If there was a game to reasonably expect the Flyers’ win streak to end, Sunday looked like a good bet. On the second night of a back to back and without starting goalie Steve Mason (rest) and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (scratched with an upper body injury) the Flyers were shorthanded and caught in a defensive battle on Sunday. But the Flyers prevailed in 1-0 overtime victory to extend their winning streak to nine games. This is the longest winning streak for Philadelphia since the 1994-95 season.
In his second career start, Anthony Stolarz earned his first career shutout, fighting off all 28 shots thrown his way.
“He was our best player out there tonight. He was composed and had good positioning. Made a lot of saves because they had powerplays,” Captain Calude Giroux told reporters after the game.
The Flyers out-shot the Red Wings 10 to 5 in the first period, largely in part due to a barrage of chances on two powerplays. While the Flyers had more chances, they had trouble exiting their own defensive zone. Stolarz wasn’t tested with a lot of shots, but he did stop the strong chances by Detroit, including two quick saves in succession. Stolarz was making his first game since Nov. 27th vs Calgary, two weeks ago to the day.
The pace picked up in the second period, and this time the Flyers were guilty of two penalties. Detroit fired 11 shots in the second period, but Stolarz kept them all out. The 22-yard old net minder looked calm in net and handled rebounds well. He even made a few nice plays handling the puck. Feeding off that energy, the Flyers put 12 shots of their own towards Jimmy Howard, but the Red Wing’s goalie was perfect as well.
The Flyers came out sloppy in the third. They committed two penalties in the first six minutes. Stolarz maintained his strong play and fended off an early surge by Detroit. Eight minutes in, Michael Raffl fought Xavier Oullett and in doing so drew an additional Instigator penalty against Tomas Tatar. But resulting power play failed to generate much pressure.
The game slowed down some in the last ten minutes of regulation. 3 on 3 overtime was the perfect way to inject some energy into the defensive struggle. The Flyers maintained possession during much of the extra session. Their first excellent chance came on a steal by Travis Konecny who made a backhand to pass to Pierre Edouard Bellmarre on a 2-on-1 chance. Jimmy Howard made that save, too.
But he couldn’t make every save. Off a stolen pass at center ice, Brayden Schenn dropped a pass to defense man Ivan Provorov, who drew the defender into the slot. He then made a pass back to Schenn, who deked around Howard and backhanded the game winning goal. It was Schenn’s 8th goal of the year, and 4th in two days. He scored all three goals in the team’s victory of Dallas the day before.
Ultimately the Flyers outshot Detroit 36 to 28. The Flyers were 0-for-5 on the powerplay and Detroit was 0-for-5. Claude Giroux led the way with 6 shots on goal. The win puts the Flyers in a tie for first place in the Metropolitan division. Their next game comes Wednesday night in Colorado.