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Flyers 6, Devils 3: Getting mad On Ice

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The Flyers won and no one died, an incredible feat.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

This game was pretty stupid, until it was kind of fun, and then it devolved to be stupid again.

I just got a second monitor added to my setup and let me tell you, I feel like a king. I don’t know how I was living my life with just one monitor before. I really don’t, and I don’t think I could ever go back, either. Prior to this, I was doing my recaps with one half of my screen taken up by the game feed, and the other half of my screen open to the recap. It seems barbaric now, and it seems I improved my station just in time for this absolutely ridiculous game.

The Flyers won this, which I truly was not entirely expecting them to do after their play in the first period. Despite obviously playing down to an extremely weak roster, and looking fairly tired from their overtime loss the night before, the Flyers came up with a nice burst of offense in the third period that would put the nail in the coffin for the Devils, so to speak. They didn’t exactly have an easy time doing it, however, and the Devils wouldn’t go down without a fight. Or many fights. Or cheap hits. You know.

The Flyers didn’t start this period looking particularly sharp, which is of course to be expected when you are facing such talent as the New Jersey Devils, a team nearly entirely composed of minor-league players and a few sentient balls of lint. You wouldn’t know that from watching the first five minutes of this game, though. They may as well have been the Gretzky-era Oilers.

New Jersey spent a not-insignificant amount of time in the offensive zone, where time and time again the Flyers failed to clear the puck and take control of possession. This is a team with playoff hopes, guys.

Thankfully for us, the Devils don’t exactly have what I would call “offensive firepower” in their lineup presently, as Taylor Hall died or something back in December and won’t rise out of his grave until probably next season. I, uh, can’t think of any other notable scorers for the Devils, but it’s a safe bet to assume that those guys are injured too. I am getting most of this information from my roommate Steve, who just told me with great disappointment in his tone that he had to put his Devils hat in his closet today, not to be touched for the rest of the season. Pour one out for Steve; he’s a good guy, and doesn’t deserve this. I, however, do.

A major penalty would be assessed to my new enemy Curtis Gabriel after he boarded Nolan Patrick aggressively at 5:02. It looked pretty bad, the type of hit to have the commentators speechless and leave me with a type of anger that can be referred to as “feral.” When will people stop trying to kill our boy? Did some Devils fan put out a hit on him because he knows he and his beloved team are about to be brutally owned by Nolan Patrick for the rest of their entire lives? Can he sense that? One really can only guess.

EDIT: I have been informed that this “Curtis” fellow is actually called “Kurtis.” I will not be fixing this typo, however, as that would imply that I respect him and his dumb name. I do not. He will be referred to as Curtis.

The ensuing power play was a nightmare to watch. I truly believe it is a form of psychological warfare to force me to witness an extended version of an already-terrible power play. You’d think that with five minutes they’d be able to do something. You’d think wrong. They gave up a few shorthanded opportunities here, looked slow and clunky, and couldn’t make anything interesting or promising happen with the puck. For an entire five minutes! A power play! Absurd.

Fortunately for the Flyers, a mere few minutes after returning to even-strength they would get another opportunity to showcase their power play scoring prowess, as Drew Stafford went to the box at 12:02 for slashing.

It would have been very funny to me if the Flyers failed to score with seven minutes of power play time in the first period, but someone out there controlling the strings of fate decided to have mercy on my sanity. James van Riemsdyk answered the call here and took an excellent feed from Claude Giroux, turning it into a good old fashioned power play goal at 12:53. Did you know—perhaps you did not—that van Riemsdyk is a Jersey boy? It probably has not been mentioned yet. I am glad to be passing this information along.

As we have now established that James van Riemsdyk is from New Jersey, it is a pleasure to inform you that he scored yet another goal here, this time off a pretty pass from Ryan Hartman, our collective stepdad trying to make nice with us after the divorce, at 14:16. It’s fun when we’re scoring. It’s true.

AFTER ONE: 2-0 Flyers, shots 9-8 Devils; Flyers goals scored by James van Riemsdyk (12:53, 14:16)

Loving this team is not for the weak of heart. I really don’t know why any of us actively make this decision.

In an absolute mirror of the first period, the Flyers got hammered in their own zone right from the start of the second. The Devils swarmed, looking dangerous, doing everything except making the finish, and a migraine began to form behind my left eye.

To their credit, the Flyers had a good response here, taking the play right back to the Devils and coming up with a few scoring chances of their own. It would be cool if this level of play was to be expected for the rest of the period, but I can neither confirm nor deny that this would be the case. Of course not.

New Jersey cut the lead to one at 4:25 when Cam Talbot gave up a crucial rebound and a guy I have never heard of before in my life named Damon Severson pounced on it. Who is this guy? Is he a hockey player or a lucky fan who was given a sweater five minutes prior to opening puck drop? I would like to know. Thank you.

This was a good chance for the Flyers to respond well, showing that they would not be dominated by a minor league roster, but they did not do that here. The tie goal came at 8:49 from Jesper Bratt. I don’t know, man.

The rest of the period would play out pretty much the same way. The Flyers just didn’t look energized here; they were slow and tired, their passes weren’t connecting, and they couldn’t match the aggressiveness of the Devils. This period in particular was pretty physical, though the Flyers didn’t do much of that themselves. I get that this is the tail-end of a back-to-back, but God, did they have to be so rough to watch tonight? Are they playing down to a weaker team? Someone knock some sense into these guys. This shouldn’t be happening.

A tripping penalty sent Oskar Lindblom to hockey jail at 15:59, gifting New Jersey their first power play of the game. The power play numbers for this team are below average, but the Flyers are playing like it’s a beer league, so really anything could have happened here and it would have felt fitting. Good thing for you all reading this that the Devils couldn’t score. This recap would be absolutely unbearable to finish if that had happened.

Just when I thought the period was as good as done, an incredible, wonky goal gave the Flyers the lead at 19:30. This goal would be credited to Travis Konecny because he was the last orange sweater to touch the puck, but he had very little to do with this goal. This was a delicious own goal. Yes. It tastes like mana from the Gods.

AFTER TWO: 3-2 Flyers, shots 21-17 Devils; Devils goals scored by Damon Severson (4:25) and Jesper Bratt (8:49), Flyers goal scored by Travis Konecny, allegedly (19:30)

To be honest, I very nearly missed this goal, because I don’t fully mentally check-in to hockey until exactly 30 seconds in. Sean Couturier would score this one at just 27 seconds. Now there’s a guy who definitely plays hockey from time to time. The Flyers took another two-goal lead early in the third period.

The Flyers started to look a little more composed in the third, which is obviously the only time to do it, for maximum drama. This team, guys. Good lord.

Ivan Provorov scored the third goal on three shots for the Flyers at 6:33, adding a generous amount of padding to the lead. Buckle the hell in, folks, because this is about when the game started to devolve. At least it completely disintegrated while we had a well-cushioned lead. That is the important part.

Kurtis “Curtis” Gabriel reared his ugly face once again, and man I mean it when I call it ugly. Look at the mug on this guy.

I mean, right? Do I even need to say anything? This is a Hot Couch Guy. He was picked up off the side of the road in Cherry Hill with the promise of a six-pack of Natty Ice if he just could commit a few murders. It’s killing me that this is the epitome of Hot Couch Guy. I feel sick.

Anyway, he took offense to a pretty unintentional clip from Nolan Patrick and his extremely rational and smart solution to this was to grab the nearest Flyers sweater and just start an assault. Very cool stuff. In this case, the nearest guy was Scott Laughton, who basically just stood there as Gabriel roughed him from behind and started tugging his helmet off.

It is not unreasonable to say that this game wouldn’t have fell apart like this if the referees had made the call to eject “Curtis” from the game in the first period after his egregious hit on Nolan Patrick. However, because they did not do that, we were treated to a display of just downright goonery. I would be embarrassed to watch this if it was my team. I am just saying.

Damon Severson did some roughing up on Nolan Patrick, for reasons that are entirely nebulous to me, and Travis Konecny came to his defense. This really would only make things worse, which is not shocking to me—the mouth on that guy. Foul. Sami Vatanen would then basically launch himself at Konecny. I don’t know what caused this. Probably nothing. They are mad On Ice.

Out of all of that, four penalties would be served at 9:57, one to each involved in the brawl. We were treated to an excellent shot of Konecny shouting expletives at the Devils penalty box. Ah, the beautiful game. It all evened itself out, and so we went to even-strength like nothing had ever happened.

There was still a whole ten minutes left in the game, which felt impossible. This really did drag on for much longer than it needed to. The Flyers started to play hard defense—not much of a surprise with a 5-2 lead in the third. God, what a weird game.

With five minutes left on the clock, Cory Schneider was pulled back to the bench for the extra skater. It’s a bold move for a team with absolutely no playoff hopes, but one I respected in a way. After all those attempted homicides, might as well try to get a point out of it, right?

Or don’t! That’s also fine. Travis Konecny, putting a nice little finish on his wild night, put one in the empty net at 16:12 off a rather selfless feed from van Riemsdyk, who could’ve gone for the hat trick and decided not to. What a guy.

The Devils managed to catch the Flyers totally asleep with about two minutes left, getting one in on Talbot, but that was pretty inconsequential and not really worth talking about. That’s in the win column, boys.

AFTER THREE: 6-3 Flyers, shots 33-24 Devils; Flyers goals scored by Sean Couturier (0:27), Ivan Provorov (6:33), and Travis Konecny (16:12); Devils goal scored by Kevin Rooney (17:48)