Strangest of Endings Give Flyers a Win to Build On
You won’t find many endings quite like this one. Alain Vigneault said he had never seen a game end like this. In the fifth round of the shootout, the last hope for the Bruins was Brad Marchand, who has been a money man in shootouts.
Marchand skated toward center ice with speed, went to play the puck, and...missed it? In real time, that’s almost what it looked like. Marchand went by without the puck and turned back. Carter Hart started to come out to play his position and had to stop. False start, right? Except Marchand had actually played the puck, moving it a few inches forward as he whiffed on the attempt. By rule, the attempt counts and the Flyers had completed their comeback, turning a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 win.
“You could see the puck move. It is pretty lucky,” Hart said, “but for us to battle back and play like that, we deserve to win.”
“Especially a guy like him,” Sean Couturier said of Marchand’s gaffe. “It is what it is. We’ll take the win.”
For the Flyers, it turned out to be another win on home ice that came out of a game that resembled the kind of loose structure that you see in October as a team finds its footing. Lately, the Flyers have been a solid defensive team on home ice. They had not allowed four goals -- excluding the fourth tally awarded for a shootout win -- since a 7-4 win over Columbus on Oct. 26.
The five goals the Flyers allowed in regulation were the most they have allowed on home ice all season. It took the Bruins less than half of the game to reach that.
The Bruins really seemed to be exposing the Flyers lack of depth throughout the game. The Flyers were trying new lines. The third defensive pairing of Robert Hagg and Mark Friedman was a mismatch even for the Bruins third line. Gaps were an issue, allowing for skill players to take lead passes in dangerous scoring areas. When David Krejci scored his second goal of the game at 7:21 of the second period, it felt like the first dose of road play in the Flyers home arena. The onslaught was on and it seemed there was no stopping it.
The Flyers got opportunistic late in the second period. Couturier scored a goal through the legs of Jaroslav Halak without getting much of a shot off. The Flyers energy level changed from there and there was constant pressure in the Boston zone.
“I wasn’t crazy about our first period,” Vigneault said. “We were able to get that power play goal which obviously helped us a little bit but I thought the second and third period our compete level was a lot higher even though we were down by 3. I liked our compete level, missed a couple of assignments that led to grade A chances that led to goals but our compete level was there and guys just stuck with it. Scored one, scored two and obviously we got that big one in the third and had a couple of real good chances 3-on-3, took to shootout, found a way to win the game.”
There is certainly something about home ice for the Flyers. After a 1-4-1 road trip that concluded with a sloppy overtime loss in Carolina, the Flyers returned home the next night and shut down the Washington Capitals. They held the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning to one goal in a shutout loss. They now defeated another top team and needed a dramatic comeback to do it.
It’s certainly not an ideal way to win a game, but the Flyers will take the two points and look to build on it.
“I think the opponents spoke for themselves, you got Washington then you got Tampa and tonight you got Boston,” Vigneault said. “You knew they were going to be three tough games, we had to take those games one at a time, which we did. I liked our game in all three of them, they were all different. The Washington game, coming back home and having to play that night, that was out of the ordinary. The Tampa was a tight checking game from both teams and they got a bounce on their goal and tonight it was just a little bit more wide open. There’s three different games where I think everybody enjoyed it and now we got to go to St. Louis and find a way to win that road game.”
“It’s a big positive for us,” Travis Konecny said. “We went through a little stretch where we were struggling, so to comeback against a team like this, it puts us right up there and we know we can win against these teams.”