Last night the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers and the newly returned Artemi Panarin in overtime by a score of 5-4. It was not the prettiest game to say the least, but it was a game that the Flyers needed to win.
The game couldn’t have started better for Alain Vigneault and his team, instead of finding themselves fighting back from a deficit, they found themselves up 2-0. James van Riemsdyk scored a great goal off the rush early in the first period, all starting with a filthy little play by Sean Couturier to slide the puck to Joel Farabee.
Van Riemsdyk seems to be heating up again after a small three-game stretch of scoring no points. He’s now scored in two straight. That was followed up not even two minutes later by Ivan Provorov, as he let a seemingly harmless wrist shot go from the boards to give the good guys a two-goal cushion.
Things were looking good until around 12 minutes left in the second period, when the floodgates opened for the Rangers.
Panarin, who was not in the lineup the previous time these two faced off, made his presence known in this one. He cut the deficit to one goal after hammering a one-timer from the left slot and beating Carter Hart to his far side.
The man known as “The Breadman” then proceded to assist the next two New York goals, with all three goals occurring within a span of seven minutes. Hart’s play has been under question recently no doubt, but I would say Hart was left out to dry for the two Ranger goals following Panarin’s. Typically bad defense, make that 3-2 Rangers heading into the third … or so we thought!
Enter Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. The two longest tenured players in the club essentially took matters into their own hands, beginning with a powerplay at the end of the second. The powerplay ticker had not even appeared at the top of the screen when Farabee roofed one over the shoulder of NY goalie Keith Kinkaid, assisted by Jake and G. Tie game.
A little under three minutes into the third, Nolan Patrick could not handle the puck out of the corner which resulted in a quick turnover and wham, New York takes the lead. It could have been a morale-killer, but then Ranger Julien Gauthier received a double minor for high sticking Giroux.
Voracek and G preceded to draw up a set play following an offensive zone faceoff win, and boy it is beautiful to watch. You can see after Giroux returns the puck to Jake on the boards, he instantly cuts around the back of the net. Voracek’s eyes never leave him, G isn’t even around the other side of the net yet when he lasers the pass across. That is the chemistry these two have together.
During postgame, Farabee spoke on the play:
No other goals were scored in regulation, so to overtime we go. Jake was not done, and in probably the strongest game he has had this season, he deked the soul out of Kinkaid and slid the puck in for the W.
He was exhausted when he deflected the puck away from Panarin, and you can see in the celebration he is just trying to catch his breath. I see that as an analogy for this team right now, lots of games in a short span but continuing to not give up.
The Flyers have a day to rest as they prepare for a back-to-back, with the first game being on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM. If the Flyers can show any kind of improvement in their defensive play, they should be able to take care of the Rangers again.
When you are looking at three straight games against the Islanders beginning Thursday night, you really need this game tomorrow.