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Flyers 5, Oilers 4: Lucky sevens

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This team is absolutely insane right now, and I love it.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

The opening minutes of this one featured some nice pace from both teams, with a scary moment coming from Carter Hart. He turned the puck over behind the net, but because he is our best boy, he recovered to make a point-blank save. Shortly after, less than two minutes into the game, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ran into Hart giving the Flyers their first man advantage of the game.

The power play would stay hot and score on their third straight opportunity, with Sean Couturier burying a great passing play from Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Typically it’s Wayne Simmonds tipping in those passes, but Couturier showed his outstanding versatility in that spot on the power play, giving the Flyers the lead. Finally, the power play seems to have found its rhythm.

Shayne Gostisbehere would head to the penalty box shortly thereafter however, as he tripped up RNH down low. Carter Hart would continue to be at his best as he made two spectacular saves on the penalty kill. Couturier and Giroux wasted a lot of time in the offensive zone, and Ivan Provorov made a great play on a puck that seemed to be drifting towards the goal line. Overall, special teams was pretty damn special in the opening minutes.

The two teams got into a run and gun kind of pace as the period progressed, and the Oilers were able to convert as Milan Lucic found Ty Rattie who got behind the Flyers defense, and ... well to say he shot it by Hart would be inaccurate. He went to the backhand in an attempt to beat Hart, but the puck slid off his stick and into the net. Little bit of bad luck mixed with poor defense, early season Flyers fashion.

Provorov would then head to the penalty box on a hooking call, and yet again Hart would be up to the task. One of the more enjoyable aspects of those fun Flyers teams from the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, was their great penalty killing. Lately, the penalty kill has slowly but surely begun to resemble those days. They killed off both of the early penalties, and kept the Oilers’ chances to the outside primarily.

The Oilers clearly had more jump in the opening period, and were outshooting the Flyers 17-5 at one point. When the Edmonton Oilers are outshooting your team by that much at any given time, well, ya just kinda wanna curl up in a ball and die you know? Alright that was a bit morbid but let’s focus on the positives — wait hold on — ah yes Connor McDavid scored to make it 2-1 Edmonton. So much for the whole positivity thing! This goal was simply the best player in the world being himself, that speed and skill is unrivaled in this league and he put it on full display right there.

Looking back, Robert Hagg could have, well, done literally anything there and it would have been more effective than what he did, which was nothing. It’s still hard to find that much fault, given that’s a play that only McDavid can really make.

Gameflow/heatmap after 20 (it’s not good, folks)

Second Period

As the period began, yet again the Oilers came out with more jump than the Flyers. They simply were not moving their feet enough or making good enough passes, and even though Edmonton isn’t the best of teams, they were dominating.

To make matters worse, Scott Laughton flipped the puck out of play with no deflection, giving Edmonton their third power play of the game. After solid penalty kill work by Michael Raffl and Andrew MacDonald, the Flyers killed off their third power play of the game and kept it a one goal contest. That would be until Edmonton continued to dominate the Flyers in the offensive zone, and Adam Larsson beat Carter Hart to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead.

Some strong skating from Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick helped draw the Flyers second power play of the game, as they looked to crawl their way back. Despite a few deflection chances, and a great one timer chance by Claude Giroux as the power play came to an end, the Flyers were unable to capitalize. Cam Talbot was great for the Oilers and was the main reason they stayed up two goals.

As the Flyers began to move their feet a bit more in the offensive zone, Kyle Brodziak took a hooking penalty on a cutting Couturier, sending them back to the power play. This time, Claude Giroux would blast one by Cam Talbot and make it a one goal hockey game. That’s a goal that Talbot will want back, but we’ll take it! Carter Hart would make a pair of spectacular saves including a dazzling glove save on the rebound. There’s plenty to choose from, but that very well may be his best save yet.

The period would end 3-2 Oilers, but the Flyers had clearly gotten some momentum heading into the third period. They really should not even be in this hockey game, but you know the saying, “Only the Lord saves more than Carter Hart.” If they win this game, Hart will be the biggest reason, and oh how sweet it is to have a goalie this good.

Gameflow/heatmap after 40

Third Period

The third for the Flyers opened much better than the first and the second, and they’d receive an early power play after Milan Lucic high sticked Oskar Lindblom. With the man advantage, Gostisbehere made a horrific pass to Giroux that was intercepted by Zack Kassian who went in on the breakaway, and beat Hart to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead.

This would seem like a heartbreaking goal for the Flyers who seemed to be back in the game. That is, until Travis Konecny scored a power play goal just seconds later making it a one-goal game yet again. Oskar Lindblom made a sensational pass through some skates to Teeks at the side of the net, and the young winger made no mistake.

Shayne Gostisbehere would be high sticked with just under 10 minutes to go in the game, sending the Flyers back to their recently lethal power play. Would they stay hot? Oh, you’re damn right they would. Wayne Simmonds picked up a loose puck after Giroux looked for a redirection from James van Riemsdyk, and buried it by Talbot to tie this game. A game the Flyers had no business being in for much of the contest, but once again this was a great effort to come back and keep it close. This was their fourth power play goal of the game, something they hadn’t done since 2008 according to Dave Isaac. Who would have ever predicted this just a few weeks ago?

So, this win streak has been pretty crazy, but the unmitigated insanity that took place with just a few seconds remaining in the game might top that. Nolan Patrick was stopped by Talbot on an incredible leg save, and there were about three or four other chances in there that could have been goals. The first two periods of this game may have been some ugly hockey, but the third period was pretty darn fun.

Final gameflow/heatmap

Overtime

Travis Sanheim nearly was the hero again as Nolan Patrick found him on a beautiful pass and then oh my god chaos ensued. James van Riemsdyk made a fantastic defensive play, found Patrick who set up Sanheim AGAIN who missed high and wide. JVR turned into the cot damn terminator and outworked the Oilers to set up Patrick again who buried the shot by Talbot, giving the Flyers their seventh straight win. He made up for the miss at the end of regulation in a big way, and somehow someway, this team has done it again.