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Flyers 6, Red Wings 5: What a ride

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Whew boy the emotions felt in this one.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers

First Period

For both teams, the pace in the early going of this one was strong. The Flyers had mustered a few solid chances and there seemed to be a lot of open ice in the opening minutes. Claude Giroux almost had a breakaway opportunity, and Nolan Patrick almost got the puck to Scott Laughton for a good 2-on-1 chance.

The Flyers would strike first in the home and home battle with Detroit, as Nolan Patrick made a fantastic play to create space for himself, and sauce the puck to Shayne Gostisbehere who made no mistake. Patrick showed the right amount of patience and attack on this play and it resulted in a 1-0 Flyers lead. Gostisbehere’s season has been a frustrating one to say the very least, but that goal was a perfect example of Ghost at his best. He read the rollout with Patrick perfectly, and sniped it.

Would the attack slow down after the goal? Not a chance. James van Riemsdyk had a partial breakaway but was stopped by Howard on his backhand attempt. The offense continued to forecheck well and force the Red Wings defenseman into difficult passes, and their backcheck was equally impressive. Oskar Lindblom and Travis Sanheim had notable plays in their own zone to halt the Detroit attack, and get the Flyers going the other way.

Wanting to get in on the action, the fourth line had a very impressive shift in the offensive zone with Justin Bailey and Phil Varone specifically generating plenty of good looks. Gostisbehere was heavily involved on the shift as well, as early on the Flyers defenseman was absolutely feeling it. This is the Ghost that we’ve grown accustomed to, making plays each time the puck is on his stick, and going right at the defense.

Detroit wouldn’t go down easily though, as Gustav Nyquist deflected a pass from the point, by Hart, to tie the game up at one. Travis Sanheim had drifted to the slot area to block the point shot, which he did, and just never really got back, leaving a wide open Nyquist. It wasn’t the most egregious error, but I’m thinking that’s a goal he’d want a do-over for.

Phil Varone would almost get the goal right back just moments later, but he couldn’t bury the shot from the side of the net. Not to mention, referee Kyle Rehman, the same one who blew the early whistle in the Penguins game, blew it early again despite the puck clearly being loose. Feel like this isn’t just an isolated incident anymore and he’s just not a great referee, folks!

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Second Period

The Flyers would open the second with an answer to the Red Wings tying tally, as Travis Konecny sniped a power play goal by Jimmy Howard giving them a 2-1 lead. Konecny had run out of options with no passing lanes, and finally took the shot and sniped it home. Konecny waited for the second Red Wings defender to screen Howard, and when he did, Konecny knew it was time to unleash a bullet.

Just moments, and a few fantastic Carter Hart saves later, Nolan Patrick, Wayne Simmonds, and Scott Laughton engaged in a picture perfect passing play that ended in a Laughton goal. The line had been buzzing all game long, specifically Laughton, and he finally was rewarded for his hard work as he snapped his 26 game goalless drought. This kind of ferocious attack even after securing a lead was a joy to behold, and a change from what we witnessed early in the season.

Speaking of the whole, remaining on the attack deal, Oskar Lindblom drew a penalty shortly after the Laughton goal sending the Flyers right back to the man advantage. Unfortunately, this one would be not as successful as the first and the score remained 3-1 Flyers. The bright side was however, the attacking nature of the Flyers continued and they kept coming right at the Red Wings.

Despite their continued pursuit, they didn’t give up a whole lot on the defensive end. The Wings would get chances in small bursts, but the Flyers generally did a really good job of retrieving the puck and breaking it out of their own zone. Their ability to do this, and of course sustain extensive offensive zone time was a huge catalyst to their success through the first two periods.

Detroit would be given a chance to get back in the game though with three minutes remaining in the second, as Andrew MacDonald was called for tripping. They would fail to capitalize though and the Flyers would head into the third period up two goals and seemingly with all the momentum.

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Third Period

Well, that didn’t take long. The Flyers would waste no time extending their lead as Oskar Lindblom and Jakub Voracek combined for the goal. Lindblom fired a shot, Howard gave up a big rebound that Voracek made a nice backhand sweep at and into the net giving his team the three goal lead. Now one more goal would be nice to really put this game — wait — BAH GAWD THAT IS NOLAN PATRICK’S MUSIC. Patrick burst right through the middle, fired a shot on Howard who gave up another poor rebound, stayed with his shot and put the rebound home giving the Flyers a 5-1 lead. It was Patrick’s third point of the game and his 12th goal of the season.

Right after that however, the Red Wings pulled Howard and all of a sudden remembered they were a professional hockey team. Tyler Bertuzzi would strike first and then just seconds later Thomas Vanek would snipe one by Hart and make it back into a two goal game. Those short bursts that were mentioned earlier typically were snuffed out quickly, but this time the Wings were able to capitalize in a big way, and quickly.

From that point on, the Flyers were simply playing like a different team. They were sitting back and not moving their feet, and the Red Wings were taking advantage. This would lead to another goal as Danny Dekeyser of all people beat Hart with a screened shot and just like that with over 10 minutes remaining in the game, Detroit had made it a one goal game.

As Nolan Patrick tried to get the Flyers back into a rhythm offensively, the refs missed a seemingly easy call as Patrick was basically tackled to the ice. Good to know the officiating is at its very best today, folks! Matters would be made worse when Claude Giroux was shoved into the boards face first by Anthony Mantha and uh ... the ref just kinda stood there and let him get away with it. That was a cheap shot, no ifs or buts about it.

And, because why would anything good happen to us, it’s Mantha who deflects home the game tying goal with less than 10 seconds left. That is exactly why Mantha should have been jumped after that hit. A lot of raw emotions were felt here fam.

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Overtime

TRAVIS KONECNY ON A WRAPAROUND WON THE GAME, THAT’S ALL FOLKS