Who didn’t see that coming?
No seriously. If you didn’t see that ending coming, you clearly don’t understand what it means to be a Flyers fan.
For the second consecutive game, the orange and black blew a two-goal lead and a chance at two points in the standings after dominating a large portion of the action. It was mostly self-inflicted.
The Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals in the second period and made a perfect play in overtime to steal a 5-4 victory away from the Flyers.
As usual, there were positives and negatives even in defeat. Let’s break it all down:
Leave it to the rosey-cheeked Prince to end the drought. When Patrick found the back of the net at the 14:02 mark of the second period on Saturday, he became the first Flyers forward not named Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek or Claude Giroux to score a goal since Dale Weise’s tally at the 6:37 mark of the third period against the Colorado Avalanche … exactly two weeks ago on Nov. 4. You can even make a case that Patrick was the best Flyer on the ice against Calgary, too. That’s even more impressive when you factor in he’s being eased back into the lineup after missing some time with a head injury. Patrick was engaged physically and offensively all afternoon long. He finished with four shots on goal, two takeaways and a hit in just under 14 minutes of ice time. And his goal? It was a thing of beauty. The 2017 No. 2 overall pick displayed some nice patience, pulling the curling puck in and calmly tossing it under Mike Smith’s arm. It’s crazy what happens when you generate offense from down low, isn’t it? Patrick had another great chance with 12 minutes remaining in the game from the slot. He was like a hawk on the Flames’ defense and seemed to gain more and more confidence as the game progressed.
Anyone else get the feeling Sanheim is going to explode with a four-point game sometime soon? The rookie defenseman is doing everything the correct way offensively. Whether it’s joining the rush or getting a quick shot on net, he’s looking more comfortable each and every game. Travis Konecny found Sanheim with a stellar cross-ice feed in the second period but Smith came up with a huge save on the pinch. Sanheim is just inches away from his first NHL marker. He’s had scoring opportunities in high-danger areas in at least five consecutive games. His progress in the defensive zone has been fun to track, as well. Sanheim is consistently making smart decisions with the puck on his blade. He knows when to press forward or when to retreat. The 21-year-old made veteran forward Troy Brouwer look absolutely silly with a nifty sidestep deke in the second period. Brouwer missed Sanheim badly and skated full speed into the boards while the play went the other way for the Flyers. Impressive stuff from the youngster.
We’re running out of nice things to say about Couturier. This isn’t just a hot streak. This is a player who has the pieces around him to score and he’s taking full advantage of it. Couturier picked up his 12th goal of the season against the Flames and had a game-high five shots on target to go along with two takeaways in the offensive zone. It was your typical Couturier score, too. Voracek put a nice shot on Smith during a Flyers power play and the rebound popped out to the slot. Couturier, excellently positioned, corralled the puck and quickly roofed a perfect shot. Greasy. That’s just a case of a guy getting the job done. Couturier nearly had a second tally on a separate man advantage when Giroux found him for a one-timer up high. You have to love his “shoot-first” mentality while on the ice with playmakers like Giroux, Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere. The results are there. His three power-play goals are already a career-high. He’s also just three goals away from matching a career-high for an entire season. It’s Nov. 19 and the Flyers are just 20 games in. Crazy.
Gostisbehere let his emotions get the best of him in the middle frame on Saturday and it wound up hurting his team greatly. The third-year Flyers defenseman, after a frustrating shift in which he took a stick up high and a blocked shot to the stomach area, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the bench after yapping at an official. Was Gostisbehere justified? Yes. Michael Raffl was punched in the face right in front of the Flyers’ bench and it went uncalled. When you look at who was reffing, you’ll have no problem understanding why. Tim Peel is notorious for letting things go and making the game about himself. Still, Gostisbehere has to be more composed. He painted a target on his back and was whistled for another minor shortly after when he got his elbow up while finishing a check along the boards. He had to have known Peel was going to be looking for any reason to throw him back in the box. Is that fair? Absolutely not. It’s a joke really. But that’s Peel for you. The Flames cashed in on Gostisbehere’s second penalty to tie the game at 4-4 less than a minute after Patrick put the Flyers back up a score. Gostisbehere admitted after the game that he wasn’t the best teammate and how he understands he needs to avoid putting his club in that situation. He knows he can’t control how the game is called. As Frank the Tank once said, “We can’t have anyone freak out out there, OK. We’ve got to keep our composure. We’ve gone too far. There’s too much to lose.” Wise man.
I’m really trying not to pick on this guy. It’s been incredibly hard to find anything positive to say though. Weise constantly makes things difficult. He’s been put in a role where it’s impossible for him to succeed. That’s not his fault but it’s evident he is struggling. For what seems like the one millionth time this season, he took yet another unnecessary penalty at an inopportune time for the Flyers. In the second period, he was assessed a high-sticking penalty in the offensive zone that not only negated a Flyers power play but also a glorious scoring chance by Konecny. That’s a big momentum swing. The Flyers were close to making it a three-goal lead but, instead, the Flames capitalized with Weise in the box and the Flyers down a man. Weise needs to be smarter with his stick. It’s laziness at this point.
For a while, it looked like Manning was going to have a solid afternoon. He alertly threw a puck on net through traffic about a minute and a half into the game and it found its way off the post and past the goal line for his third goal of the season. A few minutes later, he made a bad breakout pass that resulted in a scoring chance against but redeemed himself with a good stick check on Johnny Gaudreau in the defensive zone. Then Manning unraveled. On the Flames’ second goal, Sean Monahan snuck behind Manning back door and put home his first of three goals. Granted, the Flyers were on a penalty kill but Manning has to be aware of his surroundings. He was too high in the slot and Monahan went unmarked. Not long after, Manning took a whack at Matt Stajan’s hands and was called for slashing. A Brandon Manning slashing penalty? You don’t say. He’s not adjusting to the crack down NHL refs have made on those type of plays at all. Sure enough, the Flames scored with Manning in the box. Notice a trend here?