Brian Elliott and top line shine as Flyers dismantle Blackhawks 3-1

The Philadelphia Flyers have been faced with some unlikely adversity early in the season. With some injuries to some key members of the team. The orange and black have been able to prevail on most nights. With the likes of Radko Gudas, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick, and Andrew Macdonald missing extended amounts of time. One would think this young Flyers team would be lost without some of these pieces to the puzzle. However, the orange and black have withstood the early onslaught of injuries, and have a respectable record of 7-6-2.

Before play began on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers had revenge on their minds. Moreover, the orange and black were defeated by the Blackhawks on November 1, 2017, 3-0 as Corey Crawford made 35 saves in the victory. Shayne Gostisbehere says the team is pretty confident right now, as they are preparing to pull off this win in front of their home crowd.

“Yeah, I think that is the biggest difference from past teams. We get down a goal and we don’t just pack it in and feel sorry for ourselves. I think it is how we have been responding.. Confidence levels through the roof right now because we just keep going, keep making plays and I think that’s the biggest thing for us.”

The young Flyers team received some good news before the game with defenseman Radko Gudas returning to the line-up following a concussion. Whether or not the orange and black were fueled by Gudas’s return, the Flyers were flat-out dominant. Brian Elliott made 38 strong saves to defeat Crawford and the Blackhawks 3-1. The victory sends the feel good Flyers flying high into Saturday’s contest against the Minnesota Wild at 7 pm.

 

First Period

The Flyers came out of the gate hungry and determined to knock off the Blackhawks. They found themselves out shooting the Blackhawks 1-0 early in the period, until Elliott made a nice left pad save on Tommy Wingels at 2:35. Elliott covered the puck, but Wingels kept jamming after the puck when the referee blew the whistle. Jakub Voracek didn’t like it, and grabbed Wingels as they both started jousting at one another. Both players were given two minutes for roughing.

These young Flyers appeared to be relentless in their attack on Crawford just 4:58 into the opening stanza. Giroux put all his mustard into a shot from the top of the left circle, off a nice feed from Voracek. The puck found twine behind Crawford for Giroux’s 9th goal of the year, to give the Flyers an early 1-0 lead.

Towards the middle of the first period, the Flyers were trying to continue their momentum against the Blackhawks. Voracek blasted the puck into the twine, off a nice feed from Shayne Gostisbehere past Crawford for a 2-0 Flyers lead. It was Ghost’s 100th point, and he became the fastest defenseman to reach that plateau in Flyers history.

Unfortunately, the orange and black were called for a late penalty. Travis Sanheim took an interference penalty with just 4:56 remaining in the period. On the ensuing power play, the Blackhawks could only register  two shots on net. Elliott made both saves to keep the score 2-0 Flyers.

The first period came to a close with the Flyers dominating the majority of play throughout the first period. They found themselves leading the Blackhawks 2-0 at the end of the period. Despite being outplayed through the majority of the first period, the Blackhawks made a late push in the shot total. However, the Flyers did wind up out-shooting the Blackhawks 16-12 for the period, and won the faceoff margin 57%-43%.

 

Second Period

The Flyers entered the second period determined to take command of the game. Well, they did just that as Sean Couturier potted his 10th goal of the season off a nice feed in front by Giroux. Time of the goal was just 3:51 into the period, and it gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead. After potting the third goal of the night for the Flyers. Couturier had this to say after the game, “Yeah I think all three of the goals were nice plays. Whether it was finding Giroux on the other side or Jake across ice. Like I said it’s starting to be a little more natural knowing where we’re going out there.  There’s a lot of hockey left, 82 game season so still a lot of wins to get.”

With the Flyers on a high, and the building rocking from the fans. The orange and black were caught day dreaming with 3:47 remaining the period. Connor Murphy took a snap shot from the left hash mark, and he placed the puck past Elliott’s right pad. This cut the Flyers lead to 3-1.

This Flyers team continued their dominance late in the second period. However, Radko Gudas was called for tripping with 3:01 remaining in the period. Unfortunately, just 15 seconds into the Blackhawks power play, Ivan Provorov tried lifting a puck out of the Flyers zone. The puck went straight into the crowd without a deflection, which by rule is a delay of game penalty. Elliott was phenomenal on the two-man advantage, backstopping 5 saves to keep the score 3-1 Flyers.

These young legs in the Flyers kept up with the Blackhawks in the second period. The Blackhawks did outshoot the Flyers 9-5, but they lost the faceoff margin 61%-39%.

 

Third Period

Early in the third period, the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. Jonathan Toews was called for a slashing penalty just 3:27 into the period. However, the Flyers only managed two shots on the ensuing power play. Crawford made both saves to keep the score 3-1 Flyers.

Things seemed just about sealed and delivered for a Flyers victory, when Travis Konecny was called for a tripping penalty with 5:59 remaining in the game. The Blackhawks registered two shots on net, but Elliott made both saves to keep the score 3-1 Flyers.

The Flyers were given a gift when Tommy Wingels was called for a hi-sticking penalty, with 3:31 to go in the game. The Flyers did manage two shots on net, but Crawford made both saves keeping the score 3-1 Flyers.

That’s how the game would end, as the Flyers managed to win their 14th straight contest at home against the Blackhawks. Fortunately, the orange and black’s top line was great. They seemed to take control right off the opening Faceoff. Enough can’t be said about the great goaltending from Elliott, as well. The Flyers were outshot 39-31 for the game, but managed to win the faceoff margin 67%-33%.

Head Coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about the Flyers to line following the game,

I don’t know if I really had expectations in terms, I certainly didn’t think of numbers or anything like that. We all felt like they could be a good line together and I think that’s what they’re showing and they continue to work at getting better as a line.  That’s what they’re supposed to do, but I think they’ve done that and tonight obviously they were important for us.”

Hakstol continued, “Three good players working hard together, that’s the rhyme and that’s the reason. Those three guys have worked hard from day one together, they compete both directions and they played very well for our hockey team.”

Of course, the Flyers came out rocking in third revenge game against the Blackhawks. They put together a complete team effort to split the season series with the Hawks. This proves yet again that there is no quit in this team. Hopefully they bring some of the same energy for Saturday’s contest against the Minnesota Wild at 7 pm.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jamey Baskow, 34, Flyers Guru, Sports Enthuiast
Follow me on Twitter@JameyBaskow

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