TAMPA, Fla. — Flyers assistant Kris Knoublach thought he could contribute to Scott Gordon’s second-intermission pep talk. Knoblauch reminded the interim head coach of the craziness that ensued Nov. 17 at the Wells Fargo Center.
That was the game against this same Lightning squad that saw the Flyers erase a four-goal deficit over the final 10 minutes of regulation, just the ninth time such a feat has occurred in NHL history.
Gordon, who has penchant for being overly communicative, conveniently worked it into his speech. Gordon preached about the seam passes the Flyers were allowing the Lightning to convert easily on and then, he brought up the comeback.
“This was an easy challenge for us,” Gordon said with a grin, referring to the 5-1 deficit the Flyers faced in Philadelphia.
All it took was Dale Weise banking a shot inadvertently off his skate and the comeback was indeed on .
“As soon as we got the first one, it was like, we can actually do this one more time,” Robert Hagg said. “We knew we could come back because they’re going to be sloppy with a big lead. Somehow, we found a lot of energy.”
Hagg snapped off a shot that beat goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy less than three minutes later and then, Ivan Provorov tied the game before the third period was even at the midway point.
Three goals in just seven minutes.
“This game proves that this team doesn’t quit,” Provorov said, “plays to the end and that’s what happened in the third.”
The Flyers are now proving that under Gordon, whereas under Dave Hakstol, that mindset was being highly questioned and scrutinized.
“It’s obviously a huge thing when your players believe that they’re never out of a game,” Gordon said. “This is the best team in the league. They lead the league in scoring goals. To be able to score five goals against a team that only has four losses at home and 11-0-1 in their last 12 games.”
In five games since the Flyers made the necessary change behind the bench, they’ve played five one-goal games, taking seven out of a possible 10 points. They’re playing competitive hockey, inspired hockey, and for the most part, winning hockey.
However, some bad habits still linger.
The Flyers have now dropped their last four overtime decisions with three of them coming on the opening shift. As much as Claude Giroux electrified the Flyers with his world-class toe drag through three Lightning defenders, which led to a dazzling goal, the Flyers’ captain also took the loss personally. It was Anthony Cirelli who stripped Giroux in OT that led to the game winner.
“I make a careless play, a soft play. That can’t happen,” Giroux said. “When you’re put in a situation like that after a game you got to be sharp and you’ve got to make better plays. We should have had two points and I’m responsible for losing one point.”
Still, the game played out not much differently than their mid-November matchup, and these two teams still have one more game to go, Feb. 19th at the Wells Fargo Center.
I’m just wondering if the Flyers should just spot the Lightning another 5-2 lead and then, we’ll see if the third time might be the comeback charm.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.