After an awful loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Flyers needed to shake things up and get back on the right track when they faced the Anaheim Ducks. Michael Raffl was back in the lineup for the first time in ten games, and Morgan Frost was sent back to Lehigh Valley. Robert Hagg was in as the last defenseman, kicking Phillipe Myers to be a healthy scratch.
Their planning seemed to work, as Coach Alain Vigneault’s thinking struck again in a 2-1 win against the Ducks in overtime.
The Ducks started this one the way the Flyers should have. The Ducks scored 35 seconds in by simply playing basic hockey. They got the puck deep, worked the corner, rolled high, and got it to the point. Erik Gudbranson took advantage of this and put the Ducks up 1-0 early.
After scoring in the last four games on the powerplay, the Flyers looked to tie this one back quick. However, after a Ducks tripping penalty, it quickly evened up after Aube-Kubel yard-saled a Duck player’s stick into the air.
The Flyers took note of what the Ducks were doing and simplified the game themselves. The puck was worked high and Voracek tossed it to the net. Sean Couturier then tucked the rebound home to tie the game at one apiece.
Despite a late slashing penalty to Mikhail Vorobyev, the Orange and Black looked to have more energy than they did about 22 hours prior to this puck drop. In the first, they outshot Anaheim 9-8* and were tied 1-1.
*Fun fact, Claude Giroux had five of these shots!
Pretty promising for a team that came into the game 8-0-2 (2-0-0 on the road) when tied after the first.
The Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line combination played very well. The dynamic trio was buzzing in the offensive zone each time they touched the ice through two periods.
The entire team, though, also came out with energy. They outshot the Ducks 8-0 in the first five minutes of the period alone, en route to their 14 total shots in the second.
Travis Konecny drew a tripping penalty with about three and a half minutes remaining. However, the Ducks controlled the tempo for these two minutes, having two breakaways.
Overall, the second period was not very eventful. Philadelphia completely dominated play. Nic Aube-Kubel led the spark with his solid defensive plays, while also generating plays and shots on the offensive end. The Flyers outshot the Ducks 14-5 in the period as the score stayed tied heading into the third.
The third period started off very slow. Aside from a Kevin Hayes breakaway chance that was rung off of Gibson’s head, nothing offensively was going on for either side.
This was until Mikhail Vorobyev took his second minor penalty of the game, tripping up Korbinian Holzer behind the Duck’s net. Midway through the first penalty, Matt Niskanen, who was evidently apologetic, cross-checked Adam Henrique from behind causing a 5-on-3 with 13 minutes left in the game.
Lucky for the Flyers though, the powerplay was not friendly for either team, as the Flyers went 0/2 for the Ducks 0/4. Brian Elliott led the way and stood tall on the penalty kill for the Flyers.
In fact, Elliott and Gibson traded huge saves back-to-back with half the period remaining. Hayes got denied on a great feed by Farabee as Elliott soon denied Deslauriers on the ensuing odd-man rush. The third period became an absolute goalie clinic.
After the 5 on 3, Anaheim seemed to have found life. The Ducks controlled the tempo of play for the last half of the period. However, nothing was able to get past the brick walls they call Brian Elliott and John Gibson.
Thus, onto overtime…
3 on 3 hockey is the best. Constant scoring chances and odd man counter rushes.
This was evident as Giroux fed Couturier in the first minute where Couts almost beat Gibson but tucked it just wide. The Ducks tried to stall in their own end, and almost turned it over. However, Ryan Getzlaf led the charge, made a nice move in the slot, and almost snuck it far side. This led to the counter rush, where Farabee sprung Konecny for a good scoring opportunity that rung off Gibson’s shoulder.
After a near goal after a Voracek turnover, Jakub made up for this by feeding Hayes up the middle for a breakaway. Hayes capitalized on this, beating Gibson for the game-winner.
Player of the Game:
Brian Elliot was the sole reason that the Flyers were even in this game. His saves late in the game, especially at the end of the third and overtime kept the Ducks from gaining an extra point. Elliot saved 27 of the 28 shots he faced, with about 10 of those coming when it really counted.
Overall, the Flyers played a very sound game. Their pressure and effort in the offensive zone showed promising signs of life after being shut down a night prior.
The Flyers ring in 2020 at Staples Center to take on former friend Jeff Carter and the Los Angeles Kings. Catch the game at 9 p.m. EST with coverage beginning at 8:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
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