One week ago the Flyers topped the Dallas Stars 3-2 to extend their winning streak to eight games. Today they faced off again in Texas, once again hoping to extend the streak, now standing at 10 games. But it was the Stars who came away victorious in this rematch, defeating the Flyers and ending their 10-game winning streak, 3-1.
The first period was played at a high pace and saw quality chances for both sides. The Flyers out-shot Dallas 10-7 and scored the only goal. With just over three minutes to play in the opening frame, Nick Cousins carried the puck down on a rush and fired a wrist shot towards Antti Niemi. The Star’s net-minder stopped the initial shot, but couldn’t stop Taylor Leier on the rebound. It was Leier’s first NHL goal. He scored his first point on Wednesday in Colorado.
Dallas seized control in the second period and managed to tie the game. The Stars fired 14 shots compared to the Flyers 7 in the middle frame. Less than five minutes into the period, Radek Faksa buried a rebound of his own past Steve Mason.
The first penalties came in the second period as well. Brandon Manning fought with Jason Spezza less than two minutes into the period. About halfway through the period, the Flyers were called for too many men on the ice, but killed the resulting penalty. The Flyers were poised to get a powerplay of their own minutes later when Brayden Schenn had his stick slashed. But the refs nullified the penalty after deeming the play to be offside before the penalty occurred. With few penalties, the pace remained high thanks to the lack of stoppages.
The Stars continued that momentum into the third period and took the lead just two minutes in. Adam Cracknell put home a rebound after a deflected point-shot was stopped by Steve Mason. Playing from behind, the Flyers didn’t build momentum until about halfway through the final period. The managed a flurry of chances, including a shot off the crossbar from defenseman Ivan Provorov. But they couldn’t tie the game. With three minutes left Philadelphia was given their only power play of the contest, and essentially controlled the puck for the rest of regulation except for a lobbed empty net goal by Jordie Benn.
Overall it was an exciting contest with very few stoppages or penalties. Ultimately the Flyers out-shot the Stars 32-28. Dallas was credited with 28 hits to Philadelphia’s 19. The Flyers blocked 17 shots, the stars 15.
With the winning streak now over, some reflection is deserved. The Flyers played their best hockey of the season during this stretch. Starting on Nov. 27th versus Calgary, the Flyers were scoring 3.5 goals per contest (2nd in the league during that span). The received huge contributions from a number of players, including Steve Mason who complied a personal eight game winning streak, a new career high. Jake Voracek scored 16 points during the streak, most in the NHL during that span of time.
The team also made serious in roads in the standings thanks to all those wins. Although they only hold the second wildcard spot (because the Metropolitan Division is insanely good this year) the Flyers are 8 points better than the next closest team. The one downside to this is that the Flyers have played 33 games, more than anyone else in the conference. Regardless, this streak did wonders for the Flyers playoff chances.
The Flyers’ next game comes on Monday when the host the Nashville Predators.