Flyers Fan Reactions (FFR1) Gm 51: PHI 3, BOS 2 (OT) - Up to the Rask
Enter Sanman, baby!
Now halfway to a dozen straight, the Philadelphia Flyers WIN, 3-2, in OT, over the Bastan Bruins. Yes, that's how they say it Bastan. I hope they were impressed by Cah-tah Hart.
I honestly don't know what is going on with this team. Last year was a roller coaster where the team went from world beaters to pee-wee at breakneck pace. This year has been half "we can't win a game against a high school team" and half "already let's just play the all-star team already."
Thankfully the Flyers are in the latter half of those two states right now, although as I mentioned Tuesday, things haven't always looked like that during this streak. The Flyers have been outshot heavily quite a few times over this stretch, only dominating play against inferior teams like... Winnipeg. And now the Bruins.
Yeah this team still doesn't make any sense.
This game began eerily similar to the last time these two teams met right before the bye week. Boston got an early power play, and made good on it with a perfect cross-seam pass by Torey Krug to (soon to be at this point) 30-goal man David Pastrnak (yeah, already), giving the Bruins the early lead. While the Flyers PK has been better of late, Boston's power play is 2nd in the league for a reason, and they made the Flyers pay.
Thankfully, Philadelphia has some superstar talent of their own. Captain Claude gave a lethargic first period a dramatic ending, taking a perfect Jake Voracek stretch pass in alone on Tuukka Rask. The captain beat Rask with a head-fake and a glove-side wrister, improbably knotting the game going into 1st intermission.
Giroux's goal seemed to be a message to his teammates to pick up their play, and they followed suit. After a bit of a slow start, the Flyers dominated the middle portion of the game, highlighted by an 17-7 edge on the 2nd period shotclock. Unfortunately, the Bruins scored the only goal of the middle stanza. Noted Flyers killer David Pastrnak tipped home a Bergeron wrist shot, officially hitting the 30-goal mark.
Try as they might, it seemed that Rask was on his way to a shutdown back-half of the game. Rask made several great saves on chances from Konecny, Simmonds, and even made a penalty shot save on Scott Laughton mid-way through the 3rd. Yet the Flyers got a power play of their own at the halfway point of the 3rd, still in search of the game-tying goal. They found it, not from an Oskar Lindbomb, but from OSKAR LINDBLOM, who tipped a perfect pass from Voracek off Kevin Miller and in. Yes, that is a PPG for the Flyers, to tie the game 2-2.
While this was probably one of the Flyers most complete games in recent memories, their first and last 5 minutes of regulation were poor. Boston came at the Flyers with everything they had, trying to secure another heartbreaking loss for the Flyers. Did you know the Flyers have surrendered a lead-changing goal in the final 2 minutes of regulation FIVE times in the last 4 years for the Bruins? Including twice last year?
Well, they have. So excuse all of Flyers nation as we collectively held our breaths, praying that list wouldn't have another entry. In fairness, it should have. With just under 3 minutes to go, the Bruins pulled off the rare feat of getting Carter Hart to lose his net. David Krejci passed it to the middle, Danton Heinen had a wide-open net... and forgot the puck. Literally. That, and some big saves from Hart down the stretch, were the only reasons this game made it to overtime.
I happened to notice Brad Marchand and Travis Konecny jawing a bit at the end of the 3rd period. Marchand appeared to be upset (probably because TK wouldn't let him lick him), and appeared to ask the ref for a penalty. He got one 54 seconds later, but it wasn't the one he wanted. Marchand tripped up a charging Konecny in neutral zone, sending the Flyers to a rare 4-on-3 power play.
With time winding down on the precious man advantage, the Flyers second unit somehow managed to get set up. Yes, the second unit is doing positive things, I repeat, the second unit isn't messing up. After another Rask save, Sean Couturier directed traffic from the center point, handing the puck off to Travie Sanheim.
Drifting, drifting, shot... score!
Travie Sanheim putting that thing up where momma hides the cookies! Good night, good hockey, great shot by Sanheim, ending his 100th career NHL game with a bang.
This would have been such a deflating game to lose. After winning so many games recently where they've been outplayed, were they really going to lose the one they finally had the better of play? For 50 minutes, it sure seemed that way. But there is a new feeling of confidence that surrounds the Flyers. One that makes you feel confident that they're going to find a way to win. It may not last forever, but for now, let's enjoy the ride. The Flyers are within 9 points of the last playoff spot, somehow. They're not gonna make it, barring a miracle. But now, they're finally fun to watch.
Starter Hart wasn't perfect tonight - his rebound control was a little shaky, and he looked more frinetic in net than usual. That being said, he made some big saves down the stretch and was a key part of the win. He was also named the NHL's rookie of the month, posting a 6-2-1 record with a .931 SV% and 2.33 GAA. Well deserved.
Hart also made some history in this one, becoming the 10th different goaltender in NHL history to record a personal win streak of 5+ five games before celebrating his 21st birthday. The last guy to do that? Some scrub named Carey Price, who won 7 straight back in 2008.
Just like the other Travie (who has also done it in game 200), Sanheim scores in his 100th game. And you thought they weren't the same player.
Sanheim becomes the first Flyers defenseman not named Shayne Gostisbehere to score in overtime since Michael Del Zotto beat the Wild back on January 7th, 2016.
I wasn't kidding when I said Pastrnak is now a Flyers killer - he's got 9 goals in 13 career games against Philadelphia.
Couple interesting decisions tonight from Scott Gordon. First, he reunited the Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line that dominated at the beginning of last season. They looked pretty good again tonight, and connected on the Flyers first goal.
The other move was calling his timeout right before the 4-on-3 power play. We all know how conserative Dave Hakstol was with his timeouts, so it's good to see Gordon not being afraid to use it when the chance presents itself.
The captain gets the POG helmet tonight for his breakaway tally and all-around solid play.
1st - T. Sanheim (PHI) - 1 G
2nd - D. Pastrnak (BOS) - 2 G
3rd - T. Rask (BOS) - .927 SV% (38 Saves/41 Shots)
PHI - 2/2 @ EDM (23-24-7)
BOS - 2/3 @ WSH (27-17-6)