The NHL schedule makers continued to pile onto the Flyers on Thursday night.
Dave Hakstol’s team completed its fourth set of back-to-back games in Brooklyn, New York, with a thrilling 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders.
This was the first time this season the Flyers won a set of back-to-backs, and they had to overcome a third-period deficit to do it.
There is no quit in Dave Hakstol’s club. They have become Philly’s latest “Comeback Kids,” a la the 1980 Phillies.
Here’s 10 thoughts on the game:
1. It’s obvious right now that Hakstol trusts Michal Neuvirth more than Steve Mason. Neuvirth was making a back-to-back start — his third straight game in net — in Brooklyn and was very sharp early despite facing just eight shots. Gotta like his two stops on Calvin de Haan and Nikolay Kulemin in the final two minutes of the first period to keep the game scoreless.
2. Not only does Barclays Center continue to look like a coffin — so dark that goalies have trouble picking up shots north/south — but the ice is terrible. There’s more snow build-up in 20 minutes there than your average storm in Philadelphia. Disgraceful ice and some player is going to get seriously injured there.
3. Is it me or has general manager Ron Hextall been “blessed” that every time he needs to make a roster or salary cap move, a player goes down injured and Hexy reaps the benefit of having the depth to fill in without biting nails over sending a player through waivers or having a salary cap issue that impedes the club moving forward? Obviously, Hexy has St. Jude on his side. You know, the patron saint of hopeless cases.
4. Coming into this game, Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas, who can be a dolt with his ill-advised checks, had 20 hits over his previous three games, plus several good defensive and offensive plays to help the Flyers in the goal department. He made a really good move on Isles captain John Tavares near the blue line to steal a puck and feed Travis Konecny for the game’s first goal in the second period. Used his brawn and his head, which he doesn’t always do.
It was Konecny’s first goal in five games and what I liked best about it was the rookie followed his own shot after Jaroslav Halak made the initial save. Gudas had two hits and two blocked shots in this game.
5. Neuvirth had two quality stops on Nick Leddy in the second period to keep the Islanders off the board before they scored on a 5-on-3 power play. That hooking call of Sean Couturier was very dubious. Neuvirth deserved to get out of the second period ahead 1-0 instead of tied with the Isles' power-play goal from Tavares.
6. The Flyers looked gassed by the third period. Again, this was their fourth back-to-back sequence in less than five weeks of play. Who could blame them? May be why young defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had six missed shots. That happens when you're tired.
7. Konecny made several very good plays with the puck to get it deep in the offensive zone and keep plays alive in this game. Hakstol said this week that he sees growth in Konecny every game.
8. Neuvirth was having such a strong game and then allowed a weak five-hole goal from ex-Flyer Dennis Seidenberg to break the 1-1 tie late in the third period. Gotta be genetics because Neuvirth and Steve Mason have been guilty of one really bad goal a game, even taking away the sloppy play at times in front of them. All that said, Neuvirth redeemed himself with a stop on Tavares in the shootout to clinch the victory for the Flyers, which shows me mental toughness.
9. Gotta like Matt Read and Jakub Voracek teaming up with a huge power-play goal in the final 58 seconds of regulation to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime. That said, Voracek should have had a penalty shot in overtime for being held by Jason Chimera on a breakaway. Instead, the Flyers got a power play — had chances — but not a one-on-one situation which Voracek earned and didn’t get.
10. Credit team captain Claude Giroux for showing that as bad as the ice was, you can still make a deke move in the shootout and score a goal by keeping the puck tight to the stick and not trying to extend your elbows and reach.