Dylan Larkin scored twice, picking up three total points, and the Red Wings’ ten game losing streak comes to an end as Detroit bests the Flyers 5-4 from the Little Caesar’s Arena Tuesday night.
After an unspectacular first period, in which neither team was able to light the lamp, Larkin got the scoring started six minutes into the second period to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. A Travis Konecny shot was blocked out in front, never reaching the net, and ricocheted perfectly to Larkin just outside the slot. This change in possession sprung a two-on-one for the Red Wings, as Larkin was left uncontested by the Flyers’ defense. The 21-year-old ripped a shot low, aside from Petr Mrazek’s stick, and into the back of the net. The goal was Larkin’s tenth on the season and first in 18 games.
Less than two minutes later, the Red Wings would strike again in an eerily similar manner. A Flyers’ turnover in the offensive zone led to another Red Wings’ breakout, this time headmanned by Luke Glendening up the right side boards. Glendening drug the puck left of Mrazek into an awkward angle, but fired a shot past the unsuspecting, and perhaps out of position Mrazek, glove side high to extend the Detroit lead to two goals. This second Detroit goal was scored while down a man, as 45 seconds prior to taking the 2-0 lead, the Red Wings were forced to go on the penalty kill after a two minute slashing call on Jonathan Ericsson. The shorthanded goal was the tenth such goal allowed by Flyers’ goaltenders this season.
The barrage of goals continued less than a minute later, but this time, it would be the Flyers who lit the lamp and cut the Red Wings’ lead in half. Still on the power play, the Flyers set up their man advantage attack, and, per usual, the offense cycled through Claude Giroux. Giroux stepped into a shot after receiving a pass from the left point and knocked the puck past Jimmy Howard, but off the post. Sean Couturier found himself in the right spot at the right time, in position to jam home the near miss, but flailed wildly at the puck on a first attempt. He was, however, able to compose himself as he got a second chance opportunity, one he would not miss. Couturier buried the second effort for his 30th goal of the season, and his 100th NHL goal. He became the 32nd Flyer in team history to reach the 30 goal mark on the season. The assist for Claude Giroux was his 59th of the season, as the captain moved into sole possession of fifth on the all-time Flyers’ points list with 660. He moves past Eric Lindros with the point.
It was not a banner day for Flyers’ goaltender Petr Mrazek, who was making his first return to Detroit since being traded to the Flyers earlier in the season. Mrazek was the last Red Wings’ goalie to record a victory at home this season.
The former Red Wing was not kindly greeted, as just 1:04 later, the Red Wings would strike again, opening up a 3-1 lead. After a loose puck was jammed out in front of Mrazek, it was played back to the point where it was fired off the pads of Mrazek. This forced the goalie out of position, as the puck settled on the stick of Evgeny Svechnikov, who put it past the sprawling netminder for his first career NHL goal.
The third goal in under four minutes forced Flyers’ Head Coach Dave Hakstol to pull Mrazek, who played three second shy of half the game, and replace him with Alex Lyon. Mrazek finished the night by stopping 16 of 19 shots.
Lyon would keep the Red Wings off the board any further in the second period, and the Flyers would go into the locker room down 3-1 with 20 minutes to play.
A new Flyers team seemed to emerge out of the tunnel to begin the third period of play. This Flyers club was far more assertive on both ends of the ice, as they tried to climb back down two goals.
It would take the Flyers nearly eight minutes and countless opportunities that ended in huge Jimmy Howard saves before Philadelphia would strike to cut the Detroit lead to 3-2. The Flyers were able to dig the puck deep in behind Howard before playing it back to the point, where Scott Laughton created some separation from his defender. Laughton fired a shot from the left of the face off dot and into the crease, where Matt Read was waiting. Read got just enough of the puck to get credit for the goal, the first of the season for Read. It was Read’s first goal in nearly a calendar year, as his last goal came on March 23, 2017.
The now attacking Flyers would need just another two minutes to tie the score at three. Philadelphia would go on the power play after Henrik Zetterberg was called for high sticking, and use exactly half of the man advantage to draw even. Jakub Voracek took the puck and flushed it cross-slot to the right of the face off dot, where Shayne Gostisbehere was waiting for it. Gostisbehere ripped a shot onto Jimmy Howard and through a perfectly timed screen by Wayne Simmonds in front of the net. The goal for Gostisbehere was his 13th of the season.
With the score tied, and Red Wings facing playoff elimination with an impending loss, Dylan Larkin struck again for his second goal of the night a little more than four minutes later. After a lapse in judgment by Alex Lyon to play the puck behind his net, the Red Wings were able to dig deep and force the puck right in front of the slot to Larkin, who was left alone mere feet from Lyon. Larkin beat Lyon glove side high to recapture the lead, 4-3, with six minutes to play.
Right back would come the Flyers, however, as just 28 seconds later, Travis Konecny would tie the game once more on a controversial goal. After a neutral zone draw win, the Flyers attacked the zone, as Couturier was able to find Konecny out in front of the net on a long stretch pass through traffic. The puck and Konecny appeared to hit the net simultaneously, and the net came free of its moorings. The initial call on the ice was no goal, but after further review, the call was changed, as Konecny made contact with the puck and scored before he crashed into the net.
Neither side would be able to create another lead as the third period came to an end, and overtime began. Both Jimmy Howard and Alex Lyon made multiple impressive saves to keep the game going, and the horn sounded with no winner, so to a shootout the two teams would go.
The shootout saw just one goal scored, the first shot taken by Franz Nielson, who skated on in and beat Lyon through the five-hole. Lyon came out to play the puck, but drifted back into his net slightly, and Nielson was too quick, beating him between the legs. Jakub Voracek, Jordan Weal and Nolan Patrick all missed in the shootout for the Flyers.
The overtime loss does give the Flyers a point, but it drops their record to 37-25-12, 86 points. Failure to secure two points, paired with a Columbus win over the Rangers, puts the Blue Jackets into the third Metropolitan Division seed, relegating the Flyers to a Wild Card spot. The Flyers trail both the Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins by a single point in the standings, and lead the chasing New Jersey Devils by four points.
The Flyers will be back in action Thursday night, when they welcome the New York Rangers to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time this season. Puck drops at 7 p.m., and you can catch all the action on 93.3 WMMR!
-By Tyler Zulli