Well that was fun, and not at all heart-attack inducing? In the end, despite giving up a 3-0 lead (that really should’ve never happened due to a clearly offside goal), the Flyers managed to salvage this one and won the game in overtime 4-3 thanks to Phil “The Thrill” Myers.
1. The top line was excellent.
Here’s an impressive stat for you. At 5-on-5, the Corsi-for total of the Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Jake Voracek line, in 13:55 minutes of ice time, was a resounding 64.00%. At the individual level, they all drove play and scoring chances to an unbelievable degree, coming in at 70.00% (Voracek), 67.86% (Giroux), and 62.07% (Couturier).
More so than that, they all had good games from the eye test, especially Couturier, who scored a peach of a goal to give the Flyers their initial 3-0 lead.
Sean Couturier just did that. pic.twitter.com/1dNMSIIGcS— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) August 26, 2020
Couturier also looked solid in his own end, and was sound positionally. It’s good, no, great to see this line, formally reunited by Alain Vigneault and to be clicking at that.
2. Kevin. Please, do more of that
This all being said, the best Flyer forward was none other than Kevin Hayes. Together with Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny, the line (and Hayes individually) had a lot of jump, and looked the best that I’ve seen in the bubble so far. Hayes looked like the most dangerous forward offensively, and in the end, he registered two goals to show for it. In particular, he made an excellent read of the play to read Semyon Varlamov’s positioning with the second goal, noting that he was cheating a bit to take away the pass, and scoring short side.
Kevin Hayes again! Second of the first period for Hayes!#AnytimeAnywhere pic.twitter.com/esJDvecsYU— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) August 26, 2020
It really is about time that the veteran, top end talents that the Flyers have at the forward positions started to look themselves and score. I’m hoping that this is an awakening for the top six, and that we see more of this in Game 3!
3. Carter Hart was solid yet again
Hart stopped 31 of 34 shots, and was yet again great in net as he has been for the majority of the playoffs. There really isn’t enough I can say about his positioning, mental toughness, and maturity for such a young goaltender. He has near singlehandedly won the Flyers games in these playoffs, and it is such a relief and comfort to know that he is the real deal. The only blemish on Hart tonight would be the second goal the Islanders scored, as Hart will likely want that effort from Anthony Beauvillier back, though otherwise, it was yet another solid showing from Carter.
4. And yet, it was 3-0...
Yeah, I couldn’t get away with not mentioning that.
The Flyers, apart from Hart and the first line, really only played a period and just under a half of hockey before they decided to sit comfortably on their lead. It can be said that the Flyers let the Islanders get back into this game, and even though the third goal shouldn’t have counted, the momentum was leading to that moment and the Flyers’ careless ways were rightfully punished. We are fortunate that the Flyers were able to win it in overtime, since a good majority of the second half of the game was worthy of a loss.
I’m not saying that the Flyers didn’t deserve to win in the end, but in the third period they were out-Corsi’d 31.43% to 68.57% at 5-on-5. That’s abysmal, and they need to bring the effort we saw in the first period throughout the whole game (and in the overtime, where the Flyers had a Corsi-for advantage of 85.71%).
5. Ghost should really be in for Hagg
Yes, I know that perhaps stylistically, Robert Hagg is the better fit in this series, due to his ability to block shots and be physical. However, Hagg was an unbelievable drag on possession and chances tonight. Comparing Hagg’s Game 2 to Shayne Gostisbehere’s Game 1, would you rather have a 26.92 CF% or a 64.29 CF% at 5-on-5? It doesn’t take much guessing to determine which stat belongs to which player. I doubt Gostisbehere will draw in for Game 3, due to the Flyers winning, but Gostisbehere was objectively better.
The only thing I know
Hey, the Flyers won! In overtime! We haven’t been able to say that since 2012 when Danny Briere scored against the New Jersey Devils, so it feels good to say again, even if every moment of the period was spent nervously clutching my remote for luck!
All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick