The Flyers really needed a victory last night after Wednesday night’s debacle and thank goodness they got one, because it would have been quite ugly today.
It happened to be the first regulation loss the Islanders have suffered all season, tough luck dropping your first one to a team that just conceded 9 goals against them.
I really wish I did not have to use the word “escape” in this instance, because the Flyers were playing good hockey until New York started building momentum in the third period. They might have been a little lucky carrying a shutout into the third, Carter Hart had to make some tough stops before the Islanders finally got on the scoresheet.
Early into the second period, Lindblom opened up the scoring on a solid hockey sequence. Travis Konecny does good hard work along the boards, finds Claude Giroux who just gets a shot on net and Lindblom finds the rebound. Awesome to see Oskar break his 21-game goalless drought.
After the broadcast displayed a Lindblom highlight package from the game, Keith Jones mentioned he looked like vintage Lindblom out there, and that is a great sign. I am not sure if the quick reset that Alain Vigneault gave him was just what he needed, but he looked like a different player last night than he has most of this season.
The captain would then score to make it a 2-0 game midway through the second off a beautiful deflection, sent by the glove of New York netminder Semyon Varlamov. More hard work from Lindblom behind the net led to the puck being worked back to the point leading up to the goal here.
Philly made it 3-0 just under six minutes left in the period, with Kevin Hayes leading a textbook 3 v. 2 rush. Hayes was patient, looked off the defender as Justin Braun crashed the net and found Jake Voracek with a perfect pass.
Hey, who would have thought scoring some goals with some semblance of defensive help could result in leading hockey games!
The third period then rolled around, reminding us all that the 3-0 lead is probably the most dangerous in hockey. Hart was beaten by a wrist shot he should have saved, but up until that point he had kept the game scoreless.
Defenseman Nick Leddy was then allowed to skate into the zone and find Sebastian Aho, who beat Hart short side making it a 3-2 game. At this point I’m just thinking, “you have got to be kidding me, right?”
Turns out the Flyers were not kidding. Under a minute later Giroux lost track of his man backdoor and he was wide open for a one-timer that squeezed by Hart to make it a tie game. The Islanders had all the momentum. Now we are at “the sky is falling!” level of panic, looking at a blown three-goal lead right after a 9-0 loss.
About three minutes later, the Flyers had an offensive zone faceoff with the line of Konecny – Giroux – Lindblom on the ice, and it was an instance of having your hot line on the ice at the right time.
Lindblom cycled the puck to TK, who then fed it back to Lindblom who was repositioned for a one-time shot. G provided good traffic in front, and the shot found its way through to make it 4-3. In a much-needed game, the Flyers found a way even after scaring the hell out of us all.
Phil Myers and Travis Sanheim both ended up at a -1, but they also played considerably better than they did against the Rangers Wednesday. I needed to see these two play well after they both posted a -6 against the Rangers, I wanted to see some bite in their game. I thought Myers had a strong game, blocking two shots and he even notched an assist on Lindblom’s game winning goal.
Giroux continued his strong month of March, and his line with TK and Lindblom looked like it had some real chemistry last night. We were talking about him having trouble with goal-scoring around a month ago, that is just simply not the case for March. G has scored six goals in ten games this month, for a total of nine points in a stretch where this team has been struggling mightily. For people on Twitter calling for him to be stripped of the “C” every other week, take that into context.
The second of three games against the Isles is tomorrow night at 7 PM. The Flyers get to rest today, let us hope they build off the positives from last night and clean up some of the third period errors.
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