With Kevin Hayes back in the lineup for the first time since his re-injury in December, the Flyers looked to redeem themselves from their last loss. Going against the struggling Chicago Blackhawks, the Philadelphia Flyers set to get their fourth win of the calendar year. Martin Jones is in net for the Flyers, looking for his first win since December 29th. Kevin Lankinen is in net for the Blackhawks.
The Flyers started out the period hot with a faceoff win from Derick Brassard at center ice. From that faceoff win on, the orange and black would dominate the offensive possession for the majority of the period. Kevin Hayes’ first shift back seemed like he hadn’t missed a beat, with a great shot at 17:39. The JVR-Hayes-Lindblom line was the real showstopper in this period. Oskar Lindblom kept the chemistry of the line going by tipping in a shot from the point by Travis Sanheim at 15:14. The Flyers took the lead, 1-0.
The Blackhawks were struggling to keep the puck out of their own zone. Connor Murphy took an interference penalty on Claude Giroux at 13:43. The Flyers are 2 for their last 31 powerplays at home, placing them 30th in the league.
Even after a few good looks by Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov, the powerplay remained unsuccessful. Martin Jones was not challenged at all until the last 3 minutes of the period. The Flyers had been leading in shots 11-5 with only 4 minutes remaining in the period. The Blackhawks caught their footing, however, and Dylan Strome (brother of Lehigh Valley Phantom Matt Strome) attempted to go top shelf on Martin Jones. Jones with his quick reflexes, denies the Strome brother with a sharp save. Jones’ best save of the period came in the last 5 seconds of the period on a shot from Riley Stillman. Jones slid across the crease with ease to stop the puck and keep the Flyers lead. The Flyers go into the second period leading in shots (12-10) and leading in the score, 1-0.
Something shifted for both teams during the first intermission. The Blackhawks were playing a completely different game from the start of the second, piling on the offensive pressure. Alex Debrincat did exactly that with a great pass from the faceoff win from Jonathan Toews with 19:36 remaining in the period.
Not only was Chicago’s offense making up for their lack of presence in the first period, but their defense was catching up. After a too many men penalty on Chicago with 16:10 remaining, the Flyers went on another unsuccessful power play. There was one good look from Rasmus Ristolainen, missing just wide from the top of the crease.
Chicago answers the deflating powerplay with a goal from Dylan Strome with 7:21 left. The Flyers, after trailing for the first time in this game, try to pot one in from Ristolainen with a shot from the point. Derick Brassard and Riley Stillman get into a bit of a kerfuffle after the save from Lankinen, causing a bit of a ruckus in the crease. No penalties are handed out and the Flyers continue to try to tie this game back up. Cam Atkinson saw the bat signal, and decided to answer the call with a great tic-tac-toe pass from Brassard and Joel Farabee with 4:32 left.
Brassard and Ristolainen were not finished with what they had started a few minutes prior, everyone grabbing a partner and getting into another couple of fights. Penalties are handed out to Chicago’s Toews and Calvin de Haan for roughing. Brassard also gets a roughing penalty, but the Flyers head to another powerplay. As if anyone could have guessed it, it was also unsuccessful.
Dylan Strome scores his second of the afternoon with 1:45 remaining in the period. Chicago now leads in shots (22-19), and where it matters the most, the score. Flyers trail the Blackhawks 3-2 into the third.
If there is anything to be said about the third period, it’s that it was definitely physical. Both teams were trying to make up for their lack of defense, so going after other players is the way to go. Aside from the physical play happening around him, Brassard scores his 5th goal of the season to tie up the score with 16:51 left in the game.
With 11:32 left in the third period, Cam Atkinson decided to have himself a night and score his 2nd of the night and 20th goal of the season, scoring from the high slot and getting past Lankinen. The Flyers now lead 4-2, with a lot of hockey left to play.
To say there was a lot of hockey left to play is an understatement. The Blackhawks wanted to regain control of their lead and with that, Kirby Dach attempted to be physical with a hit on Kevin Connauton, injuring Connauton on the play. After a few shifts, another giant brouhaha broke out. Multiple penalties were given to both teams leading to 4-on-4 hockey. However, not long after that, Oskar Lindblom and Seth Jones got tied up with one another, leading to 2 minutes for holding for Jones, and 4 minute double minor for high sticking for Lindblom. This double minor led to having Zack MacEwen serve in the penalty box, leading to the most guys the Flyers have had in the box at one time this season.
Chicago’s powerplay was just as successful as Philadelphia’s, meaning it was unsuccessful. The Flyers managed to hold onto a third period lead which seems like a rarity this season. The Philadelphia Flyers win against the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3. Chicago led in shots (29-27), but that was not enough. This is now the fourth game that the Flyers have won in the year 2022.
When asked about his first game back from injury, Kevin Hayes had this to say.
It’s night and day how I feel, compared to the previous 15 games I played.Kevin Hayes, 3/5/2022
Cam Atkinson was asked about where some of the emotion game from in tonight’s game, he responded:
You just kind of have to look at how this season has gone. It’s nice to get a full barn, and the fans were supporting us which is always nice. Cam Atkinson, 3/5/2022
The Philadelphia Flyers remain at home for their final game on their 8 game home stretch against the red hot Vegas Golden Knights. That game will air on ESPN+ and NBCSports Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 8th at 7pm.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire