The Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-3) broke their scoring drought early against the Winnipeg Jets (11-4-3) Thursday night, but fell right back into one the rest of the night. It cost them again as the Jets scored with 48 seconds left in the third period and went onto win the contest, 3-2, in a shootout.
By the first commercial break of the game, the Flyers’ scoring drought was forgotten about. Just five minutes into the game, the team had already scored twice.
Jake Voracek got the scoring started when he fought off Jake Trouba to stuff in a rebound off a Sean Couturier shot. It was Voracek’s fourth goal of the season and third in five games.
The Flyers have scored a goal. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/ng8v97a42H
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) November 17, 2017
About three minutes later, Couturier gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead on the power play. Dustin Byfuglien took a tripping penalty moments before against the Flyers’ fourth line.
On the goal, Voracek made a pass across the slot to Wayne Simmonds in the low left crease, who put a shot into Connor Hellebuyck’s pads. The rebound went to Couturier in the slot. The Arizona native made no mistake and put his shot through Hellebuyck’s five-hole for his second point of the night.
It wasn’t all roses though for the Flyers. About five minutes after the second goal, defenseman Radko Gudas was ejected for hitting Matthieu Perreault in the head with his stick after knocking him to the ice.
Originally, the call was just a slashing minor, but after the Winnipeg crowd’s reaction to the replay, the officials ejected Gudas.
Radko Gudas ejected for this slash on Mathieu Perreault pic.twitter.com/V3KlywhYkj
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) November 17, 2017
On the man advantage, the Jets got their best chance when Nikolaj Ehlers made a cross-ice pass to Bryan Little. Brian Elliott made a diving save to stop the prime chance.
Besides that, the Flyers defense did a good job of quieting the Jets’ offense on the three-minute power play (Perreault earned a two-minute penalty for roughing) and the rest of the period.
The second period took a more physical turn and it ended up with the Jets coming away with the lone goal.
On the Flyers’ second penalty of the period, Travis Sanheim turned over the puck in the Jets’ zone off a faceoff win. Joel Armia and Perrault went on a 2-on-1 off the turnover against Brandon Manning.
The Philly blueliner went to one knee to attempt to block a pass, but Armia was able to slide it through his legs to Perrault who went left to right to beat Elliott.
The scariest moment for the Flyers happened earlier, though, when Byfuglien hit Jordan Weal in the neutral zone. It looked like the former Blackhawk extended his elbow, but missed Weal’s head. A penalty was not called on the play and Weal returned for his next shift.
The Flyers were mostly quiet in the second stanza as they stymied the Jets’ mounting attack and continued with just five defensemen. Their best chance came with less than a minute left when the first line was sent on a 3-on-2 but missed the net on a Claude Giroux backhand attempt.
Most times when a team is down a goal in the last minute, you’ll be able to feel if the tie is coming. The team facing a deficit will dominate play, get a ton of shots and chances and/or come close to tying throughout the period.
None of that happened for the Jets, but they still tied the game with just 48 seconds left. The third period was mainly lackluster from both sides, but when it mattered, Mark Schiefele delivered.
With the Jets controlling play in the last minute, Schiefele found the soft spot in the Flyers’ slot as the puck went behind the net to Blake Wheeler. Wheeler dished the puck right away to Schiefele and the center blew the puck past Elliott.
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) November 17, 2017
Before that, the period was mainly back-and-forth play with neither team dominating. The Flyers got most of their best chances from Couturier and the first line, while Elliott needed to make two crucial saves against Andrew Copp; one at the beginning of the period and one at the end.
Philly missed the net just about as many times as it hit it during the five-minute overtime. Three shots sailed high and fast over Hellebuyck during the first few minutes. The game could have ended there if any had hit the net or if any had sent the Jets on a breakway.
But none of them did, even though Winnipeg was awarded a power play with just over a minute left when the Flyers took a too many men penalty. It didn’t last long though as Patrick Laine took a high-sticking penalty with 18 seconds left in overtime.
The Jets and Flyers traded goals through the first four attempts. Blake Wheeler was the first to miss, giving Giroux a chance to end the game on the next shot.
He wasn’t able to and Bryan Little scored on a wrist shot off Elliott’s glove on the next shot. Travis Konecny couldn’t beat Hellebuyck to keep the shootout going and the Jets took the win.
The Flyers ended their drought, but it was still the first line and the power play finding the back of the net. In the last four games, only members of the first line have scored for Philadelphia. Against the Jets, the small problem of ending the drought was solved. But statistics showed that wasn’t going to last much longer anyways. The larger problem of getting some depth scoring is still prevalent for the Flyers.
Nolan Patrck had an unspectacular, but solid night in his return. The rookie missed eight games with an “upper-body injury” and returned to center the third line with Wayne Simmonds and Dale Weise on Thursday night. Coach Dave Hakstol decided to work Patrick in slowly, playing just 7:58 on the night. However, he didn’t shy away from the rough stuff, sandwiching a Jets player once behind the Flyers’ net in the second period. Most noticeably, though, was the fact Hakstol didn’t play Patrick on the powerplay or in overtime. It’s likely that was to ease Patrick into game play again.
For the third game in a row, goalie Brian Elliott wasn’t rewarded properly for a strong game. In the past three games, the former Blue has let up just four goals (two Wild goals were empty-netters Tuesday night), yet has no wins to show. Against the Jets, Elliott made 31 saves, some of them difficult and necessary to keep the Flyers in the lead, but the team couldn’t bail him out with less than a minute left in regulation.
Radko Gudas deserved to be ejected from the game for his dangerous slash on Perrault, but the refs couldn’t have handled it in a much worse way. According to the NHL, officials aren’t allowed to use the replay on scoreboards to influence a call, but it seemed like they did after awarding just a minor penalty to Gudas. But all that aside, it could mean supplemental discipline for the Czech defenseman. Personally, I don’t believe the slash was intentional, but it may not matter much when it comes to the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Calgary Flames at Flyers
Saturday, Nov. 18 1 P.M., NBCSP