How the Flyers bounced back in an impressive win over the Devils

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The Philadelphia Flyers bounce back from losing two straight, taking the first from the New Jersey Devils by a final of 5-3.

It was an important win that the Philadelphia Flyers needed. Alain Vigneault made proper adjustments to the lineup to get back in the win column. Once more, the powerplay units were effective, boosting the Flyers in the first and second periods. Every once of effort was required to put away the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Let’s dissect how Philadelphia was able to come out victorious.

First Period

Defensively, the Flyers were able to correct their personnel. Slowing down the offensive output of opponents became a challenge over the last two games in Boston.

Philippe Myers is still week-to-week with a broken rib, but Vigneault and Yeo made the right adjustments. As desired, the return of Shayne Gostisbehere proved to be effective. He found his role with Ivan Provorov on the top pair.

Early on, the Devils took to the powerplay. Across the league, powerplay units have been thriving while penalty-kill units are eaten alive. Brian Elliott turned away dangerous scoring chances, allowing Michael Raffl to transition down the ice for a shorthanded opportunity. In close, Raffl froze, allowing Scott Wedgewood to make a save. The penalty-kill did the job, however.

New Jersey had the early pressure turned on high, but Travis Sanheim disrupted passing lanes. His intelligent play in the defensive zone proved to be a big help for Elliott. The veteran goaltender was the culprit of a few circus saves in the first period, proving Chuck Fletcher correct regarding his contract extension during the 2020 offseason. He was rewarded when Philadelphia went on their first powerplay. Great movement from the top powerplay unit created space for Provorov to take a wrist shot from the point, scoring first via a deflection by James van Riemsdyk.

On that scoring play, Jakub Voracek notched his 400th career assist as a Flyer. He continues to be a productive asset throughout his entire tenure in Philadelphia as he inches closer to 500 assists in his career.

Second Period

Back on the powerplay, the second of the night for the Flyers, van Riemsdyk was busy again. He secured his second powerplay goal in just as many opportunities early in the second period. Showing his value, van Riemsdyk has been a streaky scorer through the first seven games of the season. The powerplay unit was the Achilles heel as recent as the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs for Philadelphia. So far, the powerplay is much improved.

Elliott had his shutout period streak snapped just after the halfway point of the second period. The Devils were able to create havoc with forwards stacked at the crease. Mike McLeod scored his first NHL goal, cutting the Flyers lead in half. A little more than five minutes later, Travis Zajac found his way on the stat sheet. Another redirect goal tied the game, 2-2, swinging the momentum away to New Jersey.

Third Period

Philadelphia needed to make a momentum play to dictate the pace of the game in the third period. When teams head to the locker room during a tied game, momentum is up for grabs in the first five minutes of a new period. The Devils had scoring chances but couldn’t win the game of inches. A few pucks were denied by goalposts, helping Elliott in the net. As it turns out, it was all the help the Flyers needed.

Claude Giroux is timeless. He didn’t look to shoot after shaking Wedgewood down to the ice. Instead, he found Nolan Patrick with a pass, setting a clean look at a nearly empty net for a goal. There was the momentum play Philadelphia needed. Patrick secured the lead for the Flyers, 3-2.

Moments later, Connor Bunnaman had a grand opportunity to score his first of the season. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish a high percentage opportunity. In place of Morgan Frost, Bunnaman nearly contributed to a team victory. Joel Farabee made right on the misfire, cleaning up Scott Laughton’s rebound. Great forechecking in the third period accounted for the game-winning goal.

Down by two goals, the Devils began to unravel. Bad penalties were putting the Flyers back on the powerplay. Soon after, Wedgewood was pulled to give New Jersey a six-on-five advantage. Provorov sank an empty-net goal from nearly full ice. The Devils would get one back from Pavel Zacha, who scored late.

The three Flyers stars

The final score from the Prudential Center in New Jersey was 5-3. Elliott improved to 2-0-0 in 2020-2021. For the first time this season, Philadelphia had more shots on goal than their opponents.

Next Up for the Flyers

Thursday night, the Flyers are back at the Prudential Center to face the Devils in their second game of the New Jersey road trip. Puck drop is at 7pm, and the action will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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