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The Philadelphia Flyers really know how to make games/win-streaks interesting. They go from an offensive show against the New York Rangers on Sunday with a 7-4 win, to an OT thriller tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers (31-19-10) faced off against a struggling Montreal Canadiens (22-29-8). A game where the Flyers needed as they continue the push for the number 1 seed in the Metropolitan Division. A win tonight was also needed because of the news Flyers have been dealing with the past couple days. Besides acquiring Petr Mrazek on Monday night, the Flyers were dealt two big injuries. We found how long Michael Neuvirth will be out for, 4-6 week (LBI), and now Wayne Simmonds will miss 2-3 weeks with an upper body injury. The news about Simmonds forced the Flyers called up, rookie, Oskar Lindblom for his 1st career NHL game. This game saw starting goaltenders, Alex Lyon in his 3rd start for the Flyers and Carey Price for the Canadiens.
The Flyers came into this game against a struggling Canadiens team. The Canadiens were 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. The beginning of the game showed us why, as the Flyers came out aggressive. They kept putting the puck on the net and did a great job keeping it in the Montreal zone. But, unlike the 6-goal 1st period against the Rangers, this opening period was defensive show. The only thing similar about the two opening periods was, for the Flyers, the opposing team scored first. Actually, the Flyers giving up the first goal has been a reoccurring thing as of late. Except, this first goal of the game didn’t come until late in the period. The Canadiens were able to bring the puck into the Flyers’ zone and they sent it towards the net to only be deflected into the goal. At 17:47 into the period, Jeff Petry (9), was able to deflect a shot from the point to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. Karl Alzner (9) and Charles Hudson (14) got the helpers on Petry’s goal. The period ended 1-0 lead for the Canadiens with the shot total being, 10-8 in favor of the Flyers.
The 2nd period started just as the 1st period did, defensive. But, then at 6:41, Canadiens’ Jordie Benn was called for an interference penalty against Travis Konecny sending the Flyers to the first powerplay of the game. Usually, Simmonds is on the 1st powerplay unit but, because of his injury we saw Nolan Patrick move up to the first unit. Then, 37 seconds into the powerplay saw Shayne Gostisbehere charge into the zone with the puck. He dropped it back to Jakub Voracek, who was at the point, then Voracek passed across to Claude Giroux, who then passed it to Nolan Patrick (7) who tipped in to score his 1st career powerplay goal to tie the game at 1-1. Giroux (50) and Voracek (55) got the assists on the goal. Shortly after the goal, Brandon Manning got into his 4th fight this season against Nicolas Deslauriers. At 10:35 into the period, Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen tripped up Scott Laughton to give the Flyers their second powerplay of the game, but were unable to do anything with it. The period ended with the score tied 1-1 with a shot total of 13-12 in favor of the Canadiens.
When tied after 2 periods the Flyers are 6-4-3 this season. As for the Canadiens, when tied after 2 periods are 5-5-8. The 3rd period started just like the first two periods, you guessed it, a defensive battle. Until, almost halfway through the period 8:45 in, saw a little tic-tac-toe action to pull Lyon out of position leaving Paul Byron (14) out in front to score giving the Canadiens a 2-1 lead. Tomas Plekanec (17) and Brendan Gallagher (14) got the helpers on the go-ahead goal. For the rest of the period it was shot after shot, save after save, with the Flyers still down one goal. With less than two minutes left, Lyon looking towards the bench, the Flyers gained possession and headed up the ice. The Flyers pulled Lyon. At the other end, Sean Couturier did an excellent job and moving the puck and just as Lyon got to the bench to give the Flyers the extra attacker, Couturier passed it to Voracek, who shot the puck and scored with 1:25 left in the game. Voracek’s 12th goal of the season tied the game 2-2. Couturier (31) and Gostisbehere (36) got the assists. The Flyers held off the Canadiens to bring the game to overtime. The end of the 3rd period saw a shot total of 8-6 in favor of the Flyers.
So, at this point in the standing the Flyers hold the 3rd overall spot in the Metropolitan Division but, are tied with the New Jersey Devils who hold the number 1 wildcard spot, both with 70 points. The Flyers are also 5 points behind the 1st place Washington Capitals. Both, the Capitals and Devils played tonight as well. The Capitals played the Lightning and the Devils played the Blue Jackets. The Capitals lost 4-2 and the Devils lost 2-1 both, in regulation. So, going to overtime gives the Flyers a point advantage over the Devils and brings them within 4 of the Capitals. With this being the case, it makes that extra point so much more valuable to the Flyers.
Going into the overtime period the Flyers, in the 3 on 3 overtime, have a record of 7-5. The Canadiens have a record of 3-4 in the 3 on 3 overtime. The Flyers dominated most on the OT period giving the Canadiens only one real chance with possession of the puck. Then, Valtteri Filppula got the puck and passed it to Gostisbehere, who then passed it to Voracek. Voracek cut across to the middle of the ice and shot the puck. As quickly as he tied the game was as quickly as he ended the game. Once Voracek shot the puck it went into the net and the Flyers won the game. 1:25 into the OT period Voracek (13) scored his second of the night with help from Gostisbehere (37), for his second assist of the night, and Filppula (17). The OT period ended with a shot total of 3-0 in favor of the Flyers. The total number of shots in the game was 33-27, also in favor of the Flyers. Voracek was hands down the player of the game, scoring the game tying goal and the game winning goal. The game winning goal was Voracek’s 9th career OT goal and it also made it his 18th 2+ goal game. After having a 1-5 OT record this season, the Flyers have won 7 straight OT games. This game also giving Alex Lyon his second win of the season. In the past two games Lyon has given up 3 goals on a total of 53 shots which is pretty impressive.
This was the second of three meetings between the two teams, which the Flyers have already won the season series by winning the first two. Their third and final meeting will be on trade deadline day, February 26th. The Flyers next game will be on Thursday February 22nd against Metropolitan Division rival, Columbus Blue Jackets (30-25-5). A little less than a week ago the Flyers played the Blue Jackets and won 2-1 in overtime. This will be the 3rd out of 4 meetings between the two teams. Once again this is another important game, as the Flyers gained 2 points over the Devils and are now only 2 points behind 2nd place Pittsburgh Penguins with a game in hand. They are also now, 3 points behind the 1st place Washington Capitals.
With all of that out of the way there are now a few questions Flyers’ fans will most likely be asking themselves. Will we see Petr Mrazek make his 1st start in the orange and black on Thursday? With the injury to Wayne Simmonds, will the Flyers make any more trades before the deadline? Can the Flyers continue this momentum as they push for a better playoff position? This next week will be interesting so stay tuned and I will keep you all updated as best I can. I will also have a full recap on the trade deadline once it is over about all the moves that were made.
Lead NHL and Philadelphia Flyers Content Contributor