Baby steps. Progress. Not being miserable.
Hey, sometimes that’s what you have to take from a game.
The Flyers managed to end their two-game skid on Tuesday night, as they went into New Jersey and collected a 5-3 win in their first of two outings against the Devils. James van Riemsdyk had two power play goals, and Nolan Patrick and Joel Farabee scored in the third to break a tie and get the Flyers back above .500 (real .500, not hockey .500).
Follow along as we relive the magic of a strange game that ... might have been the Flyers’ best game of the season? That’s a terrifying thought, but this has been a pretty terrifying season. Anywho!
Period The First
- The announcers on this broadcast are quick to point out that by captaining tonight’s game Claude Giroux sets the team record for longest-tenured captain in Flyers history, breaking Bobby Clarke’s record of 610. Any time you’re beating one of Bobby Clarke’s Flyers records that’s a big friggin’ deal, so congrats to our much-maligned captain. Anywho, Giroux celebrates by hooking some dude on the Devils who I truly do not care about, and the Flyers will go on the penalty kill right out of the gate.
- Said penalty kill ... is fine? Devils had decent pressure, puck didn’t leave the zone much, but not many real dangerous chances. Not great, but could be worse.
- Things do not get much better from there, though! Pavel Zacha, of drafted-sixth-overall-in-2015-ahead-of-Ivan-Provorov-and-like-a-dozen-other-better-players fame, sneaks ahead of Shayne Gostisbehere and gets a breakaway, but Brian Elliott shuts him down.
- All in all, not an inspiring run up to the first commercial break. The Flyers don’t look much different from the team that laid an egg across its first half-dozen games.
- I’ve been watching the first period on a Devils broadcast for some godforsaken reason, and boy, do these guys love talking about how James van Riemsdyk is from New Jersey. Did you know James van Riemsdyk is from New Jersey, where tonight’s game is happening? Wow!
- The Flyers finally get a good shift! Farabee gets a good chance and Sanheim follows up with another one. Baby steps.
- The game slows down a bit following that shift as the Flyers slowly start to get their legs under them, at which point naturally the Devils get an odd-man chance that Elliott turns aside.
- Giroux, attempting to do as much leadership as possible, manages to attract the attention of four Devils in the offensive zone, and Andreas Johnsson holds him just long enough to get the Flyers on the power play.
- Said power play begins with a shorthanded breakaway by Yegor Sharangovich that hits the post. I don’t like this power play. Can we return it?
- FLYERS SCORE I TAKE IT BACK I TAKE IT BACK. Long shot by Provorov is deflected right in front by JVR and the Flyers get on the board first.
- The heat is officially up, as the Flyers get a couple more good chances in the period’s final minutes, including one in close from Giroux.
- The announcers mention Dmitry Kulikov as he skates around on the ice on one of the period’s final shifts. How on earth is Dmitry Kulikov only 30? Feels like he’s been around since the ‘80s. Anywho, first period is over. Started out pretty poorly, but the Flyers managed to turn things a bit after a rough stretch between the opening drop and the first commercial break.
Period The Second
- The period begins and the Flyers immediately are put on the power play with what is a very good call for goaltender interference as Kyle Palmieri runs into Elliott in his crease. (This call may not have actually been good. Your mileage may vary.)
- THE POWER PLAY SCORES and it is the exact same goal as the first one. Shot from distance by Provorov is knocked down and in by JVR in front. It’s 2-0. I’m having fun.
- Hey, there’s Shayne Gostisbehere! His best shift of the night follows shortly after that goal, as he helps create a chance for Provorov and gets a crack of his own from the high slot shortly after. Not a perfect game for Ghost so far, but he’s been serviceable, which for this defense and what it’s been so far this year is a step up.
- So far in this period, the Flyers are having their best extended stretch of play since probably the opening night game? Absolutely taking it to the Devils right now. More of this. This is good.
- Pernell Karl Subban trips Michael Raffl in the offensive zone and whooooo man he is not happy. The Flyers get some decent chances on the ensuing power play, but nothing too exciting.
- We finally see Brian Elliott have to do a thing, as he puts his crossword puzzle down to turn aside a dangerous shot from Jack Hughes.
- A graphic on the screen says that JVR (who is from New Jersey) has seven shots on goal in fewer than 30 minutes of game time. Coincidentally, “Seven Shots In 30 Minutes Or Less” is also what the Flyers have made their fans want to do in the first two weeks of this season.
- Subban takes another penalty and is less visibly angry about this one. Unfortunately for the Flyers, this one kind of stunk, as the best chance of the two minutes belonged to the team killing the penalty. Let’s hope we don’t regret that one...
- Ah. There are the regrets. The Devils score on a delayed penalty — Michael McLeod wins a race to a loose puck, and it takes a weird bounce in front and sneaks through Elliott. It’s McLeod’s first career NHL goal in his 39th career game. (Since he was taken in the draft where the Flyers ended up with German Rubtsov, I don’t have as many funny jokes about this one.)
- The fourth line almost responds immediately with a good chance, but Connor Bunnaman whiffs on a pass from an odd-man rush. The game proceeds back and forth from there, and the refs are letting things go in both directions. [NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Bunnaman also did this in the third period. I don’t feel like writing it all again, but he did basically the exact same thing.]
- Oops. We are now tied 2-2. Nice deflection in front by Travis Zajac, but boy, he’s got a little bit too much room in front of the goaltender there, doesn’t he?
- The mojo is bad now, folks. Both teams are getting some time with the puck, but the Devils’ time is spent pushing for a go-ahead goal and the Flyers’ time is aimlessly running around trying to forecheck and retrieve the puck to no avail. The tides have turned from the beginning of the period.
- The boys in orange do get one good chance as the period nears an end, as Giroux feeds Hayes from behind the net, but Hayes doesn’t quite get all of it and Wedgewood stops it. We go to the locker room at 2-2.
Period The Third
- The Devils get the period’s first real chance to break the tie, as Andreas Johnsson (who it feels like is everywhere tonight) probably should have scored but hits it off of the crossbar. It bounces out from there and the Flyers stuff it under Elliott’s pads. Not a great start.
- Damon Severson also hits the post a couple minutes later. I’m not enjoying this.
- JVR, who is from New Jersey, gets away with a bit of a trip there. Have to wonder if his being from New Jersey allowed him to not get called there.
- Hahahaha what.
Nolan Patrick gives the Flyers the lead! pic.twitter.com/ZR4fAY0AoT— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 27, 2021
- Seriously, what on earth did we just watch? Anywho, Flyers lead 3-2 on Nolan Patrick’s goal from Claude Giroux, whose patience there made a lot of us scream at our televisions but ultimately paid off after Wedgewood just, like, fell down.
- Jersey still keeps the pressure on after that goal, getting the better of the run of play in the few minutes that follow. Not many Grade A chances, but they’re doing enough to keep you nervous.
- But alas! The Flyers double their lead on a straight-up hustle goal. Good forechecking makes the Devils a bit sloppy, Oskar Lindblom knocks the puck over to Scott Laughton, who hits Farabee to put one home. That trio being a pain in the ass for everyone involved should not be a surprise to any of us.
Lindblom breaks up the clear and Farabee puts home the rebound! pic.twitter.com/fUgiWbIBC8— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 27, 2021
- The Devils, down by two with seven minutes left, take another penalty, which they probably should not have done. The Flyers don’t score. One decent flurry of shots about midway through, but not much otherwise.
- After Jersey pulls Wedgewood with about three minutes left, the Devils continue to make things challenging for Elliott and the Flyers’ defense, forcing a tired group into an icing with under two minutes left. Fortunately, the only icing that would end up mattering was Ivan Provorov icing the game shortly thereafter, as he hits the empty cage from about 180 feet with 1:36 left.
- The Devils scored another goal after that. I do not care. Final score’s 5-3, and while this is the worst team the Flyers have faced so far, this was probably their best showing of the young season to date. Let’s do it all again Thursday. Tip your delivery people. Go Flyers.