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Flyers 3, Senators 2: Just a little interesting at the end, there

Some observations for your morning...

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

Remember that time the Flyers blew a 3-1 lead to the Senators to lose in regulation at home? That was awful and sad and at least not what happened last night when the Senators came back to Philly. It looked, for a hot second, like this is something that might have happened again, but the Flyers had things under control. But who doesn’t like a nice bit of panic on their Monday night, am I right?

All stats via Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

1. Not a lot going on early

This was a bit of a weird start for the Flyers. They came out with a bit of jump, but couldn’t do… really anything. They were able to maintain control of the puck, move through the neutral zone without too much trouble, and then get a cycle going in the offensive zone. They were able to manage some nice passing that looked like it might eventually yield something, but it just didn’t. Shots were blocked or didn’t make it on net at all. It took them just over eight minutes to get their first shot on goal.

And, really, that was the story of just about the whole of the first period—lots of passing, not a whole lot of shooting. They ended up with 10 shots by the time the first intermission, but it was a long ways to get there.

2. Phil Myers is so good, pals

We’ll get back to talking about the weirdness was the first period in a second, but we wanted to just extend a quick nod to our pal Phil Myers. He’s been good, of late, and he had himself another very good game last night. He showed some flash early, activating on the rush and dipping low in the offensive zone on a couple of occasions in the first period alone, looking to aid in generating a more dangerous scoring chance. And then, of course, he was able to bring a bit more flash elsewhere. Like here.

I mean, he faked that guy out so hard that he fell over. That’s just incredible.

But outside of that flash, he had an otherwise very solid game. He only played 13 minutes, but in that he registered three shots (including one high danger chance), and an adjusted 53.85 CF% at 5-on-5. He’s continuing to make his presence known in the lineup, and is even showing some flashes of dominance. And maybe this isn’t news. But it’s still fun. And we’re going to keep pointing it out.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

3. Big yikes

We don’t tend to think of the Senators as being one of those teams like “yeah, if you give them even a little bit of space to work with, they’re going to burn you for it,” and maybe that’s for good reason, but there’s also something to be said for not handing out opportunities for free. Just before the midpoint of the first period, the Senators had gotten themselves set up in the offensive zone and were finally doing a bit of cycling of their own. We had just enough time to make a mental note about this being the most sustained zone time they’d had all game, and you’ll never guess what happened next.

With the Flyers scrambling around the zone and failing to clear the puck, it was only a matter of time before they got burned. Chris Tierney was just in position to reap that opportunity. It was a bit of sloppiness for the Flyers that, on the bright side, was something of an anomaly on the night, but it was a bit of sloppiness that hurt them, all the same.

4. It isn’t pretty but it works…

Giving up that first goal might have hurt the Flyers, or might have hurt badly the Flyers of old, or earlier this season. But they had some rally in them last night! They put in some good work in the first period, after they decided to stop passing to each other and start passing to the net, and came out for the second period looking to keep building on that and get themselves back into the game.

The Flyers were able to get themselves on the board, here, off a Shayne Gostisbehere shot from the point deflecting off of Sean Couturier, over to Oskar Lindblom, and off Lindblom and into the net. It was a weird play, but in a way it felt like the reward they deserved—they had pulled it together and were working their way to deserving a weird bounce to balance the scales.

And it was also another example (albeit extreme) of Lindblom being in exactly the right spot at the right time to make something happen. Would you look at that.

5. A bit of vintage Brian Elliott

That heading isn’t a nod to his play as being just so, so good, like he was a youngster again and that’s just how solid and active he looked, but rather more of a “remember when he first came to Philly and in his first few games he looked like he was just kind of flopping around out there and he just about gave us heart attacks?” It was more of that.

But, flopping aside, Elliott had himself a pretty solid night. He let in two goals—the first on a shot that just beat him, the second on a shot that was deflected in front—on 22 shots for a .909 save percentage, which isn’t an excellent figure, but it’s fine. Elliott didn’t have the biggest workload (he only face six high danger chances, as well), but he did what he needed to in order to stay on top of his game and not immediately undo the good work the team in front was doing. It wasn’t a flashy effort, but he got the job done.

6. *extremely Hozier voice* Depth, baby!

It was redemption time for Michael Raffl in the second period of last night’s game. After he fell victim to pass fever in the first period, and failed to shoot on a solid chance, the puck came back to him and he didn’t make that same mistake twice.

A nifty pass from Nolan Patrick from the angle found Raffl parked right in front of the net, and that’s just about the prototypical example of getting yourself to the front of the net and working for high danger chances.

But that’s not all! It was a bit more depth scoring that would follow, to close things out for the Flyers. With another nifty pass coming through and just a pretty stellar shot by Scott Laughton through traffic, the Flyers picked up their third of the game, and the ultimate game winner.

And these are the games you like to see from time to time—you don’t want your team to be a single line scoring all of the goals, filled out with a bunch of guys who are just sort of there doing whatever it is they’re doing. You want your depth players contributing, and it’s nice to see them stepping up and doing that, when needed.

7. Special teams rundown

A lot to talk about in this one, so we’re jamming all of our special teams talk into this one section. The good news is there also isn’t a whole lot to talk about, in terms of special teams. The Flyers only had four minutes of penalty kill time (and one was split between the second and third periods, giving them a bit of help), and they killed both of those penalties well enough and without much incident. They limited the Senators to just two shots, and kept them from being able to put together anything very dangerous. Well done, gang.

What we really want to get to talking about is the power play. Spoiler alert, they weren’t able to register a power play goal, but there were a couple of changes, and it looked promising. With Jake Voracek’s absence, the top unit was shuffled around a bit, and it saw Claude Giroux back to his normal side, and Sean Couturier setting up as a shooting threat. It was a limited sample, but it looked good. It may not be a look that sticks, as Voracek should only miss one more game, and one assumes that they’ll just revert back to their original format when that happens, but then again, maybe not? Let’s maybe give that a longer look.

8. Shots and all

Taking a look at the shot numbers, it was a solid night for the Flyers. They held the edge in momentum for just about the whole of the game, putting up an adjusted 57.45 CF% at 5-on-5. They sat back a little bit in the third period, but that’s something that could be more or less expected, with the lead they were nursing. All the same, they were able to keep a tight enough game, even with that.

We like the offense they were able to generate (65 shot attempts and 36 shots in total, with 54 and 29 at 5-on-5), but what we really like about their game is how they were able to limit the Senators’ chances across the night. The Senators were only able to put up 22 shots, on 46 shot attempts, and as we said earlier just six high danger chances. They all but gave away the Tierney goal, but they didn’t give away a whole lot after that.

9. Playoffs?!

We ‘re almost done here, and we want to take this as an opportunity to pull back and look at the larger context. Columbus lost last night and the Flyers are now within three points of the last wildcard spot. They’re on a pretty insane tear right now, we can’t deny that. But should we be all-in on this playoffs thing? Who knows.

This next week’s going to be a tough one, with Washington, Toronto, and Pittsburgh all coming up, and the Flyers really can’t afford to lose many games down this stretch. But, that doesn’t mean we should bank these as losses. As we said, they’re tapping into something remarkable, here. It’s a lot that they’ll still have to do, will still have to have break their way, but stranger things have

And, besides, I’m not one to tell you not to be excited if you’re excited. Feel your feelings, friends.

10. The only damn thing I know

I’ve got to say, when I’m listening to the games at home, I really love the bits of hard hitting analysis that come along with the play-by-play. You know the ones, notes like “Lindblom is bumped by Lindberg, and they’re both Oskars.” Good stuff, gang.