The Philadelphia Flyers’ four-game series against the New Jersey Devils began with a comeback effort sparked by Claude Giroux, and a shootout victory for Brian Elliott. However, the results didn’t fall the Flyers’ way tonight.
This game began with big Flyers-Devils vibes; i.e. nothing happened. However, things then got very exciting when we went to video review over a high-sticking penalty. It was determined that Sean Couturier was, in fact, bleeding as the result of a high-stick and the Flyers were given a four-minute power play. It’s unclear why it took as long as it did to reach that conclusion.
Of course, the league’s worst-ranked penalty kill held the Flyers to one shot on goal in four minutes, and that shot was an Egor Zamula dump-in with about nine seconds left. So, yeah, that went well. Giroux did hit the post at the beginning, but the Flyers’ power-play continued to be powerless.
This was said about the last game, but boy does it feel like neither team particularly cares about winning this game. OK, maybe the Devils want to win this game, it took a bit, but they’re making Elliott make some saves now.
Nolan Patrick is called for holding, and Nico Hischier capitalized on the man advantage to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. Robert Hagg blocked the original shot from Jack Hughes, but the rebound went through Scott Laughton’s legs and right to Hischier’s stick.
I’m sure the irony of Hischier scoring while Patrick was serving his minor penalty is not lost on anyone.
After 20 minutes the Flyers had three shots on goal, two from Zamula, including that dump-in on the power play. There have been a lot of lifeless periods of hockey played by the Flyers this season, but this effort might take the crown.
End of 1st: 1-0 NJ
Well, at the very least Jakub Voracek has some jump this period. It didn’t lead to anything, but he was flying to start the second. Low bar for positives here, you guys, let me have this one.
Mikey McLeod sent Sean Couturier hard into the boards, and Travis Sanheim really didn’t like it. He dropped the gloves for the first time in his career and got punched a few times. Sanheim was also given an extra minor for roughing, sending the Flyers back to the penalty kill.
Sanheim stands up for Couturier, and while he's certainly not a fighter, it's the thought that counts. pic.twitter.com/BqcmnOVb9W— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 28, 2021
On the ensuing power-play, the Devils struck once again. This time it was Pavel Zacha, accepting a pass from Hughes and blasting a one-timer from the slot by Elliott. Zacha managed to get himself lost in coverage, with both Oskar Lindblom and Sean Couturier unable to react in time, and Robert Hagg covering nobody in front of the net.
Like most Flyers games this season; it got worse. Miles Wood strikes from the blue line to extend the Devils’ lead again. A failed clearing attempt by Justin Braun went right to Wood, whose shot managed to make it past everybody for the tally.
However, less than 15 seconds later, Oskar Lindblom jammed one home right in front of MacKenzie Blackwood to cut the Devils’ lead to two.
Oskar Lindblom puts home the rebound, and Jackson Cates picks up his first NHL point! pic.twitter.com/Tru5AgQyyO— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 28, 2021
The Flyers, who had three shots in the first period, had five in one sequence leading to the Lindblom goal. Jackson Cates picked up the primary assist, his first point in the NHL.
For a moment it appeared that Hischier had scored his second of the game, but his shot hit the crossbar and never crossed the goal line. Nate Bastion followed it up with a near miss of his own that may or may not have counted, depending on the always cherished intent to blow the whistle rule. But that didn’t even need to come into play.
End of the 2nd: 3-1 NJ
OK, why do they keep doing this? The Flyers again go from playing dull, dreary hockey to suddenly injecting excitement into what had been a totally lifeless game. Just a little over two minutes into the final frame, Myers picked up his first of the season with a point shot.
Then the hero two nights ago, Giroux, again tied the game, this time with a lot more minutes left.
Giroux ties the game in the third, again! pic.twitter.com/1hrHeK1Gz3— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 28, 2021
Myers gets burned by Connor Carrick, who beat Elliott off of the rush, and this is when the goaltenders collectively lost their ability to stop shots for a short period of time. Somehow a Couturier shot from the boards beat Blackwood, and just eleven seconds later Yegor Sharangovich capitalized on a hilarious sequence that sums up the Flyers’ 2021 season.
Experience Flyers hockey.
What. pic.twitter.com/NiiyxAX7h0— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 28, 2021
That would go down as the game-winner, after a late push by the Flyers with the goaltender pulled couldn’t get the finish they needed. Couturier had a brilliant opportunity to tie the game, but after beating Blackwood, Matt Tennyson played hero and got his stick on Couturier’s shot. Giroux almost did it AGAIN, but was unable to beat Blackwood for a second time this evening.
An empty-netter with seconds to go put a bow on this one, officially snapping the Devils’ 10-game losing streak.
The Flyers' tragic number drops to 3, mercifully. See you Thursday.
Final: Devils 6, Flyers 4