Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 52: EDM 4, PHI 5 (OT) - Nolan's Revenge
They just can't lose.
For the lucky number SEVENTH, yes SEVENTH time in a row, the Philadelphia Flyers WIN, 5-4 in overtime, over the Ed-money Oilers! And I now what you're thinking - the Flyers are now 2-0 against Brandon Manning!
Yes, that's what you're thinking about. Not how the Flyers just pulled another improbable comeback out of their butts, turning a dominant Edmonton performance early into yet another dramatic victory. Not that Carter Hart just won his 6th straight game. Not that the power play scored four times today after going 3/29 in their previous 10 games. Not how the Flyers are just 7 points out of a playoff spot (although Columbus, who holds the last spot, has 2 games in hand).
Like most games during this streak, the Flyers didn't really feel like they were playing anywhere close to good enough to win. Against an Edmonton team playing their first game in 10 days, this was simply unacceptable. Philadelphia somehow struck first off a beautiful combination play that resulted in a PPG from Sean Couturier, his 20th of the year. But the Flyers bad habits caught up to them, as goals from Ty Rattie and Connor McDavid ensured the Oilers wouldn't waste an 18-7 outshooting of the Flyers in the 1st.
Scott Gordon has generally been pretty good at getting the Flyers to turn things around, either at intermission or via timeout. But he was unable to work his magic to start the 2nd. Once again, the Flyers were dominated in possession and caught running around in their own zone. Adam Larsson scored a dagger of a goal after he got lost in coverage just 4 minutes into the frame, putting the Oilers in the drivers seat.
But as the period wore on, we started to remember that, oh yeah, this is the Oilers. Or as the hockey world knows them, the Edmonton McDavids feat. one of the worst cap situations in the league. One of those overpaid players, their goalie, Cam Talbot, was particularly at fault for the Flyers second goal. With time winding down on another Philadelphia power play, Claude Giroux fired a relatively stoppable slap shot from the right point. Somehow the puck leaked underneath Talbot's left pad into the back of the net, suddenly capatulting the Flyers right back into the game. One big Carter Hart save later, Philadelphia took all of the momentum into the locker room.
To their credit, the Flyers turned that momentum into another power play just 3 minutes in. Unfortunately, Zack Kassian turned a Ghost turnover into a breakaway goal, beating Hart with a fairly stoppable shot to seemingly put the nail in the coffin.
And 27 seconds later we were once again reminded that the Flyers are still playing the Oilers. With a scramble in front of Cam Talbot ensuing, Oskar Lindblom tipped the puck to a wide-open TK, who buried a... second unit power play goal? That's a thing we can do now? Man, I knew they were hot, just not ready to do something they've about once in the last calendar year.
The rest of the game was a reflection of how things have changed during this winning streak. Earlier this season, TK's 4-3 goal would've been viewed as merely false hope. Somehow, Philadelphia would've found a way to mess things up down the stretch and lost. But during this stretch, a wave of optomism has overtaken the Flyers and their fanbase. I can't speak for you, but when Konecny scored, it felt like a matter of when, not if, the Flyers would tie things up.
Of course for that to happen (at least today) the Flyers were going to need to get back on the power play. Thankfully, Zack Kassian was feeling gulity about that short-handed goal, and decided to high-stick Sean Couturier as compensation. With the Flyers back on their red hot man advantage, the goal was simply to get the puck to the front and hope Cam Talbot messed up. Honestly, a pretty safe bet. And sure enough, the Wayne Train pulled back into the goal-scoring station, firing a rebound through Talbot's wickets to (somehow) even the score.
While most times after tying up a game against a non-conference opponent late the game just fizzles into overtime, the Flyers were not content with letting that happen. Despite having won in OT on Thursday, the Flyers are still just 2-6 in the extra session, and would have to combat Connor McDavid, now with extra ice for him to burn you on! So Philadelphia made their push. With less than 15 seconds to go, Nolan, Wayne, and Oskar were each stopped point-blank by Talbot in rapid succession, with Patrick frusturatingly skying a last second shot over a down-and-out Talbot. Despite a valliant push, this game was still going beyond 60 minutes.
Thankfully, the Flyers won the opening faceoff of overtime and were therefore able to prevent McDavid from ever possessing the puck. Edmonton as a team was never able to do much. 2 minutes in to 3-on-3 play, a heroic effort by JVR kept a play at the right boards alive. Travis Sanheim missed the net with a wrist shot, but van Riemsdyk, from his knees, forced the puck back in front. The way things had gone, it was either gonna be Scott Laughton or Nolan Patrick scoring the game-winner.
And we're all out of Scott Laughton.
So that ROSY-CHEEKED SNIPER NOLAN PATRICK got loose at the same spot as the end of the 3rd, and this time, made no mistake, stashing home his first career overtime goal. This team is more than just alright, they are the hottest club in the National Hockey League, and they have now won 7 straight games.
I could go on another cautionary monlogue about how the Flyers are still too far back to make a serious push, but you know what, forget it. Honestly, at this point, why not? Hockeyviz.com's model projects 92 points as the number to get to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While that's a generous number considering the last team to make the playoffs with 92 points or fewer was the 2013-14 Dallas Stars (91), it's not impossible. Getting to that number would require an 18-8-4 (.667 points%) from the Flyers. That's not easy, but also not impossible. The odds still aren't in their favor - and likely never will be for the rest of this season - but the Flyers are finally making progress. And it's a wonderful sight to see.
The Flyers may have gotten the win, but several Oilers players were thankful they were playing Philly today. Ty Rattie broke a 21-game goalless drought in first ever game against Philly. Meanwhile, Adam Larsson scored his 2nd goal of the season, his first since 12/14/18 against... the Flyers.
Carter Hart could probably work on his breakaway skills a little more, but overall, another solid game for Starter. His 40 saves today were a career-high.
Hart is also the first Flyers rookie since Sergei Bobrovsky back in 2010-11 to win 6 straight games (Bob did it twice). The all-time record for that is held by Bob Froese at 12. Can Starter catch up to him? I don't see why not.
The Flyers scored four power play goals for the first time in one game since December 13th, 2008.
Claude Giroux played in his 790th NHL game today, tying Brian Propp for the 3rd most games played in Flyers history.
Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the Flyers lineup today and looked pretty solid, recording a primary assist on Giroux's goal.
What a fire wagon change in momentum for Patrick. Stoned at the end of the regulation, Patrick threw his stick down the hallway in frusturation. Just a few minutes later, he scored the OT winner, and was rewarded with the POG helmet for his heroics.
NHL.com says Mikhail Vorobyev had 2:50 of ice-time today but to be honest, I didn't even see him. Granted, fellow fourth-liner Phil Varone only had 4:18. But so far, Vorobyev has been a complete non-factor in his 2nd NHL stint. He has played a lot between the AHL and NHL over the last two weeks, so maybe essentially getting the day off could benefit him going forward.
Not only was the power play phenominal in this one, but the PK went a perfect 3/3 as well. The Flyers have lost so many games because of their special teams and goaltending so far this season, but those two were the reason they won this one today.
If the Flyers were in the Western Conference they'd be tied for the last playoff spot right now. Think about that.
1st - N. Patrick (PHI) - 1 G
2nd - C. McDavid (EDM) - 1 G, 1 A
3rd - C. Hart (PHI) - .909 SV% (40 Saves/44 Shots)
EDM - 2/3 @ MTL (28-18-6)
PHI - 2/4 vs. VAN (23-22-6)