FFR2 Gm 27: PHI 4, MTL 3 (OT) - Coast to Boast
More like Provtreal, am I right?
The Philadelphia Flyers WIN their fourth straight game to close out one of their best Novembers in franchise history, handing the Montreal Canadiens their 7th straight loss with a 4-3 overtime victory.
The Flyers got a little lucky in this game. Ok, maybe more than a little. Like their shootout win a few weeks ago in Boston, this game looked like a scheduled loss. The Flyers were playing their second afternoon contest in as many days, their fourth game in six days overall. Granted, the Canadiens were ice cold, entering Saturday on a six-game losing streak. But when Brian Elliott let an unscreened wrist shot from barely inside the right circle by Joel Armia leak through him and in, it seemed like this could be a long afternoon.
After taking and killing a penalty less than a minute after the Armia goal, the Flyers began to find their legs as the period progressed. By the time the second period began, it was clear the Flyers were right in this game. The Flyers had a solid 55% Corsi, therefore winning the shot attempt battle, in the second period at even-strength, their highest of any period Saturday afternoon.
But unless you tuned into the right 90 second window just before the midpoint of the frame, you didn't see much on the scoresheet. With 7:47 elapsed in the period, Justin Braun launched a quick shot that appeared to beat Kinkaid clean, but upon further review was tipped in by Oskar Lindblom. Tomas Tatar scored practically while the Flyers were stilling celebrating, jamming home a rebound goal 27 seconds later. And before the Habs could finish playing their goal song, Joel Farabee made a beautiful pass from the left boards all the way to the slot, where Kevin Hayes turned and burned and beat Kinkaid to tie the game once again!
The Flyers took a penalty late in the 2nd, but a 10-bell glove save from Brian Elliott ensured the Flyers would begin the 3rd period even. From there, it didn't take long for the deadlock to be broken. Alain Vigneault mixed up the Flyers lines to begin the 3rd, leading to a 3-on-2 with Giroux, TK, and Michael Raffl. Somehow, a line that has literally never played before had enough chemistry to make a STEM kid happy, as they executed a tic-tac-goal play, with Giroux finding Konecny for a booming one-timer from the left side of the ice, giving the Flyers their first lead of the game!
Unfortunately, just a few minutes after that goal, Ivan Provorov took a questionable tripping penalty that completely tilted the game in Montreal's favor. It was probably inevitable with the fatigue the Flyers aforementioned tough schedule brings. But it became notable right when Tomas Tatar rifled a shot top shelf after receiving a perfect cross-ice from Nick Suzuki. From that point out, the Habs were absolutely dominate, holding an Expected Goals For% of nearly 75% in the 3rd period.
The only reason the game didn't end after 60 minutes is because Brian Elliott decided to put the team on his back. Elliott more than made up for his rough start and then some, robbing Tatar on a backhander in tight and then stoning Armia with 10 seconds left, bailing out Matt Niskanen after a turnover. Elliott wasn't one of the three stars, but he probably should've been, stopping 39 of the 42 shots he faced.
So far, the Flyers haven't been bad this year in overtime - after all, they haven't lost a game in 3-on-3. But they've also struggled to close games out, needing a shootout on all but one occasion when the game has gone past 60 minutes. With that in mind, I don't know if Ivan Provorov wanted to get on the plane early, or if he was running late for a dinner reservation, or if he just wanted to get this game over with, but he turned into the reincarnation of legendary Habs defenseman Larry Robinson in overtime.
It started fairly innocently, with Provorov carrying the puck from his own zone to the Montreal line. However, Provorov identified Max Domi, a forward, defending him and decided to take a chance. If one fluid motion, Provy put the puck between his legs, kicked it to his skate, cut from right to left and sniped on Keith Kinkaid-oh my gosh, Ivan, don't do 'em like that! A goal so good I'm not sure any words could hardly do it justice. So I'll let the video do that instead.
Right now, the Flyers are playing as good as anyone in the NHL. They led the entire NHL in points in November with 24. They're going to end the month between 5th and 8th in the entire NHL. Alain Vigneault has this team playing pretty close to their maximum potential, and it's a glorious sight to see. Don't let us stop believing, Flyers, now that you've let us see just how bright the future could be.
This is the fourth time in franchise history the Flyers have had 24 points in the month of November, and the first since 1990 (1985 and 1975 were the other years).
I try not to complain about referees too much, but it seems like today's crew was exceptionally bad. And it went both ways, too. There was one play off-camera where apparently a Flyer (I believe) Pitlick was being punched and cross-checked, causing Jim Jackson to scream in disbelief that nothing was called. Several other trips and hooks were missed, including one on Phil Myers (who returned
today, replacing Robert Hagg) that could've resulted in a penalty shot.
Montreal has really struggled in the extra session this season, both against the Flyers (0-2) and the league as a whole (1-5 in games decided in 3-on-3).
After starting the year red-hot, Travis Konecny's magic touch had cooled off before this game. This was his first goal in ten games.
Speaking of slump-breaking goal, Kevin Hayes' tally, his third in the last four games, was the 100th of his NHL career.
Per NHL PR, Provorov scored his seventh game-winning goal today, passing Behn Wilson for the most by a Flyers defenseman 22 or younger.
POG Helmet Standings Update!
Raff, Steady Eddie Nisky, Moose - 2
TK, Starter, JVR, Lindy, Coots, Phil, Frosty, Jake, Pitlick - 1
1st - Ivan Provorov (PHI) - OT Winner, 55% Corsi For
2nd - Joel Armia (MTL) - 1 Goal, Game-High 9 SOG
3rd - Travis Konecny (PHI) - 1 Goal
PHI - 12/3 vs. TOR (12-11-4, L1)
MTL - 12/1 @ BOS (18-3-5, W6)
Advanced Stats from Naturalstattrick.com
Thumbnail Photo: Graham Hughes