Final Score: Flyers 5, Coyotes 4 (OT) |
The Philadelphia Flyers hate playing at home. I think everybody knows that. Nothing is ever easy for them at the Wells Fargo Center. They tighten up, they play scared, and they frequently allow bad things to get worse in their own building. Whether it’s because they let the fans get in their head or what, this is a very mentally fragile team at home. Which is certainly worrisome considering most teams would prefer to have home ice advantage especially come playoff time. But if the Flyers could play all of their games on the road, I think we’d see a 60-65 win hockey team. Unfortunately that’s not how the schedule works and after spending 4 games on the road and picking up 7 points, the Flyers came back to Philly to finish out a home&home with the ‘Yotes. It was a game that–for better or for worse–could be perfectly described as Flyers hockey. There were ups, there were downs, there was a whole lot of fuckery in between, but it all ended with a Shayne Gostisbehere overtime game winner. When you’re a team like the Flyers, you’ll take the 2 points anyway you can get them and that’s now 5 games in a row where the team has picked up at least 1 point. Are the Flyers back? Not quite yet. But they’re not dead either.
The Boys Were Juiced To Start The Game
A big issue for the Flyers early in the season is that they were slow starters. I forget the exact number but I think the Flyers went damn near 10 games in a row without scoring the first goal of the game. This team doesn’t really do too well playing from behind so when they have to chase the lead right out of the gate, it’s not a great recipe for success. But the Flyers got going right away last night with the top line getting on the board in their first shift. This goal was a great play by Konecny and Giroux. Really smart heads up work by TK to make sure he got himself going right to the net as soon as he dropped that puck off to Giroux. Captain Claude is one of the best set up guys in the league and Konecny knows it. So instead of just letting himself get sealed off and skating down the boards, Konecny gets inside of his defender, goes to the net, and finishes with a goddamn beautiful forehand-backhand top bunk finish. And a few minutes after that goal?
Scotty Laughts continues to be one of the most effective Flyers on the roster this year by making things happen. He gets this play started by going hard on the forecheck and taking the body behind the net. Then he gets himself out front, shows some resiliency to stick with this puck after it nearly gets stripped off his stick and stuffs it in the back of the net. A 2-goal lead less than 10 minutes into the first period at home? Simply unheard of for this Flyers team but it happened in real life. The only issue is that it didn’t last too long.
Special Teams Are Still Killing This Team
Listen. I don’t know what is going on with Ivan Provorov. Your guess is as good as mine. But he still just doesn’t look right even after showing some promising signs during the road trip. He is reckless with the puck. He is committing careless turnovers and he just looks really unconfident in himself right now. That PPG wasn’t totally on him last night but this is a really bad decision he made with the puck that ultimately allowed the Coyotes to get a couple of clean looks at the net which ended with one of them going in. Obviously Pickard didn’t give the Flyers much help last night either but if Provorov is more careful with this puck and makes a smarter play, then the puck gets out of the zone and the Coyotes have to waste more time to retrieve the puck and get set back up in their powerplay. But the penalty kill wasn’t even the worst special teams aspect of the Flyers’ game last night. Let’s go to the powerplay which let up not just one, but two shorthanded goals on the same powerplay.
Shorthanded goal #1 should be grounds for this linesman getting fired because this is bullshit.
Buddy sets a pick on Gostisbehere, Ghost can’t recover, Stepan gets to the puck and easily puts it past Pickard. But the linesman setting a pick on Ghost is some shit you’d expect to see in a high school JV game. Can’t be having refs getting in the way like that in the National Hockey League. Unacceptable. But not as unacceptable as what happened next.
Just 24 seconds later. After already allowing a shorthanded goal. Jake Voracek decides to stop skating and reach for this loose puck while in the middle of a foot race with Michael Grabner. Grabner is one of the faster guys in the league so I don’t blame Voracek for losing this race. But by stopping his feet, he allows Grabner to make that power move to the front of the net and then again, Pickard might as well have not even been in the net. Fucking brutal game out of him but that’s a powerplay goal against and 2 shorthanded goals against. Disgusting.
Some Extra Greasy Resiliency
As soon as the Flyers got down 4-2, I had a feeling that they still had a little gas in the tank to answer the bell. They finally took Pickard out of the game so I threw in a nice little live bet on Flyers +2. I figured if they were going to lose, they’d at least do it with a little sense of pride and get one more on the board before just falling short. That next goal was provided, again, by Scott Laughton.
Laughton from Weise and Lindblom. 21 from 22 and 23. I’d say all 3 of those guys were the best Flyers on the ice last night. All 3 of them were making things happen out there by playing hard, getting themselves to the right spots on the ice, and just playing with a set of man nuts. Lindblom was everywhere last night and he was especially great on the forecheck. Laughton was obviously great at getting to the greasy areas and picking up 2 hard dick goals. And then Dale Weise? Woahhhhh buddy. Let’s talk about Dale real quick with this goal to send the game to overtime.
Perfect touch on that pass from Gostisbehere. But then Dale Weise out skates Oliver Ekman-Larsson, loses control of the puck after OEL makes a great diving play, is able to still get his stick on the puck while it’s on its edge and goes roof job with that bad boy. Helluva way to get your first goal of the season for Dale Weise who has been surprisingly okay so far this season. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again. The Flyers need Dale Weise to be okay. He doesn’t need to be great but he also can’t be horrible. He has been exceptionally average all season so far and you couldn’t possibly ask for anything more. Dale Weise is now my favorite average hockey player in the world. Ugly as heck but a beauty nevertheless.
The Big 3 Get It Done In OT
Gostisbehere from Voracek and Giroux. How many times have we seen that in overtime before? It may be because the Flyers find themselves in overtime way more than most teams should but I can’t think of many 3v3 units more dominant than 28-93-53. And this goal right here is the polar opposite of that 2nd shorthanded goal Arizona scored earlier. There are 2 Jake Voraceks. There is the lazy sack of shit Jake Voracek that we saw on that Grabner goal. And then there is this Jake Voracek who is an absolute beast. He makes a good, strong move to the net on the original zone entry, wins the battle along the boards for the loose puck after the rebound, makes another strong move towards the net and then finishes it off with a perfect assist right in Ghost’s wheelhouse.
When Voracek wants to, he can be one of the best players in the league. Unfortunately he sometimes chooses not to and it frustrates the hell out of Flyers fans. But as long as we get this Voracek more frequently than that Grabner goal Voracek, I’m happy enough.
Not a pretty win by any means but when you’re dealing with a team like the Flyers, the physical appearance of the win doesn’t mean shit as long as it still counts for 2 points. Blackhawks are in town tomorrow afternoon. This would be a pretty ideal time to announce the hiring of Joel Quenneville.