The Good, the bad and the ugly from Flyers weekend games

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The Philadelphia Flyers came back from their NHL mandated bye week and lost 4-1 at home to the New Jersey Devils before winning in overtime on the road against the New York Islanders.  The game on Saturday was more concerning because the feeling all week was that they would come back fresh and with a better mindset after starting the month of January 2-5-1.  But they came back against the Devils to a resounding thud as undisciplined play in the second period completely destroyed their already psychological state before New Jersey pulled away 4-1.  The orange and black did show resolve by overcoming a two goal deficit on Sunday winning a thriller 3-2. After some time to reflect on the two games, just what did the Flyers do well..and not so well?
The Good:
Sunday’s win:
Down 2-0 in the second period, Wayne Simmonds started the comeback, scoring his 19th of the season. Ivan Provorov scored off a beautiful feed from Brayden Schenn as the stud rookie picked up the puck at the blue line and carried wide sliding the puck towards the net.  The puck deflected off the Islanders defenseman who was tied up with Travis Konecney who drove hard to the net. An ugly goal, but one the Flyers needed. 
Overtime performance:
First the save Steve Mason made on Islanders captain John Tavares’ breakaway saved the game.  Then the “first OT unit” of Shayne Gostisbehere, Jake Voracek and Captain Claude Giroux went to work as they outshined the Isles in the offensive zone before Gostisbehere slid a beautiful pass out front to Giroux to win it.  You could see the relief on each players face after the captain scored his first goal in 12 games, just how much it meant to them.

The Bad:
The start against the Islanders:
After losing on Saturday, the Flyers put themselves in a hole against the Islanders early on Sunday, spotting them a 2-0 lead before the comeback finally began. Its great that they came back and Mason played very well, but they cannot keep playing from behind and expect to win games. A full 60 minute effort is needed. 
Penalties:
The penalty that Flyers center Sean Couturier took in the third period against the Islanders could have cost them the game.  They had just killed off Provorov’s hooking penalty as Couturier took the puck along the boards and proceeded to fire the puck into the crowd at Barclay’s Center.  He had no pressure on him and just made a mental mistake.  Luckily, the team responded with a great kill led by Simmonds and Giroux who were pressed into extra PK duties. 
The Ugly:
The second period against the Devils: 
The penalty against Radko Gudas that put the Flyers down a man was not a great call, but good teams overcome those. However the Simmonds unsportsmanlike penalty after complaining to the referees is something that just cannot happen. That’s the poster for the undisciplined play that has killed the Flyers over the last month.  The Gudas call hurt the Flyers, the Simmonds penalty changed the game. When Kyle Palmieri scored on the power play, the feeling was the game was over.  But good on Simmonds for owning his mistake.  That’s what the great players do.
The Flyers now need to build off of the comeback win against the Islanders.  They have two tough games before the all star break against two teams they are chasing, the New York Rangers on Wednesday Night Rivalry Night and on Thursday at home against the up and coming Toronto Maple Leafs and rookie star Auston Matthews. These are two games against teams they are chasing for a wild card spot.  Both teams have games in hand against the Flyers making the points even more vital. A 60 minute effort and playing a 200 foot game will be crucial.  They need to start to build momentum as they push towards a playoff spot.
Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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