that’s just the kind of night it was. So it goes.
2. James van Riemsdyk
Would you look at that, you guys, a real goal for James van Riemsdyk!
Tangible offense was a bit hard to come by in this one, so it’s worth recognizing van Riemsdyk for the fact that he was able get himself a point on the board. He got himself to the front of the net to look for a rebound, and he got a goal for himself just like what we’re used to seeing from him. He’s working well to get himself back into regular form, so credit to him for that.
3. Mikhail Vorobyev
It wasn’t the flashiest game for him, but Vorobyev has been showing some jump since he was called back up, and that continued into tonight. He got 13:19 of ice time in total, and picked up four shot attempts and two shots across the evening. He and David Kase looked to be finding a bit of chemistry, and there were a few sequences early on where the fourth line really looked to be threatening, and Vorobyev was a key part of this. He was skating well and his passes were crisp, and it’s what we’ve been hoping to see from him on a more consistent basis. It was there for much of tonight’s game, and let’s hope he can carry it into Tuesday’s.
Two big questions
1. Can the power play, idk, do anything well?
They did, well, they did a little better than they have been recently. They picked up three shots on the power play and had a bit of good puck movement, but they also still weren’t looking their sharpest out there. The good news is that they still picked up the one goal, after the rebound from Hayes’s initial shot just about came right out to Niskanen for a pretty easy tap in. The process still needs some work, but to see them at least get one goal was nice.
2. Please, no one else get hurt.
Miraculously, we made it through without anyone looking like they’d gotten hurt. *furiously knocking on wood*
Play of the game
Not a play, per se, but Brian Elliott giving Justin Braun a death stare after he screened him on the second goal was funny in a morbid sort of way.