Wrapup: Flyers 3 - Hurricanes 2 (OT)
FLYERS RESCUE 3-2 OT WIN AGAINST CAROLINA
Unable to protect a 2-0 goal in the third period after dominating most of the opening 40 minutes, the Philadelphia Flyers staggered in overtime and then swaggered off with a 3-2 victory after making quick work of a four-on-three power play opportunity to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.
Special teams carried the day for the Flyers, who went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal by Claude Giroux and power play goals by Brayden Schenn in the second period and Shayne Gostisbehere in overtime. Schenn's tally ended the third-longest goal drought for the Flyers in franchise history after 168 minutes and 53 seconds.
Michal Neuvirth took a shutout into the third period before finishing with 31 saves on 33 shots to earn his fourth win of the season. He was sharp in the first two periods, albeit tested infrequently. In the third period, Neuvirth came up with some big saves but also had trouble hanging on to some pucks; not just on the tying goal.
"They came out hard, and threw a lot of pucks at the net. You know, the second goal I think I got a handle on the rebound better, but I know we stuck with the system so a win is a win," Neuvirth said.
Philadelphia had the game under firm control through two periods, dominating on the forecheck and creating transition opportunities while defending well in their own end. However, the Flyers wilted as Carolina came back with a heavy push in the third period. There was almost a sense of inevitability as Victor Rask and Brett Pesce scored third-period even strength goals for the Hurricanes. The Flyers paid the price for some attention-to-detail lapses. What made the meltdown frustrating was that, for two-thirds of the night, the Flyers played some of their best two-way hockey of the season.
“We need to find a way to play like that for 60 minutes. Game in, game out, it’s hard to stay focused like that but good teams do it. We need to find a way to make sure everybody is ready to go for 60 minutes," Giroux said.
Eddie Läck played well in goal for Carolina (33 saves on 36 shots, including a penalty shot save on Brayden Schenn and denying several 2-on-1 opportunities). To their credit, unlike previous games, the Flyers did not get away from the things they did to create the opportunities, at least not until the third period.
"We are pushing a lot of small areas in the right direction. We just have to keep pushing, I think the feeling and the focus in the locker room is good. Nobody is comfortable with our win loss record, and that’s a good thing," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said.
"Yet the work ethic and the focus for the most part has been in the right direction, as we look at it over the last couple of weeks. We just have to keep pushing on all the areas of our game. You can’t push fast forward, you just have to keep working day by day.”
The Flyers got off to a very quick start. Shots were 9-2 in the Flyers' favor through the first 8:11. Voracek passed up open shot. Leier nice chance. Schenn moving to write on backhand.
Sam Gagner went down in a heap in the defensive zone at 8:40 on a hit by Brad Malone. There was lots of blood on the ice and he did not return. In response, Bellemare fought the bigger Malone at 10:44. Bellemare did all the early throwing, then a lot of receiving as the fight progressed.
Wayne Simmonds went off for inteference on John-Michael Liles in the offensive zone at 12:36. Carolina generated one Victor Rask shot, while Michael Del Zotto and Matt Read came up with blocked shots during the successful penalty kill.
Brayden Schenn gathered a Carolina turnover and was fouled by behind by Noah Hanifin to be awarded a penalty shot at 17:06. Hanifin was denied on the backhand by Läck.
Shots in the first period were 11-10 in the Flyers' favor. Shot attempts were 21-20 Flyers. The Flyers had four shot attempts blocked, while blocking seven Carolina attempts. The Flyers missed the net six times, while Carolina missed three times.
Brandon Manning went off for hooking Chris Terry behind the Flyers' net at 2:56 of the second period. Läck made a 10-bell save to deny Del Zotto on a 2-on-1 shorthanded bid.At the other end of the ice, Neuvirth stopped Riley Nash in close.
Eric Staal went for slashing Giroux at 5:42 to give Philadelphia its first power power play. Brayden Schenn rang a puck off the post with Läck beaten in close. When the second power play unit out, Raffl was stopped by the goalie on a well set up left circle snap shot and later was denied at the doorstep as was Matt Read. In the meantime, Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce painfully blocked a Couturier shot off his skate and, still smarting, did it again moments later.
The Flyers went back to the power play as Justin Faulk took an interference penalty at 9:59. Finally, the Flyers broke their long scoreless drought as Brayden Schenn tapped in a cross-ice pass at the net from Voracek. Giroux got the secondary assist at 10:20 on Schenn's sixth goal and third power play tally of the season.
"It was a cross ice-seam pass from Giroux to Voracek and Jake with great patience. He waited for me to get open and I was able to have a back door tap in," said Schenn.
Schenn had another good scoring bid denied by Läck on a right circle shot off the line rush. Läck hung on for a stoppage and TV timeout at 12:26. Shots in the period were 10-3 Flyers at this point.
Nick Schultz went to the box for hooking Jeff Skinner below the defensive zone circles at 13:44. Läck stopped VandeVelde on a mid-slot feed by Bellemare but wasn't so fortunte on the Flyers' next shorthanded bid after a line change and a 2-on-1 rush. The goalie stopped Couturier's initial shot but a wide open Giroux had a slam-dunk on the rebound for his seventh goal and first shorthanded tally of the season. Time of the goal was 15:08.
At 16:03, Simmonds was not quite able to jam in a puck in close to the Carolina net. Läck hung on for the stoppage at the final TV timeout of the period.
Neuvirth had barely been tested up until this point. With 2:24 left in the period, however, he made a good stop on a Riley Nash wraparound and covered up the rebound quickly. Things got testy after the whistle and carried over as play resumed.
Bellemare took a neutral zone slashing minor at 18:06. Giroux soon generated another shorthanded scoring bid. Läck stopped him on the delayed tripping penalty on Kris Versteeg. Philly kept possession, and a shooting gallery ensued until Läck finally snared a shot and play stopped at 18:44.
Shots in the second period were 18-6 in the Flyers' favor (29-16 Flyers overall). Shot attempts were 29-15 Flyers (49-35 Flyers overall). The Flyers had seven shot attempts blocked (11 overall), while blocking eight Carolina attempts (15 overall). The Flyers missed the net three times (nine overall), while Carolina missed once (four times overall).
Giroux got a slashing the stick penalty in the offensive zone at 50 seconds of the third period.
The Flyers killed it off. Shortly thereafter, Leier put on his second good burst of speed in the game for a scoring chance.
With time passing the six-minute mark of the final stanza, Raffl and Brayden Schenn went off on yet another 2-on-1 rush for the Flyers but were not able to connect for a shot on Raffl's sharp-angle pass across to Schenn.
The Canes narrowed the gap to 2-1 at 7:58. Rask put in the rebound of a Liles shot by off a d-to-d pass from Faulk for his sixth of the season.
Carolina came within a whisker of tying the game with left. Neuvirth made his best saves of the night to deny Skinner and then Nash in quick succession. At 14:09, Ron Hainsey had a good look at the net from 15 feet away but missed.
VandeVelde broke up a dangerous looking pass on a Carolina rush but then Philly iced the puck at 16:11. The Flyers took a timeout to rest their troops before the Bellemare line and the pairing of Schultz and Luke Schenn went out for the defensive zone faceoff.
It didn't work. The Flyers lost the draw and then badly lost their coverage as a fat rebound of a Hainsey point shot by was pounded in from the doorstep by Pesce for his second goal in as many games, tying the score at 2-2. Elias Lindholm got the secondary assist at 16:15.
The Flyers continued to scramble around the defensive zone after the Pesce goal. They took another bad icing -- this time by Brayden Schenn -- with 2:10 left in the period. This time, no harm was done. Philly took yet one more icing just before regulation expired.
Shots in the second period were 17-6 in Carolina's favor (35-33 Flyers overall). Shot attempts were 29-13 Carolina (64-62 Carolina overall 49-35 Flyers overall). The Flyers had four shot attempts blocked (15 overall), while blocking six Carolina attempts (21 overall). The Flyers missed the net three times (12 overall), while Carolina missed six times (10 overall).
Play moved to 3-on-3 overtime. Couturier controlled the opening faceoff and took it into the offensive zone. Rask was called for a stick hold; an iffy-at-best call that the Flyers quickly turned the power play into the game-winning goal on the ensuing 4-on-3 power play.
Giroux controlled the faceoff with a good hold at the right point by Gostisbehere and the Flyers moved the puck crisply around the offensive zone. Finally, Gostisbehere pinched up to the right slot, took a pass from Giroux and ripped it past Läck upstairs offf the underside of the crossbar. Giroux and Voracek got the helpers at 24 seconds.
* Prior to the game, the Flyers inducted Rod Brind'Amour as the 24th member of the Flyers' Hall of Fame. Speaking from the heart without reading from a piece of paper, Brind'Amour struck just the right balance between humor and poignancy.
* Earlier in the day, Brind'Amour gave a press conference in which he shared a variety of recollections about his time in Philadelphia and how he is humbled by the ongoing adulation he received among Flyers' fans even long after his departure from the team.
In droves, Flyers' fans supported Brind'Amour's Carolina Hurricanes team in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, and it was specifically because they wanted to see Brind'Amour win the Cup that had eluded him on contending Flyers' teams. Likewise, a throng Flyers fans traveled to Raleigh five years later for the specific purpose of attending Brind'Amour's jersey retirement ceremony,
"The people that take the time and effort to do that, that’s what makes this place special is those types of fans. It’s loaded with that in this area. That’s what makes players want to stay here. No one wants to leave here. You just don’t. If you do there’s something wrong with you," Brind'Amour said.
* Hakstol said that he and the Flyers players could not help but pay attention and draw a bit of inspiration from Brind'Amour's speech, especially as pertains to what it means to be a Flyer.
“I think history and tradition mean an awful lot to our organization and the more that we can all learn about it, especially firsthand, when a gentleman like Rod Brind’Amour is speaking a few minutes before warm up, I think that has an impact on everybody," Hakstol said.
* On an annual basis, the Flyers invite the players' fathers (and sometimes other relatives) to accompany the team for several days. Attendees include former NHL star Dave Gagner, Jeff Schenn, William Mason, Peter Neuvirth, Lorne Read, Ken White, Craig Laughton, Ray Giroux, Leo Manning, Louis Simmonds (Wayne's uncle) and David Del Zotto (Michael's brother).