(Photo credit: Amy Irvin 38 Photography)
The Flyers waited until the last minute to defeat the Minnesota Wild last night, winning by virtue of a Michael Del Zotto goal and avoiding an almost-certain shootout loss. Steve Mason made 31 saves in the win for the Flyers, who will now head into Saturday’s game on a two game win streak.
After a shaky first six or seven minutes, the next thirty minutes of play were absolutely dominated by Philadelphia. Led by Sean Couturier and his line with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl, the Flyers took a 1-0 lead and did not let up at all through the end of the second.
The Wild were able to knot things up on a Marco Scandella goal late in the first, but the tie would be short-lived. The Flyers were constantly spending time in the Minnesota zone to start the second and eventually would score twice within a minute to take a two goal lead. While a small momentum shift late in the period would help Minnesota get within one, the Flyers would take a lead into the locker room with one period to play.
For the most part, the Flyers played defensively sound hockey early on in the third, limiting Minnesota to mostly lower quality chances. That would change with less than seven minutes left after a misplay by Nick Schultz and Steve Mason left Zach Parise wide open in front to put home the tying goal.
While the Flyers were without their go-to overtime hero Shayne Gostisbehere, who left with an injury, they still found a way to get it done. An absolutely beautiful passing play between Giroux, Voracek and Michael Del Zotto led to the MDZ winner and a 4-3 victory for the Flyers.
The Flyers will take some momentum into Saturday’s tilt with the Islanders, who have given them trouble in recent games. Some more thoughts:
- Sean Couturier’s line was dominant tonight at times, especially during the second period. With Giroux as the obvious #1 center, Couturier is becoming an elite #2 center as the season goes on. It’s great to see him still getting it done offensively in the absence of Voracek.
- Shayne Gostisbehere left the game after a Mikko Koivu hit. All of Philadelphia will be anxiously awaiting news on the severity of his injury.
- Speaking of Gostisbehere, there’s a clear drop off in the Flyers effectiveness in overtime without him. Mark Streit’s a nice player, but his lack of speed can be a huge detriment at 3 on 3. Starting Streit with Couturier and Read definitely isn’t optimal as it puts two slower skaters out there together. Luckily it didn’t cost the Flyers tonight.
- The tying goal in the third was not good and made me want to punch a wall but I didn’t do that because I’d like to get my security deposit on my apartment back at some point. If there are any positives, maybe some very visible mistakes by Nick Schultz could open Dave Hakstol’s eyes to the fact that he could be benched?
- Evgeny Medvedev was a ridiculous +21 in shot attempts tonight at even strength (26/5).
- Even more ridiculous: RJ Umberger was on the ice for 16 Flyers’ shot attempts and zero (0) Wild shot attempts. What?
- Minnesota is not the state of hockey. Thank you for reading.