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Flyers 3, Senators 2: Well, naturally

You saw this coming, right? Even I saw this coming.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers played a game against the Ottawa Senators tonight. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about those guys, but they are basically a dumpster filled with raccoon feces that has also been lit on fire. That sounds harsh, but it is what they are, and I will not take it back. The Flyers had absolutely no reason to lose this game. Frankly, they had no reason to have any trouble at all.

However, because they are our boys, they looked a little silly during parts of this game, and that is fine, and expected. The important thing is that they looked good where it counted, and they did not lose.

This is a nice chaos game for the folks still invested in a potential playoff run. If I am correct, and I will not be fact-checking, the win here and the loss by the Columbus Blue Jackets against the New York Islanders puts the Flyers within three points of a playoff position. What utter hogwash. I love it desperately.

EDIT: Alright, I fact-checked, okay?

I only had two things written down in my notes during this period, which is rare for me. I typically manage a few more, but from a purely objective standpoint, there wasn’t a lot going on in this period that can be explained in more than a few sentences. For you, whoever is reading this, God bless you, I will do my best to be thorough.

On the scoreboard, this period looked pretty terrible for the Flyers, but I am of the belief that this wasn’t actually that bad. They spent plenty of time in the offensive zone, keeping tired legs on the ice for the Senators and applying pressure, and although they failed to record a shot on goal through the first ten minutes, that doesn’t really reflect the scoring chances they’d had. Offensively, the Flyers didn’t look incompetent. The ice felt tilted in their favor for most of the period.

However, as we’ve all had to come to terms with over the past several years, nothing good happens ever, none of us are free of sin, and we will be punished for the rest of our pitiful lives for loving this team. That’s the only real explanation I have—beyond a defensive flub or two—for the Ottawa Senators scoring a goal on us.

It feels nasty, I’ll admit, to see the Senators score on my favorite team. It’s a cruel injustice. This is the worst team in the league, bar none. They ice a sub-par minor league team every night, and all of those guys spend their days on the hockey team equivalent of Tinder, swiping right on any team that is not their own and messaging them with “please respond” every half hour. No one wants to be on that team. No one wants to be a fan of that team. The centurion on their logo just notified the organization that he’s leaving for the KHL in the offseason. They’re going nowhere fast, and on there journey burrowing into the Earth’s crust, they decided to score a goal on us.

Chris Tierney got a deflection past Brian Elliott at 9:48. It’s hard to fault a goaltender for not anticipating a deflection, even if it is the Senators. I’m still filled with deep disgust.

The Flyers took the edge on shots in the second half of the period. This is likely because they had a collective come-to-Jesus moment where they remembered this is a home game against Eugene Melnyk’s lovingly-assembled lineup clumped up cat litter. I would have felt ashamed as well.

Here’s a fun game for you to play: right now, without the use of google, name five Senators players on today’s lineup not including the guy who just scored (you just read his name, that wouldn’t be fair). I think I’m 2/5.

AFTER ONE: 1-0 Senators, shots 10-6 Flyers; Senators goal scored by Chris Tierney (9:48)

Alright, the world is righted again.

The Flyers looked substantially better to start the second period, which was a relief in a thousand separate ways. Honestly, this shouldn’t be a close game, no real question about it. If you aren’t absolutely throttling the Ottawa Senators, your manhood should be questioned.

No questions here, though. The tying goal from the Flyers came at 2:02, and I’m sure it happened exactly as they planned it, with a shot bouncing off Sean Couturier and Oskar Lindblom like a pinball and ending up in the back of Craig Anderson’s net. A skill play? Well, sure, if you mean providing bodies in front of the net is a type of skill. I choose to believe a higher power had a hand in this one. Lindblom got credit for this funky little goal, but I know it was you, Carly Rae.

This whole period was a positive and heartwarming performance by the Flyers. They drove play in all zones and held a harsh advantage in the shots department throughout twenty minutes. It would keep paying off.

The go-ahead goal came at 6:02, with Michael Raffl accepting a gorgeous pass from Nolan Patrick and netting it smoothly. This is one of those deals where it was all in the primary assist; without Patrick, that goal just doesn’t happen. He could have passed it to a Broad Street Line subway rat as long as it was positioned in front of the net, and that would’ve gone in.

Oh, delay of game penalty, my old nemesis. You’re a disgrace to the game of hockey and I will not go back on this. Ryan Hartman would be sent to the box at 9:26, sparking the first power play of the game.

Keep it real with me here. No bullshit, full honesty: how much do you even know about the Senators power play? Surely your answer here is “absolutely nothing at all.” Well, I did something I almost never do, and I did some research. Don’t go into cardiac arrest—I occasionally utilize google. It may shock you, or it may not at all, that the Senators have better power play numbers than the Flyers do. That feels like it cannot possibly be true, while simultaneously feeling like it is the only truth I have ever known.

Anyway, I guess my point here is that I didn’t care about this power play, and felt no fear. I was right to do so. These guys suck. I know I’m dunking on them quite a bit, but it’s rare that I feel comfortable enough to publicly make fun of any team, considering the life I have chosen for myself. This is one of the few times I can do this. Allow me this joy.

The Senators have a guy on their team named Mark Borowiecki.

He looks like this.

I thought I’d have something funny to say, but now I am just burning sage and salting my doorways.

This creature took a holding penalty at 12:29, sending the Flyers off to their first power play opportunity of the game, one they didn’t score on. No, I’m not dedicating an entire paragraph to tell you about the power play. It doesn’t deserve the respect.

Not too long after this failed attempt, the Senators would take another penalty, a hooking call on Bobby Ryan at 16:13. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could score on the power play? Well, guess what, idiot.

At least they score at even-strength. With just over thirty seconds left in the period, Scott Laughton scored off the rush, putting the Flyers up by two and making my heart go all aflutter. It’s a multi-point night for Michael Raffl with his assist on Laughton’s goal. I just always need to talk about this when it happens.

AFTER TWO: 3-1 Flyers, shots 25-11 Flyers; Flyers goals scored by Oskar Lindblom (2:02), Michael Raffl (6:02), and Scott Laughton (19:23)

The final frame of this game started off with a delayed penalty on the Flyers, sending Radko Gudas to prison for holding at 1:19. That was a weird call, and I disagree with it, but it’s also Radko Gudas, who breathes a certain way and gets DoPS called on him. So whatever.

Are you shaking with fear to find out if the Senators scored a goal on the power play? Who can blame you, honestly. I’m quivering in my boots (I’m wearing fuzzy polar bear socks). Anyway, fret not. You needn’t worry. They did not do that.

To be fair, they didn’t get a full chance to do so, as an interference call was called on Filip Chlapik for taking down Claude Giroux away from the puck during the power play opportunity. What a fine, disciplined play by a team certainly firing on all cylinders and making good choices. A brief stretch of 4-on-4 hockey would take place at 2:56, before the Flyers took advantage of a slightly-stuttered power play for a minute and a half.

Pop quiz: did the Flyers score on the power play?

A) No.

B) Yes.

C) We’re all going to die.

D) Both A and C.

What a difficult time for me personally, and also any Flyers fan who must be forced to sit through this garbage.

Just as I began to type out some menial nonsense about how the rest of the game was boring and nothing interesting or noteworthy took place, karmic forces in our universe decided to shut my ass up once and for all. That’s fair. I earned that through my actions, which have consequences. Filip Chlapik scored a goal to cut the Flyers’ lead to one at 17:03. I said, “Oh, come on,” out loud, and my cat looked up from his peaceful slumber with malice in his gaze. He should just get used to this.

The Senators spent the following minute or so applying some pressure on the Flyers in their own zone, which is embarrassing enough. This ended up working out for the good guys in the end, as when they finally pushed it to the neutral zone, some wise guy named Zack Smith (they really gave up on naming him in the Create-a-Sim menu, huh) took a tripping penalty at 17:59. This effectively gave the Flyers the man advantage for the final two minutes of the game. Very cool move, Zack.

This was basically a game of keep-away for the Flyers. This was not a power play I would call aggressive or desperate, and it didn’t need to be. The Senators made one final effort by pulling their goaltender with thirty seconds left, essentially returning the game to even-strength, but it would not be enough.

If the Flyers hadn’t won this game, I would have just lost my mind.

AFTER THREE: 3-2 Flyers, shots 36-22 Flyers; Senators goal scored by Filip Chlapik (17:03)

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