The Philadelphia Flyers visited the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Did they earn the underdog victory, becoming the one in 5-1-0?
Tonight was a story of two defenses. Was the Edmonton Oilers defense dominant as advertised? Were the Philadelphia Flyers better than how the homestand unfolded?
The Oilers have elite special teams. They were likely to score on the powerplay and be stubborn on the penalty kill. The Flyers were fantastic at mitigating the damage. Less than ten team penalty minutes were served for Alain Vigneault‘s lineup.
At the end of regulation, did I predict the right outcome? Here’s how tonight unfolded from Rogers Centre:
The Philadelphia Flyers test the Edmonton Oilers’ powerplay early. Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam Atkinson, and Zack MacEwen committed penalties, but the Flyers penalty kill allowed one powerplay goal. I highlighted the Oilers’ powerplay performance this season. They’re the best. Congratulations if you put money on a powerplay goal from Edmonton.
Despite committing three penalties, Philadelphia converted on scoring opportunities. They were more opportunistic than possessive. Claude Giroux continued padding an already generous point total against the Oilers. Then, Nate Thompson scored his first of the season.
Atkinson wasn’t having it, putting the Flyers back into the lead with .7 seconds remaining. After one, Philadelphia led, 3-2.
Alain Vigneault credits his goaltenders for giving the team a chance to win. Carter Hart did that in the second period.
Early on, the Edmonton Oilers tied the game again, 3-3. Zach Hyman rallied a rebound past Hart. After that, Hart did not allow another goal throughout a heavily possessive Oilers period.
Connor McDavid had a couple of other scoring chances after Hyman tied the game.
One rang off the post. The other was disrupted by Travis Sanheim on the backcheck. Edmonton should probably be leading this game, but Hart kept his team in the game throughout the rest of the period. I predicted a 4-3 victory in favor of the Oilers, which is well intact.
During the second period, Rasmus Ristolainen took a puck off the face. He left the ice holding ice to his face. Already missing Ryan Ellis, the Philadelphia Flyers will rely on Ivan Provorov for the shifts Ristolainen will miss. The forwards must start hot in the third period. Hart cannot continue to face this much pressure without challenging Edmonton.
Cam Atkinson and the Philadelphia Flyers forwards started hot. Atkinson uncorked a slapshot from the faceoff dot past Mikko Koskinen to regain the lead for the Flyers. From there, Philadelphia never looked back.
Rasmus Ristolainen was healthy enough to contribute in the third period. Ivan Provorov played an extended shift with Travis Sanheim early in the period. Behind the defense, Carter Hart remained dialed in. The last forty minutes of regulation featured disciplined hockey from the Flyers.
Travis Konecny served for interference, but Philadelphia killed the penalty again.
Finishing off the Edmonton Oilers, Sean Couturier scored on the empty net chance. In regulation, the Flyers won 5-3, defeating the previously undefeated Oilers.
Philadelphia’s penalty kill was the real heroes tonight alongside Hart. They limited Edmonton to a 25% success rate on the powerplay. Atkinson earned first-star honors for his two goals, keeping the Flyers above water. Hart earned third-star honors for his performance. Tonight, Philadelphia proved they can hang with ace competition in the NHL.
Tomorrow, the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Vancouver Canucks in game two of their three-game tour of Western Canada. The puck drops at 10 pm.