The Flyers brought their new lines, 22-year-old call-up, and back-up goalie into one of the toughest places to win a game this season, carrying with them a three-game losing streak, the weight of multiple injuries, and some road-weary legs, and somehow played the league-leading Florida Panthers to a tight 2-1 game, losing 2:39 into the overtime period.
The Panthers dominated the puck for large stretches of the game, but the Flyers were able to slow things down and create some chaos with some big, timely hits and post-whistle scenarios leading to concurrent penalties. Additionally, they blocked a ton of shots and were able to get many of their shot attempts on net, essentially creating as much work for the still-undefeated-in-regulation Sergei Bobrovsky as they allowed on Martin Jones. Speaking of, amongst all that chaos and shot-blocking, all of the very best things the Flyers did on this Thanksgiving Eve were done by Martin Jones in net.
Jones made 43 saves on 45 shots, including a few spectacular divers and some timely help from the goalposts. He did not allow a 5-on-5 goal and stood on his head throughout extended periods of Panthers puck possession. Pass me a bottle, Mr. Jones, because it’s the drunkest night of the year in America and you’ve just lost a game to the best team in the NHL despite an incredible performance in net. On to another tough opponent in the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday afternoon.
After Martin Jones bailed the Flyers out of a first five or so minutes where they barely even touched the puck and gave up multiple scoring chances, Philly was able to ride enough momentum from a breakaway Joel Farabee goal on just the second shot of the period to a first intermission lead.
Huge stop by Martin Jones on one end, great finish by Joel Farabee on the other. pic.twitter.com/Hfwk6N9qOV— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 25, 2021
The goal plus a general chippiness that all started with an Aaron Ekblad penalty drawn by Sean Couturier in front of the net, and probably a missed penalty call when Travis Konecny collided with Sergei Bobrovsky’s head, helped the Flyers get back in the game after as slow a start as they’ve had all year. The second half of the period would seem to set the tone for the rest of the game, with players taking extra steps to make hits and scrums after whistles and the Flyers were able to come out basically even in the shot battle (14-16) despite getting pummeled in the shot attempt battle (17-29), plus that important goal battle (1-0)
The middle stanza began just as the first did: with the Panthers controlling play, looking dangerous, and exciting the Panthers broadcasters (NHL Network at my parents’ house only had the Panthers feed), and Martin Jones standing tall—or in the case of one highlight reel save on Sam Reinhart with around 13 minutes left, reaching tall from a lying position.
A Flyers power play following an unsportsmanlike penalty on Frank Vatrano (called while he was on the bench) moved the puck around in the offensive zone just fine but, uh, didn’t look particularly dangerous at any point and did, of course, not result in a goal.
The Flyers seemed to tighten around Jones throughout the period, finishing the stanza with 17 blocked shots. While the Panthers possessed the puck far more than the Flyers, and they came out on top in the 5-on-5 Corsi-For battle by 12, the Flyers actually won the 5-on-5 shot battle by 2.
The opening of the third period swung things towards Florida, as Nick Seeler was caught for a slash in front of the net and the Panthers made quick work of their man advantage, scoring their first such goal in five games via some tic-tac-toe passing from Ekblad to Anthony Duclair to Sam Bennett.
The Panthers fed off that goal and the subsequent crowd energy for the rest of the period, creating a vibe fitting a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime more than what it was—15 minutes of mostly 5-on-5 play. The third period was basically Philly’s strongest period, as they once again nearly broke even in shots and even got close in shot attempts. Despite some late pushes by the Flyers, the period ended tied and we needed a few more minutes to settle this thing.
Martin Jones once again made some spectacular saves in the extra period, and a Cam Atkinson breakaway got about as close to crossing the goal line as a puck can get without actually doing so, but ultimately Aaron Ekblad was able to bury one past Jones to end the game.
- Morgan Frost was basically solid. Nothing spectacular, but a few creative passes, a near-breakaway that was unjustly called offsides, and a shot on goal, but he also did not ever look lost or out of place. After one game, there looks like there’s no reason Frost shouldn’t stick in the lineup even when the injury issues are cleared up.
- Rasmus Ristolainen got the call up to the top pair with Ivan Provorov tonight, and while the puck spent a significant portion of his ice time in his own defensive zone — which was typical of every other Flyer tonight anyway — he did block 3 shots and the Flyers actually had more 5-on-5 shots reach the net in that time.
- I know he’s been relegated to the fourth line, but Oskar Lindblom has looked pretty invisible out there the past few games, culminating in tonight, where I don’t remember seeing him do anything of note at all, and the Flyers did not generate a single shot on goal during his ice time. Life is pain, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is selling something.
- The Panthers have now tied the record for consecutive wins at home to start a season with 11. This was the first game they’ve played at home this season where they did not score four or more goals, so at least the Flyers have that to hang their hat on.
- The Flyers are now 6-0-3 when scoring first, 3-0-1 in one-goal games, and 3-0-1 when leading after two periods.
- Travis Sanheim played 28:16, a full six minutes more than any other Flyer. His on-ice statistics didn’t come out looking very great, but, again, no one’s did.