Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 69: OTT 2, PHI 3 - Three Me
THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS WIN 3-2 OVER THE OTTAWA SENATORS AND ARE NOW 3 POINTS BACK OF A PLAYOFF SPOT IS THIS REAL LIFE???
Thanks to a 2-0 Blue Jackets loss to the Isles and a dominant effort against the Sens that the scoreboard didn't quite reflect, the Flyers have creeped to within 3 points of the final playoff spot. This 15-22-6, last-place, no hope, no goaltending team. 3 points back.
But things didn't come up rosy for the entire game. Far from it, actually. First of all, Jake Voracek was actually suspended 2 games for that reverse hit on Johnny Boychuk, meaning AMac came back into the lineup instead of another forward. Then, despite a good start to the game in terms of puck possession, the Flyers were outshot 5-0 to start. And the 5th shot from... Bryce Harp-no, Ben Harpur, was tipped in by Chris Tierney for the game's first goal.
Thankfully, the Flyers didn't panic. By the end of the first period, it was clear that they were the better team. Thanks to their massive sale at the deadline, the Senators barely look like an NHL team on paper, and didn't look much better on the ice. The Flyers were bigger, faster, and stronger than the Sens, and it didn't look particularly close. Even though they were still trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, it seemed like a matter of time before the Flyers took control.
It didn't take long. Just over 2 minutes into the 2nd, the Flyers evened the game not via a strong attacking play, but basically on pure luck. Shayne Gostisbehere channeled his inner Cody Parkey and fired a point shot that double-doinked off Sean Couturier, then Oskar Lindblom, and past Craig Anderson to tie the game.
With their frusturations of not scoring now alleviated, the Flyers really opened things up. While the Flyers dominated play throughout, the 2nd period was clearly their best, as they outshot the Senators 15-5. But once again, it wasn't a skilled play that got the puck past Anderson. Instead, a tenacious forecheck from Nolan Patrick took the puck away from the Ottawa defense. From there, Patty fed a perfect centering pass to the Austrian Rocket Michael Raffl, who redirected the puck past Anderson to give Philly the lead.
And the Flyers still weren't done. Some good work in the neutral zone led to a 4-on-2 Flyers rush in the final 40 seconds of the 2nd. From there, a beautiful passing play from TK to Raffl back to TK and then cross-ice to Scotty Laughts connected, as Laughton beat Anderson short-side for his 11th goal of the season, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead going into the 3rd.
As they have been doing more and more under Gordon, the Flyers didn't turtle to protect their lead in the 3rd. Instead, they controlled play, were even in shots, and got the best chance of the frame when Laughton was stopped on a breakaway. Filip Chlapik made things interesting with a goal with 2:57 to go (his first in the NHL, go figure). However, a Zack Smith tripping penalty with 2:01 left pretty much sealed the deal. Philly held on, and earned another 2 points in the standings. And all of a sudden, this impossible dream from 2 months ago now seems just that much more realistic.
Are. You. Ready.
There wasn't really a Flyer that had a bad game Monday night. Everyone on the Flyers outmatched the Sens at basically every turn. In all 3 zones, the Flyers were by far the better team. Anderson was the better of the two netminders, but Elliott played a good game too.
With a primary helper on Lindy's goal, elite 1st line center Sean Couturier extends his point streak to 5 games (6 points - 2 G, 4 A in that stretch).
Monday was also TK's birthday! His present was a primary assist on Laughton's goal.
The only thing that went wrong last night from a scoreboard watching standpoint was that Carolina beat Colorado 3-0. That means the first wild card spot in the East is now at 83 points (held by the Pens). While just making the playoffs would be amazing, if the Flyers could find a way to get to that spot and avoid the Lightning round 1, well, let's just say that'd make things a bit more interesting.
Starter Hart wasn't the starter Monday night, but he did back up for Ells, and is expected to see action during the Flyers Thursday-Friday back-to-back.
Jake Voracek is appealing his 2-game suspension. His appeal will be heard by Gary Bettman in NYC tomorrow. If the NHL is you know, feeling competent tomorrow, hopefully it gets reduced to 1 game.
Tonight was Raffl's 400th game in the NHL, all of them with the Flyers, so it was nice to see him get a goal. Much like Matt Read, Raffl has been a good soldier for the last 6 years, doing a lot of things to help his club. If he leaves in the offseason, it's been a good run. For now, he's much needed depth for the playoff push.
The Austrain Rocket also got the POG helmet from Gudi for his efforts.
Michael Raffl - Robocop. Aka Michael Robocopfl.
1st - M. Raffl (PHI) - 1 G, 1 A
2nd - S. Laughton (PHI) - 1 G
3rd - S. Couturier (PHI) - 1 A
OTT - 3/14 vs. STL (36-25-7)
PHI - 3/14 vs. WSH (41-21-7)