Flyers vs. Devils recap: Poor first period and penalties sink Flyers
Given an opportunity to pick up two big points on a division rival right in front of them in the standings, the Flyers instead fell short, losing 2-1 in overtime to the New Jersey Devils.
The Philadelphia Flyers have proven surprisingly adept at the NHL's new 3-on-3 overtime. 4-on-3 is a different story entirely.
Jakub Voracek took a hooking penalty midway through the overtime session, and the New Jersey Devils capitalized on the ensuing power play, as Adam Henrique blasted a shot past goaltender Michal Neuvirth to send the Flyers to a 2-1 defeat on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. Cory Schneider made 31 saves for New Jersey, while Neuvirth stopped 22 for the Flyers.
Facing a division rival in a game with serious playoff implications, the Flyers responded with one of their worst first periods of the season. They generated their first even strength shot with 2:18 left in the period, and were completely toothless in all three zones. The Devils weren't particularly dangerous either, creating only three scoring chances at 5v5, but their ability to completely stifle Philadelphia was more than enough to dominate the period.
The vast majority of the Devils' pressure came on their only power play of the period, as they blasted three shots at Michal Neuvirth in less than a minute and beat him on the third, via a slick move by Joseph Blandisi that fooled Neuvirth on the short side. There were few sign of life from the home team as they headed to their locker room down 1-0.
Philadelphia's offense improved in the second period, but despite increased shots on net, the Devils were able to keep the game at their preferred slog in terms of tempo. There was very little space for either team to maneuver, which resulted in the majority of the period bottled up in the neutral zone. Still, the Flyers found a way to get 16 shots on Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, but could not put one past him. Shayne Gostisbehere was the standout, and his electric plays created Philadelphia's best chances in the period. It wasn't enough, however, as Philadelphia found themselves with only twenty minutes left to salvage even a point from the divisional battle.
Luckily for the Flyers, they have Shayne Gostisbehere. The young defenseman tied the game early in the third period on the power play, ripping a shot from the point past Schneider to tie the game and extend his league-leading points streak to 11 games. Following Gostisbehere's tenth goal of the year, Philadelphia took full control. While they were unable to break the tie in regulation, they peppered Schneider with 13 shots in the final period while allowing only three to the Devils. But the Devils goalie stood tall, forcing the overtime that would prove to be the Flyers' demise.
Questions to Answer:
- So, like, are the Devils actually good? That is not an overly impressive roster but they've stuck in the thick of things in the Metro. How do the Flyers match up with them today? The Devils imposed their preferred tempo on the Flyers for the majority of the game. Even during the third period when Philadelphia dominated in shots on goal, it was pretty choppy at even strength.
- Does R.J. Umberger follow up his triumphant return to the score sheet with anything of note? (And if he's back in the press box, how does his replacement do?) The Umberger-Weal-Gagner line finished with a 25% Corsi For percentage. That's bad.
- How many needless penalties do the Flyers take today, since that's been a thing lately? Nick Schultz and Wayne Simmonds did take needless penalties, but both were fairly weak calls. The Simmonds interference penalty seemed especially questionable, and looked more like incidental contact at the blue line.
- The Brayden Schenn/Nick Cousins line has had a pretty strong week, and they were especially good on Thursday with Michael Raffl. Today? They had their moments on the cycle, and generated some quality chances, but no goals this time.
- Does Shayne Gostisbehere become the sole leader of the Flyers' rookie point streak record? YES. With a classic Ghost bomb from the point on the power play to tie the game, too. Never let it be said that Gostisbehere lacks a flair for the dramatic.
Comment of the Night:
Half man, half bear, half ghost.