Wrap: Discipline Lapses Burn Flyers in 5-4 OT Loss to Flames
NOTE: Extended analysis and postgame quotes will be added later this evening.
WRAPUP: DISCIPLINE LAPSES BURN FLYERS IN 5-4 OT LOSS TO FLAMES
The Philadelphia Flyers have been frittering away winnable games with alarming frequency of late. Seemingly in firm control of the game, the Flyers got themselves in penalty trouble in the second period, as the team in general and Shayne Gostisbehere in particular got notoriously thin-skinned and flighty veteran referee Tim Peel riled up at them.
Even after the Calgary Flames rallied back from deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3, the Flyers had ample opportunity to win the game. Instead, they once again settled for a single point as they fell in overtime, 5-4, at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia had been in a good penalty killing groove coming into this game, killing 14 of the last 15 disadvantages and 20 of 24 (83.3 percent) overall for the month of November. That went by the wayside in the second period, though, as Calgary's Sean Monahan struck three times on a deflection, a rebound and a snipe from the slot. Overall, Calgary went 3-for-5.
The Flyers controlled much of the play at 5-on-5 and had all sorts of scoring chances throughout the game -- with a little better shooting, they could easily have had eight goals instead of four -- but left themselves vulnerable at times to Calgary's deadly transition game.
Brandon Manning (third goal of the season), Sean Couturier (power play, 12th), Ivan Provorov (3rd) and Nolan Patrick (2nd) scored for the Flyers. Jakub Voracek collected his 19th and 20th assists of the campaign in the season's 20th game. Brian Elliott played a better game than an unsightly stat line (26 saves on 31 shots would suggest) but also got help from the goal posts twice in the third period in addition to the three Calgary power play tallies, a first-period breakaway goal and overtime 2-on-1 tally.
Monahan (three power play goals for his ninth, 10th and 11th tallies overall) and Johnny Gaudreau (ninth goal of the season) supplied the offensive fireworks for Calgary in regulation. Michael Frolik (fourth) potted the OT winner. Back in the lineup after missing a game with an upper-body injury, Mike Smith flipped and flopped around but got the job done well enough to stop 35 of 39 Flyers shots and earn the win.
Living legend Jaromir Jagr, a Flyer during the 2011-12 season, played his 100th career game against Philadelphia. If he retires after this season, this tilt may have been his final one at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers got caught on a bad line change but Elliott swallowed up a right point shot from Travis Hamonic. He saw it all the way as the whole right side of the ice was open.
Philly got a much-needed secondary scoring contribution and a 1-0 lead at 1:32 as Manning weaved a deflected right point shot off the post, off Smith's shoulder and into the net for his third goal of the season. Filppula got the lone assist.
The Flyers attacked off a center ice faceoff and Konecny went to the net for a scoring chance. Smith covered for a stoppage at 4:10.
The Flames found a lot of open skating room on a 3-on-2 rush -- the Flyers top forward line arrived late on the back-check, leaving lots of real estate for Ivan Provorov and Robert Hägg to cover. Elliott made a tough stop on Dougie Hamilton.
After a scoring chance for the Flyers top line, the Flames countered and scored. Micheal Ferland made a pass in stride to Gaudreau, who went in and scored on a breakaway against Elliott to make it a 1-1 game at 7:13. Sean Monahan got the secondary assist.
Immediately off the ensuing center ice faceoff after the Gaudreau goal, Michael Raffl split the middle and went in for a chance on Smith that the goalie knocked aside.
Ex-Flyer Kris Versteeg took a brainless penalty after a routine Flyers offside play at 12:47. After the whistle, Versteeg needless went over and bumped Taylor Leier toward the Calgary bench. He received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Flyers made Calgary's NHL bottom-ranked penalty kill pay for it at 13:22. Couturier found a Voracek rebound in the slot and chipped it over Smith and under the crossbar for his third PPG of the season and 12th overall. The secondary assist went to Gostisbehere.
“We were trying to get in front of the goalie’s eyes a little more," Couturier said. "Simmer did a great job and I was just the second layer picking up the rebound. I don’t think he saw me shoot the puck.”
Travis Sanheim found open ice on a line change and rushed up the left wing. His shot attempt was blocked out of play. Philly then scored right off the next left circle faceoff to take a 3-1 lead at 16:08. Scott Laughton won the draw, shuffled by Lehterä out to the left point and Provorov's shot found the top corner high to the glove side.
Four-on-four play ensued after Leier and Matt Stajan jostled after a neutral zone whistle and received roughing penalties at 16:54. Voracek received a marginal-at-best hooking minor on the forecheck at 17:20. The whistle blew even though Calgary clearly had puck possession (which led both teams to initially think the penalty was on the Flames). On the 4-on-3 PK, Couturier went in alone on a shorthanded breakaway but his backhander did not quite sneak through Smith's pads.
"I was hesitant at first," Couturier said. "I thought he was going to come out. I kind of pushed it a little too far. But, I thought I had him five-hole. I think I may have shot the puck a little too much short-side.”
With 59.6 seconds left in the first period and the Voracek penalty about to expire, Elliott got over to his right to stop a Hamilton one-time from the circle.
First period shots were 13-12 in Calgary's favor.
Thirty-nine seconds into the period, Patrick was going off for a line change and swatted the puck from near the bench at the net. The puck skittered slowly but erratically toward the net. Smith played it carefully and held for a stoppage. Every once in awhile, those sorts of plays end up as fluke goals.
Sanheim joined a rush, took a feed across the ice from Konency and narrowly missed his still-elusive first NHL goal. There was room high to the short side but the rookeie defenseman didn't quite hit the mark.
Elliott was slow to come out of the net on a long delayed Calgary penalty but finally got to the bench for an extra attacker. The touch-up for a stoppage finally came at 3:53 for a slashing penalty on T.J. Brodie. With 1:05 left on the power play, Couturier took a Giroux feed at the top of the left hash marks and fired a shot that Smith got cleanly.
The Flyers' power play ended with 40 seconds left with the second unit on the ice. Dale Weise high-sticked Stajan. During the waning seconds of the 4-on-4, Provorov passed up an open shot to feed across to Patrick. Smith made the save. When play moved the other way, Calgary scored on the power play as a Monahan tip of a Versteeg shot trickled through Elliott at 6:07 to make it a 3-2 game. Giordano got the secondary assist.
Patrick came up with a loose puck in front and made a clever back pass to Wayne Simmonds in prime shooting range in the slot. Simmonds fired the puck right into Smith, who held for a stoppage at 7:25. Second period shots at this point were 9-1 in the Flyers' favor but the only one that mattered belonged to the Flames.
Giroux got a burr under his saddles after being plastered heavily into the boards in the offensive end. He bounced back up and tried to set up a play. When play moved the other way, Calgary got a power play at 8:30 as Manning was called for slashing.
Calgary had multiple chances on the ensuing power play and finally scored to tie the game at 3-3. Elliott came out to cut down the angle on an open Gaudreau shot from the left circle. He got it but left out a rebound that Monahan claimed and pounced home. Brodie got the secondary assist at 9:51.
Referee Tim Peel called a bench minor on the Flyers at 11:16 as Gostisbehere barked at him from the Philly bench. "Ghost" slammed his stick upon arrival in the penalty box as the Flames went right back to the power play. As the penalty expired, Elliott gloved and held a Giordano center point blast.
Patrick got his 2nd career NHL goal after a partial line change at 14:02. Voracek carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it for Giroux. Patrick, replacing Couturier, cruised toward the net, picked up the rebound of a Voracek stuff-in try from the other side and lifted home the puck for a 4-3 Flyers lead.
“Jakey’s obviously one of the strongest guys in the league down low so he used his frame to protect the puck. He kind of went for a wrap around and the puck popped out for me and I just went to the backhand and was lucky enough to put it in," Patrick said.
Calgary got another power play at 14:21. Peel emphatically called an elbowing penalty on Gostisbehere against Ferland. Monahan scored to complete a power play hat trick at 14:56. Leier went down heavily as he painfully blocked a Versteeg shot in a delicate area. Calgary maintained possession and Gaudreau fed Monahan in the left slot. With Leier still down on the ice, Monahan roofed the puck.
Wit 21.9 seconds left in the period, Gaudreau gained the Flyers' blueline with speed and snapped off a high-slot shot. Elliott gloved it cleanly.
Second period shots were 16-12 Flyers (28-25 Flyers overall).
With a potential dangerous chance brewing on a Calgary counterattack, Hägg nicely broke up a pass over the middle to put an end to the play.
Jaromir Jagr wrapped a free arm around an attacking Provorov for several seconds. The Wells Fargo Center crowd griped loudly, but there was no call.
Mark Jankowski hit the post on a shot from the mid slot at about the five-minute mark. With Simmonds and a defender tangled, Patrick jumped on a puck between the circles. His shot went over the net and out of play. A TV timeout ensued at 7:16. Shots were 4-2 Flyers.
The Flyers top line was a bit slow on the back check and Provorov had Ferland get behind him to take a pass and get a great scoring chance on Elliott. Sam Bennett hit the post from the left circle on a rush on the next shift.
The Flames turned over a puck up high. With 8:05 left, Weise fired a long-distance shot on net. It was an easy save for Smith but it got the Couturier out for the next shift with a left circle offensive faceoff to start. However, the Flames gained possession and play moved the other way.
Smith made a blocker save on Giroux off a cross-ice pass high in the zone from Voracek with a little less than four minutes left in regulation. Shots were 8-4 Flyers.
Hägg saved a goal as a Bennett shot off an odd-man chance was stopped by Elliott but then sat loose on the doorstep.
The Flyers went to a power play with 2:01 left in regulation. Stajan was boxed for tripping Laughton behind the Calgary net. Gostisbehere fired wide of the net on an open center point shot. With the second unit out, Filppula tipped a pass-out on goal but Smith stopped it.
Third period shots were 11-5 in the Flyers' favor (39-30 Flyers through regulation).
The Flyers dominated early puck possession but could not generate a scoring chance or shot. Later, Voracek blew a one-on-one defensive coverage and the Flames ended up with a 2-on-1. Frolik took a feed from Mikael Backlund and buried the game-winner at 1:18 on the only shot for either team.
Final shot totals were 39-11 in the Flyers' favor.