RECAP: Flyers’ First Line Not Quite Enough; Lose Thriller to Montreal in Shootout
That was fun! No, genuinely, I mean that. The Flyers lost the game, and despite that, I can honestly say it was extremely enjoyable hockey from beginning to end.
Flyers Score First. Mistake?
The Flyers did something crazy tonight. They scored the first goal of the hockey game. I wasn’t even aware that they were capable of doing that, yet here we are!
A broken rush play is resurrected with quality work from Scott Laughton, who hits a centering pass from the corner to Travis Sanheim. And Sanheim doesn’t miss after joining the rush.
It was Sanheim’s third point of the year, and it was the kind of play that the Flyers are going to need more of if they have ambitions on being a self-respecting hockey team.
That was his 3rd point in 17 games, which is not a pretty total from a defenseman who is expected to at least chip in offensively. Evidently, Sanheim agreed. He added another point to his total about 36 seconds later.
GOOD LORD, OWEN TIPPETT! What Flyers social media described as a sweet sound was an even sweeter sight.
He takes the off-balance feed from Travis Sanheim and turns it into a scoring chance off of the left rush. On its own, that is an extremely impressive play. But he didn’t stop there. He used the two Montreal defenders in front of him as a screen, and went bar-down on the wrist shot with barely a sliver of daylight to squeeze that shot through.
What a highlight play by Tippett, and what a day for him.
The Flyers Having Nice Things? Perish The Thought.
The extremely good vibes did not last for very long. After a seemingly innocuous point shot generates a rebound, Christian Dvorak finds himself with entirely too much time and space on the doorstep and slides a puck into the net to cut the half in lead.
I have no idea how that happened, and how our defense became so exceptionally poor. But leaky goals from the doorstep and a failure to protect the crease has been a rather common problem in this recent stretch of losses.
Hey, at least the Flyers still have the lead. Right?
Well, not for long!
The worst penalty kill unit in the league was on the ice in a 5 on 3 scenario. There was only one possible way this could end.
With a Cole Caufield goal that squeezes through Hart’s equipment, of course!
I don’t say that to mean it was Hart’s fault, per se. Any goalie is going to have a hard time covering that ground. Besides, that goal was simply destined to be scored.
Sorry, Carter. You were swimming against the tides of fate. The Flyers were on the Penalty Kill, and the only thing they kill in that scenario is your save percentage.
The Comeback Kids In Their Natural Habitat
After a third Montreal goal gives them the 3-2 lead, the Flyers find themselves in a position they have seemed uniquely comfortable in: down a goal.
Their comfort was obvious, because the dormant offense produced another goal.
Owen Tippett, my lord. Have yourself a day. Is there even anything else to say?
Kevin Hayes found the scoreboard in an otherwise unimpressive performance from him, because he knows nothing but the most exquisite puck luck available to mankind.
So the Flyers Won… Right?
Up 4-3 with 10 seconds left in the game, SURELY the Flyers won the game in regulation and sent everyone home happy. Right?
Wrongly, you are! They blew the lead, and Cole Caufield scored his second goal of the night, because of course he did.
It was an empty net sequence simulating a power-play, and despite touching the puck several times, they failed to exit their DZ in any capacity… with control or otherwise.
That made the goal, after enough attempts, absolutely inevitable.
Bare that thought in mind when I mention breakouts in a different context later.
Better, smoother breakouts would have given the Flyers a win in regulation.
Instead, they lost in a shootout.
But hey, I was wildly entertained in the process! If they want to be 4-12 since starting the season 3-0, that’s their business!
Please, No, Not Another Injury:
Scott Laughton went down for the Flyers after suffering a thunderous but clean hit from Canadiens’ prospect Kaiden Guhle. Guhle is somewhat known for waking up and choosing violence, but God did he have to make that choice today?
The last thing the Flyers needed was ANOTHER injury, and Scott Laughton left the game never to return. The extent of his injury is presently unknown. He might not miss time at all, and that is the outcome to pray for.
- The entire top-line of Farabee-Frost-Tippett was absolutely must-watch television, and they did a surreal job controlling play for the Flyers. This line should remain together for the foreseeable future if it looks anything like it did tonight.
- The other lines–especially Kevin Hayes’ line–were far less impressive. It was a one line show, for the most part.
- Morgan Frost as a center allows him to be the third man helping the defense on breakouts. He was excellent in that capacity tonight, springing his line mates for rush attempts with regularity. The whole line was brilliant in transition, and Frost played an integral part in that.
- Owen Tippett is becoming a true offensive zone dynamo. His puck skills have come along so far, and the shot is going in now. He’s incredibly fun to watch.
Thanks to @PhillySportsSufferer on Twitter for summarizing this team’s penchant for losing perfectly with the following Twitter DM:
“I’m just so fucking pissed because this whole team was like “this shits a must win” and then have a massive wet fart when it matters.”
Mandatory Credit: Johnny Ulecka.