This game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets is a meaningless one. The Blue Jackets (49-23-8) know they cannot move out of third position in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers (38-33-9) of course know they will be at home watching the post season.
This will be the third time in five years the Flyers are watching the post season at home. These final two games will determine their draft position in this years NHL Draft.
Steve Mason got the nod in net against the Blue Jackets. Realistically, this could be his final game suiting up as a member of the Flyers organization. He had this to say to Philly.com yesterday, “To be honest with you, I haven’t really given it that much thought that it might be my last game. I’m sure that it will hit me after the weekend is over…It could be a sad weekend, I guess.”
Mason may have wanted to show the Flyers top brass that he belongs here because he was nothing short of phenomenal. He made 20 saves propelling the Flyers to a 4-2 victory. The victory shows the Flyers brass that they are playing for next year, and they will not give up given the circumstances.
The Flyers came out of the gate hungry and determined to knock off a playoff bound opponent. They found themselves out shooting the Blue Jackets 4-2 through the first ten minutes of the game. Both goaltenders looked good, keeping the game scoreless.
Late in the opening period, the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. Their perseverance of sticking with it finally paid off. Chris Vandevelde made a nice pass to Pierre Bellemare as they entered the Blue Jackets zone. Bellemare took a snap wrist shot on Bobrovsky from the top of the right circle. The puck found its way past Bobrovsky for a 1-0 Flyers lead. It was Bellemare’s 4th goal of the year, and his first in 36 games.
Moments later, the feel good Flyers seemed to gain some momentum from their late goal. Brayden Schenn entered the Blue Jackets zone on an odd man rush with Michael Del Zotto. Schenn threaded a pass over to the cutting Del Zotto. Del Zotto made no mistake and deposited the puck past Bobrovsky for a 2-0 Flyers lead. It was Del Zotto’s 6th goal of the season.
The first period came to a close with the Flyers dominating the majority of play throughout the first period. They found themselves leading the Blue Jackets 2-0 at the end of the period. Despite being outplayed through the majority of the first period, the Blue Jackets made a late push in the shot total. However, the Flyers did wind up out-shooting the Blue Jackets 10-7 for the period, and also won the faceoff margin 53%-47%.
The Flyers entered the second period determined to take command of the game. However, just 44 seconds into the period, Shayne Gostisbehere took a holding penalty. On the ensuing power play, Seth Jones took a slap shot from the top of the point. Mason had trouble finding the puck through traffic, and the puck found its way past him cutting the Flyers lead to 2-1.
Things went from good to unknown for the Flyers after allowing an early goal. Like they have all season, the Flyers never gave up and it paid off with 14:50 left in the third period. Scott Hartnell took a roughing penalty, thus placing the Flyers on the power play. Just 28 seconds into the power play, Jakub Voracek one timed the puck past Bobrovsky off a nice feed from Claude Giroux. It was Voracek’s 20th goal of the year, and it gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead.
With the Flyers dominating the Blue Jackets through the first half of the second period, Kyle Quincey took a tripping penalty at 10:47. The Flyers could not cash in on the power play, but did manage two shots on net. Bobrovsky made both saves keeping the score 3-1 Flyers.
With 6:30 remaining in the second period, Brandon Manning and Josh Anderson got into a tussle. Neither player won the fight, as both players hit the ice at the same time to end the bout. Manning did receive a standing ovation from the sell out crowd in Philadelphia.
Towards the end of the second period, the Flyers were trying to continue their momentum against the Blue Jackets. Ivan Provorov blasted a puck off a nice feed from Andrew MacDonald past Bobrovsky for a 4-1 Flyers lead.
The Flyers were struggling to maintain possession late in the third period, and the Blue Jackets made sure to take full advantage. Seth Jones cranked a slap shot from the point with Mason making the easy right pad save. Boone Jenner found the rebound, and slammed the puck past Mason cutting the Flyers deficit to 4-2.
The Flyers man handled the Blue Jackets with their dominate play in the second period, and it ended with them leading 4-2. They fired 10 shots on net for the period. The Blue Jackets lost the faceoff margin 54%-46%, while firing 5 shots on net for the period.
Early in the third period, Scott Hartnell was called for a hooking penalty. The Flyers registered 2 shots on goal, but Bobrovsky made both saves keeping the score 4-2 Flyers. This left the Flyers 1-for-4 on the power play for the night.
About midway in the third period, the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. However, Brandon Manning was called for a hooking penalty. On the ensuing power play, the Blue Jackets managed three shots on net, but Mason made all three saves keeping the score 4-2 Flyers.
The Flyers outplayed the Blue Jackets in the third period, and they wound up winning 4-2. The Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets 24-22 for the game, and they won the faceoff margin 62%-38%.
With positions on the line for next season, the Flyers came out with a lot of energy. They put together a complete team effort to beat the struggling Blue Jackets, sending them to their 6th straight loss. This proves yet again that there is no quit in this team. Hopefully they bring some of the same energy for tomorrow’s season finale against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 pm.
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Mandatory Photo Credit: Cal Sport Media via AP Images