Filip Forsberg got a great chance less than a minute into the game, but the Flyers came back and got a flurry of chances on Saros. Unfortunately, the Flyers couldn’t cash in despite the Finnish goalie giving up some big rebounds in the slot. The fourth line for the Flyers started it off with a puck retrieval and a shot off the crossbar from Cam York after a pass to the point. From there, it was everyone contributing, from Giroux to Travis Sanheim.
Michael McCarron and Zack MacEwen drop the gloves off a center-ice faceoff, and I think it’s safe to say that MacEwen won that one.
In other news, Ben Harpur is still completely terrible, and it’s to the benefit of the Flyers. He passes the puck directly to the stick of Sanheim in the slot, and he converts. 1-0 Flyers! The Flyers directly after got two power plays. On the first, they were not able to convert. On the second, they couldn’t get anything going due to Giroux getting called for hooking on rookie defenseman Alexandre Carrier. No one scored on the four on four, and the Flyers killed off the remaining 32 seconds of power play for the Predators.
The Predators managed to even things out for the most part, but with slightly over a minute and a half left in the period, Matt Duchene tries to throw it up the middle and turns the puck over to Derick Brassard. He rings a slapshot off the crossbar. It would be a mistake of me not to mention the strong forechecking by Cam Atkinson to create the turnover.
The period ended with the Flyers holding the 1-0 lead and dominating most of the play. The most important thing is carrying the strong play over to the second period.
Well, they don’t. The Flyers open up the period by giving up a goal to Tanner Jeannot. The rookie scores his 20th on the season to tie the game at 1-1. A Colton Sissons cross-check to the back of Travis Konecny created the turnover, and Jeannot grabbed the puck from the air, put it to his stick, and fired it top corner.
Directly after they give up a goal, the Flyers are awarded a power play thanks to Duchene forcing Sanheim to the back post and shoving him into the net. It feels like a slightly weak call to the Predators, but the 30th ranked power play in the league converts thanks to York being the beneficiary of a puck that leaks straight to him on the weak side. 2-1 Flyers.
The Flyers win another battle down low, and chaos ensues in front of Saros. Bodies are piled up and fighting for position, and the puck squeaks out to the slot, where James van Riemsdyk sits waiting. He throws the puck into the empty net to make it 3-1 Flyers.
But, the two-goal lead doesn’t last long. Roman Josi makes a great play at the point to get the puck to former Flyer Philippe Myers, who rockets one through Hart for his first goal as a Predator, because of course. Flyers still lead 3-2.
At the halfway point of regulation, the Flyers were able to kill off a very weak tripping call on Zack MacEwen, who was on the wrong end of a Nick Cousins sell job.
With 4:52 left in the second, Konecny takes a double-minor penalty for high-sticking Dante Fabbro along the wall. And, because this game is completely bonkers, the Predators tie the game thanks to a great deflection by Ryan Johansen in the slot. Josi gets his second point of the night, and Mikael Granlund gets the primary assist. It’s tied at 3-3. The Flyers managed to kill off the second half of the double minor, and they head into the intermission just as they started the game—tied.
So, Forsberg is a pretty good hockey player, and despite Sanheim doing his best to keep him out of the front of the net, he scores a goal between his legs. 4-3 Predators. Leaving a player like Josi to walk around the offensive zone is a recipe for disaster.
Konecny got a strong wraparound chance, but he couldn’t get it passed the goaltender Saros. The Flyers had two shots on goal through the first half of the period, but after not having a shot for about 10 minutes, they get a huge chance in front, and it goes in thanks to Brassard. However, the referees determined that Atkinson played the puck with a high stick on the clearing attempt by Eeli Tolvanen, and the goal doesn’t count. The Flyers would have gotten a power play due to Mattias Ekholm hooking Joel Farabee, but Farabee got a holding the stick penalty. The Flyers did manage to tie it at 4-4 on the 4-on-4, and there’s no dispute from the Predators on that one.
With 1:19 remaining in regulation, the Flyers lead 5-4! Joel Farabee has the whole net open on a fantastic backdoor pass from Kevin Hayes. The Predators were puck-watching, and the Flyers were able to make them pay. Van Riemsdyk also needs some credit on the play. He took the eyes away from Saros, so there was no way he was getting across to make the stop.
After a few icings, the Flyers managed to hold on to the one-goal victory on Giroux’s special night! It was a high-stress, high-scoring game, but the result was the desired one.
That’s all from me, everybody! Go Flyers, and we love you, Claude!