Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 16: ARI 4, PHI 5 (OT) - Mostly Ghostly
Halloween might've been a few weeks ago but that was a pretty good roller coaster costume, Flyers.
And like all good roller coasters, the end was the best part, and that was true in the Philadelphia Flyers WIN, 5-4, in OT, over the Arizona Coyotes. Just the way we expected.
Which of course means they won in the most unexpected way possible.
The Flyers have a knack for forgetting things, often how to play hockey. For most of the season it's been forgetting how to start games on time. But the Flyers remembered to bring that home with them from Arizona. Just 1:18 into the game, Travis Konecny turned an incredible give and go with G into a breakaway, and beat Darcy Keumper with a backhander to start the scoring for their 5th straight game. But they didn't stop there. Jori Lehtera off all people made a perfect cross ice pass to Scott Laughton. For whatever reason Laughts didn't one-time it, and therefore appeared to lose his chance to score. But a smooth spinning backhander slid through Keumper's legs and gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead for the 2nd straight game. What a start!
Do I even need to tell you what happened next?
The Coyotes tying the game was somewhat predictable. An OEL power-play goal through a screen and a snipe from Brad Richardson of all people (probably a goal Cal Pickard would like back) tied the game up. But then the Flyers headed to the power play with a chance to take the lead, and what do you know, they scored 2 goals!
Wait a second, I thought that was just a minor...
Shayne Gostisbehere couldn't settle down a bouncing puck at the blue line and then went back to get the puck at center, as one does. Only one problem - the linesman was in the way. And before Ghost could get the puck back, Derek Stepan came sweeping on in and Stepaned the Flyers throats with a short-handed goal. 3-2 Coyotes. Sigh.
But the Flyers are still on the power play, you think. They can come right back and tie things up. It's not like they're going to give up 2 goals on the same power play, right?
THEY GAVE UP 2 GOALS ON THE SAME POWER PLAY.
Michael Grabner took advantage of a bouncing puck this time, muscled off Jake Voracek, and elevated a backhander over Pickard for the Coyotes's 9th short-handed goal of the season. Goalie change, timeout. At least Hak did something for once in the face of adversity, but this just felt like another wasted opportunity for the Flyers to take control of their season.
But the things is, it was still a 2 goal game, the same deficit the Flyers faced going into their last home game, that 6-1 drubbing against the Islanders. This game easily could've gone that same way. But the Flyers fought back.
Once again, it was the bottom-6 getting involved, with a Scott Laughton shot creating a scramble in front of Keumper. It looked like Dale Weise was going to jam it in, but after his shot was blocked, Laughton himself found the loose puck and buried another backhander, his 6th goal of the season (he had 10 last year), to cut the lead to one.
Philadelphia continued to fight back, but their efforts for most of the 3rd were stoned by Keumper. Until the 2:13 mark. The usually reliable Oliver Ekman-Larsson shanked a pass right to Shayne Gostisbehere, who was looking for redemption. And all of that lead to... wait does anyone else hear Pursuit of Happiness?
BECAUSE BY GAWD THAT'S DALE WEISE'S MUSIC!
Dale the Snail couldn't even pull free of OEL for what should have been a clear cut breakaway, but still evelated the puck over Keumper and miracuously tied the game 4-4! Somehow, someway, the Flyers came back, and brought the game to overtime.
And once overtime started they didn't get scored on 15 seconds in so they're making progress from their last time in OT against the Sharks.
Which is kinda funny if you think about it, because the Flyers played a lot like the Sharks did in that game. Philadelphia largely controlled play in this game, like San Jose did, but a few bad bounces looked like it would cost them until a late goal tied the game in the final 5 minutes, giving them a chance to win it in the extra frame.
And sure enough, just like Timo Meier in that game last week, the Ghost Bear freed himself up for a Ghost BOMB that no goalie nor linesman could stop. He's got 99 problems but scoring OT winners and doing ALL of the fist pumps ain't ones! Good night, good hockey, bad process, good result for the Flyers, who earn a point in their 5th straight game. What looked like another frusturating Flyers collapse turned into a wave of euphoria for the entire team to experience, and maybe a building block for their season.
Regular .500 again! In fact, the Flyers jump over hockey .500 for the first time since their 1st game of the year.
Sorry if this breakdown wasn't as deep as usual - I'm away for the weekend so wasn't able to see this game (or Saturday's) in full.
I usually stick to sports in these articles, but it's important we talk politics, the important issues in the world, you know? No, not that CNN reporter that got thrown out of the White House, who cares about him? Gritty apparently got write-in votes in 46 states, including 69 THOUSAND (nice) for Pennsylvania governor! Don't let anyone tell you what you can't be, kids.
You could tell the Flyers were into last night, as was the crowd. The Flyers had some big cellys after their 3rd, 4th, and especially 5th goals, with Ghost doing about 7 fist pumps and the entire bench (even Hakstol!) jumping for joy when Ghost ended the game. Hakstol even laughed at himself in his post game interview when he used the word "gritty" to describe his team's performance. Refreshing for sure.
Weise's goal snapped a 30-game goalless drought for him. Weise has been surprisingly effective this season, finally looking like the player that Ron Hextall told us he was signing. Not sure having him out with 2:13 left down 1 is the best idea, but I guess it worked out.
9 straight games with a power play goal given up. The tally grows.
A lot of the negative talk towards coaches has been directed at Dave Hakstol and Ian Lapperriere so far, and duely. But is it time to direct some at Kris Knoblauch? In about a year and a quarter, Knoblauch has failed to improve the 2nd unit or the Flyers short-handed goals against problem. He's newer than the other two guys, but he needs to start making a positive impact.
In fact, with the firing of Joel Quenneville, Dave Hakstol is the 4th longest tenured head coach in the NHL.
James van Riemsdyk was practicing in a regular jersey this week, but is still about a week away from returning. Hopefully he'll be back by the end of this homestand.
Tonight was the 2nd time this year (10/16 vs. Florida) the Flyers have pulled their goalie and still won the game, with Brian Elliott stopping 16 of 16 as Cal Pickard failed to continue his chance to usurp Michal Neuvirth as backup. The Flyers hadn't done so before this year since 10/25/2016, when the Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit against Buffalo after pulling Neuvirth for Steve Mason. Philadelphia won 4-3 in a shootout.
The Flyers sweep their season series against Arizona with Wednesday's win, the first time they've done that against this season (in fairness, the only season series' they've finished are Vegas and San Jose). They swept Toronto, Edmonton, and St. Louis last year.
Oskar Lindblom extended his point streak to 5 games with a secondary assist on Laughton's 2nd goal, but Nolan Patrick's 4-game point streak came to an end.
Scott Laughton responded to a meh road trip with his 3rd career 2 goal game, the 3rd of his young career. He's got 6 goals in 16 games, which puts him on about a 31 goal pace. I highly dought he'll reach that mark, but maybe he's not as big a bust as we once thought. In fact, he got the helmet for his performance, the first player to win it twice.
Last year the Flyers came back from a 3-1 deficit at home against the Coyotes with 2 goals in the final minute to tie the game, but still lost the game in overtime. This is exactly the kind of game you can run with, especially since it starts a long homestand. Last year this time the Flyers were 8-6-2, but about to start their 10 game losing streak. Let's see if the Flyers can do better.
1st - S. Laughton (PHI) - 2 G
2nd - O. Ekman-Larsson (ARI) - 1 G, 1 A
3rd - D. Weise (PHI) - 1 G, 1 A
ARI - 10/10 @ PIT (6-5-3)
PHI - 10/10 vs. CHI (6-7-3)