This game was going to be a tough game no matter what. The Flyers are home from a nightmarish road trip where they found themselves losing every game and losing some brothers in arms along the way. With the mounting injuries, the 3 game suspension to Joel Farabee, and news about Oskar Lindblom the Flyers were in desperate need of some positivity and it seems that they hockey gods were listening. Travis Konecny was making his much anticipated return to the lineup as the leading scorer on a team that’s lacked scoring. With the depleted lineup the Flyers were forced to mixup the combinations and roll out a mixed batch of combinations. So far David Kase, Misha Vorobeyev, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel have stuck around, but can they get a little comfortable before the Flyers injuries subside? Well tonight was their chance to prove they deserve a longer look.
The first period was just underway and there was already a chance early for Sanheim just outside the hash marks. Another chance in tight for Kevin Hayes right after, but he also fails to beat goaltender John Gibson in tight. So far the Flyers started off strong, but had nothing to show for it. A messy moment shortly after as Sean Couturier fumbled the puck in front of his own net and forced Carter Hart to scramble and cover up the puck. A relatively harmless play, but one that showed the team was still working off some rust. The Flyers didn’t waste time being physical in this one, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel throw down a massive hit on Jacob Larsson in the Ducks’ zone. The crowd erupted as NAK smiled and skated back, just looking to make a presence on a team that needs some fire. The game was going back and forth until Chris Stewart took a minor penalty with about 12 minutes to play in the period, but the Flyers did an excellent chance killing off the man advantage and nullify and real opportunities. At this point the Ducks led the Flyers in shots 11 to 6, but the opportunities didn’t feel very lopsided. Then with 8 minutes left, Chris Stewart tries to make up for his penalty and gain the crowd’s favor as he dropped the gloves with Jacob Deslauriers. So far the game was eventful, but not focused enough to for either team to amount to a lead. The nicest play of the period came with just over 5 minutes left in the first, as Calude Giroux on a semi-breakaway made a great behind the back pass to Couturier in the slot, but Gibson made a great aggressive save to keep the game scoreless. Finally with under two minutes left in the first period, the Fucks took a late penalty to allow the Flyers to finish the period on a high note. With over a minute remaining on the Flyers power play they were ready to bring the energy into the 2nd period.
Flyers began the 2nd period on the power play and they desperately needing a goal. And within the first 2 minutes of the second period, the Flyers got their answer. Travis Konecny setup Claude Giroux right in front of an empty net to take the lead. Konecny was back and the top line felt complete once again. An additional solid shift shortly after from the Flyers top line that ended with a Provorov blast to Gibsons face. The energy was starting to swing Flyers way and the building could feel it. The momentum continued as David Kase scored his first NHL goal to put the Flyers up 2-0 and finally the new kids on the block were starting to make an impact. It was always evident that David Kase had a shot at an NHL future. It was nice to see him bury one at the NHL level. At this point the energy around the team felt positive again. And another bad penalty by the Ducks gave the Flyers an opportunity to put the game away early and take a 3-0 lead. The Flyers could not capitalize and after a beautiful pass by Getzlaf that led to the Ducks best opportunity of the period changed the momentum. Despite giving up 25 shots on net, it felt like the Flyers were in control of this one. However, with about 5 minutes left in the game Claude Giroux took a bad tripping penalty that led to a Ducks power play goal. Through a screen of multiple players, Hart was screened all the way and the Flyers finally saw some chink in their armor. Flyers now led 2-1 and the momentum did swing towards the Ducks side. With just two minutes left in the period Nicolas Aube-Kubel committed a kneeing infraction on Troy Terry that saw the Flyers shorthanded for the remainder of the period. The Flyers killed all but 2 seconds of the man advantage, but they’d have to turn up the energy if they wanted to end the game on a positive note.
The third period was now underway and the gravity began to set in. While this wasn’t the most crucial game on paper, it was now a must win with a three game losing streak and an injury riddled lineup. Every win was important during this stretch and the resolve of the team would be tested. With the Flyers strong home record on the year, things felt in control, but needing definition. Once again, two minutes in the Flyers took another penalty as Niskanen sent David Kase’s brother, Ondrej Kase headfirst into the boards. The Flyers would again have to defend their thin lead. The Flyers were playing a strong penalty kill game, but they didn’t want to test fate with so much time left in the game. All of a sudden, Jake Voracek gets a golden opportunity. With less than a minute after the Flyers penalty kill goes on a 2-1 with David Kase and ends it himself with a wicked wrister to beat John Gibson coming up on his off wing. The Flyers now had control of the game and regained all of the momentum. With twelve minutes remaining the Flyers took another bad minor penalty, this time it was Kevin Hayes for tripping. They weren’t going to make things easy on themselves on this tonight and Carter Hart would have to end on a strong note. Hart played very strong saving several strong opportunities by the Ducks in the final 10 minutes of the night. He had a strong first two periods and third appeared to be no different. With 4 minutes left the Flyers went into a shell defense looking to keep all shots to the outside and the way Hart was playing, it felt like a wise strategy. Once the goalie was pulled, the Flyers simply waited for their opportunity and Sean Couturier scored the empty net goal and the nail in coffin. The Flyers would look to continue their strong play against the Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabers.