The Flyers looked incredibly comfortable deep into the first period of last night’s game against the Islanders. An early 3-0 lead set the tone for a team desperate to counter-punch, but as time went on, the foot came off the gas. New York forced their way back into the game, pushing it to overtime. The Flyers came out on top all thanks to a goal from a player who continues his ascent to stardom – Philippe Myers.
Sean Couturier was the man who fed the young defenseman, who picked his spot perfectly to send it flying past Greiss, who had saved 20 shots in relief of Varlamov.
“When we have the puck down low, they sort of collapse. I was calling the pass there from Coots. He gave it to me. I was trying to get it on net as quick as possible because I had a lane. Like I said earlier, it had a good bounce and went in. Really happy it did. We’ll take it.”
With that goal, Myers became the first Flyers defenseman to score an overtime goal since Andy Delmore back in Game 3 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Pittsburgh. It was also just the seventh overtime playoff winner by a defenseman in franchise history.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Myers is now just the second rookie defenseman in franchise history to score an OT playoff goal. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. The former UDFA has been red-hot this postseason.
Against the Bruins in the Round-robin, he led the team in ice-time, and fired in a goal before helping to create another. The 23-year-old then went on to score a gorgeous goal in the series against the Canadiens.
“We got a lot of good defensemen in this organization. Some older than others. Those young guys, Phil, Travis, Provy and Hagger, they eat up some serious minutes.” Said Kevin Hayes after the game. “They give our team the best chance to win every night. I think Sanny and Myesy has grown tremendously this year from that start of the season until now. They’re great duo out there. They make a lot of things happen.”
Hayes was quick to note the maturity of Myers and that is clearly reflected by his composure and confidence in what are easily the biggest games of his young career. That composure follows him off the ice too, with Myers refusing to bask in the glory of that iconic goal.
“I think we’re going to carry the momentum into tomorrow’s game. Obviously we got to regroup, we can’t get too high or too low.” Myers told reporters. “I think we’re just going to get ready like any other game tomorrow. We got to forget about today, sort of. I think it definitely gives a little momentum there.”
It’s a short turnaround for Myers, who faces his next test at 7PM tonight in the way of picking up where he left off against an Islanders team who will not take this loss lightly. But if there’s anyone up to the challenge, it’s the young defenseman who has combined for 14 hits, 5 blocks, and a clutch game-winning goal in his last three games. The sky is oh so high for the 6’5, 212 lbs d-man, and he is only just beginning to spread his wings.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre