Heading into last night’s game, the Philadelphia Flyers received the late news that they would be without Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov. Each team missed players crucial to their game plan.
“Guys are testing positive with no symptoms or mild symptoms. I mean, the league’s got to find a way to change that. We’re either going to keep playing shorthanded all season long or games are going to keep getting postponed. It’s a joke. It’s got to change.”Carter Hart; 1/5/2022
A win on the road means the Flyers stay on the cusp on an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Already a playoff team, the Anaheim Ducks are here to defeat teams that they should. The philosophy is similar but different for Philadelphia. They are here to steal any points towards the NHL standings.
My focus remained on the Ducks’ Max Comtois and the Flyers’ Justin Braun. Both teams are missing the brunt of their team scoring. The winner will defend tightly via the support of a healthy forecheck from forwards. Comtois fits that bill in Anaheim. Braun needs to adapt to Cam York, making his season debut.
Carter Hart and John Gibson go head to head. Last night was the first game for Hart in nineteen days. Gibson was following a loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Could Philadelphia steal momentum before they came home from the west coast?
It’s usually the second period of games that sink the Philadelphia Flyers. In the first, they departed the port of call without a map. They looked lost.
“[Hampus] Lindholm threw one on net and I reacted to the side to make a save. It hits [Troy] Terry and just kind of deflects over my shoulder. Tough play.”Carter Hart; 1/5/2022
Troy Terry likely stole the map because he found the back of the net twice in ten minutes. What looked like a bar-down snipe from Hampus Lindholm was later credited to Terry via a deflection. Minutes later, Jamie Drysdale banked the puck off the boards, springing Terry in transition. Travis Sanheim couldn’t recover his position, and Terry shook Carter Hart at the crease. Just like that, the Anaheim Ducks led 2-0.
Cam York didn’t look out of place in the opening period. He and Justin Braun were the best pair on the ice. The Anaheim native had family in the crowd, audibly starting chants to support the Flyers on the road.
“If there’s one thing for me as a coach, or fans to feel good about, it was the play of Cam York. I thought he was outstanding tonight. We didn’t try to shelter him, let’s put it that way.”Mike Yeo; 1/5/2022
Joel Farabee worked for an assist, setting up a Cam Atkinson goal. Farabee kept attacking the net, and his playmaking cut the deficit.
Entering the second, Philadelphia trailed, 2-1.
Without a steady foundation, both teams needed to maintain the finer details. Though the Philadelphia Flyers gave a better effort in the second, the Anaheim Ducks were more disciplined.
James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny almost realized a couple of career milestone moments. If van Riemsdyk scored against the Ducks, it would complete his leaguewide collection. Konecny is banging on the door of his hundredth career goal. John Gibson wouldn’t allow these moments to be celebrated, turning both players away more than once.
Sonny Milano was a pest. He went for the dual-Michigan with Vinni Lettieri, but the puck sailed high. Later in the period, he took three stiff body checks from Rasmus Ristolainen. Answering the call, Milano scored on a powerplay. Ristolainen seemed shaken up after blocking a shot, so Milano took advantage, extending the lead to 3-1.
Mike Yeo challenged the goal, but the decision remained. It was a close call regarding the challenge for goaltender interference. Overall, the officials took a glance and got it right.
There isn’t much to be excited about on the Philadelphia Flyers side of the discussion. Against depleted teams, they haven’t been able to cash in on opportunities. A standalone silver lining from tonight would be the performance from Cam York. He’s ready for the NHL. If Keith Yandle wasn’t about to snap the consecutive start record, Chuck Fletcher ought to shoehorn York in his place.
“I think he was solid. We know he’s a good player. He’s got a lot of skill and a lot of talent. For his first game of the year, especially in his hometown here, I’m sure it was really special for him. It’s not easy stepping up into the first pair for your first game of the season. I thought he did a great job.”Carter Hart; 1/5/2022
Four on four hockey occupied chunks of the third period. Fewer players on the ice meant more space for scoring chances. John Gibson remained stubborn, shutting down all opportunities against him.
Eventually, Troy Terry finished with an empty-net goal, securing the first hat trick of his career. The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Flyers, 4-1.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Faceoff is tomorrow at 7pm on ESPN+.
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)