The Flyers came back from a four-game road trip and gave the fans one impressive comeback.
Shayne Gostisbehere scored the game-winner 1:01 into overtime to give the Flyers a 5-4 overtime victory Thursday over the Coyotes.
They’re now 4-0-1 in their last five games.
How did the Flyers greet their home fans and how did they almost let it get away in a span of just 24 seconds?
Here are my observations from the Wells Fargo Center:
• Dave Hakstol called a timeout after the Flyers allowed two second-period shorthanded goals in 24 seconds.
The first one was unfortunate after the referee got in the way of Gostisbehere trying to handle the puck along the boards and it got caught up in the ref’s skates. Just a bad break.
On the second shorthanded goal, Oskar Lindblom attempted to rim the puck around the boards, but it was intercepted and Michael Grabner (one of the top-five fastest players in the league) outraced Jakub Voracek before flipping a backhanded shot over Calvin Pickard’s shoulder. Just like that, the Flyers were down, 4-2.
• The Flyers came out with the juice and energy they were hoping for as they scored two goals in the first 5:47 to grab an early 2-0 lead.
Travis Sanheim stepped up at the blue line and forced the turnover, but the eye-popping play was Claude Giroux’s pass to Travis Konecny in which he threaded a pass between two Arizona defenders. It was a great give-and-go play between Konecny and Giroux, the type of chemistry that’s starting to develop as they’ve now spent the past seven games together on the same line.
• Where did the Southern California version of Ivan Provorov go? The Flyers' top defender resumed his poor play on home ice with two first-period turnovers. Pickard had to bail out Provorov and the Flyers on both as a result.
Provorov was credited with three giveaways in the first 20 minutes and Christian Folin had a pair of turnovers as well. This is an area the Flyers must clean up if they are going to win consistently on home ice.
• Aside from the two shorthanded breakaways, I didn't like the first two goals Pickard allowed. The first came on the power play in which Pickard was screened, but he has to do a better job of fighting through the screen, especially on a shot from the point just inside the blue line.
Personally, I’d rather see the Flyers go with Alex Lyon, who looks more like an NHL-ready backup than Pickard.
Pickard was pulled for Brian Elliott during the second period.
• I liked the push the Flyers had in the final 10 minutes of the third period. There weren’t many prime chances with the Coyotes clogging the middle of the ice. The Flyers ultimately scored the game-tying goal as Dale Weise broke free on a breakaway and took the lead pass from Gostisbehere. Weise had the puck taken off his stick for a brief moment but got it back at the last second to roof it past Darcy Kuemper.
Weise has been playing some of his best hockey since joining the Flyers and his first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time.
😱 DALE WEISE WITH THE BREAKAWAY 😱 pic.twitter.com/Ygi9GcueO8— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 9, 2018
• I’ve always admired the smoothness to Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s game, playing with such command and poise. For a defenseman who doesn’t appear to play a physical game, Ekman-Larsson is second on the Coyotes in hits and he had a huge collision on Lindblom in the third period.
Interestingly, a few years ago, former Flyers defenseman Mark Howe told me if he could build a team around any young defenseman, he’d select Ekman-Larsson, who is close to becoming a Norris Trophy finalist.
• The Wells Fargo fans did their part, feeding off the success from the Flyers' recent road trip. They were on the edge of their seats as the Flyers fought for that game-tying goal and they broke out the “Let’s Go Flyers” chants midway through the third period. The Flyers can’t say they didn’t have the support from their fans in this one.
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