Thursday Night at the Wells Fargo Center had all the makings of a typical Flyers’ collapse. After stealing a game from the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, it would have been the most Flyers’ thing ever to then give that game back in front of the home crowd against the Montreal Canadiens.
The first period ended on a strong note with the Flyers ramping up the pressure including a goal by Phil Myers who was recently recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The second period picked up right where the first left off, including a goal by James van Riemsdyk.
Just under the 14 minute mark, Provorov would deliver a huge open ice hit that brought the Philly faithful to their feet. A multi-goal lead, big hits, and high energy, this had the makings of a rout!
The pressure did not stop from the Orange and Black, but the goals did. By the middle of the second period the momentum shifted and the Canadiens enjoyed more offensive zone opportunities.
Defenseman Ben Chiarot, who was the hero on Tuesday night with a game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins would get the Canadiens on the board with an aggressive play to make the game 2-1. All of a sudden at the end of two, the Flyers saw their lead get cut in half despite looking dominant at times during the first two periods.
Carey Price was locked in, and regardless of Philadelphia out-chancing Montreal by a wide margin the game still had potential for a Flyers’ collapse.
The third period did not help Philly fans’ anxiety as a little over four minutes into the session Shea Weber would snap one by Hart to tie the game. This is the exact moment fans feared, but have seen many times before. Their team with a big win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday, a fast start against the Canadiens, then to only give the game away.
Multiple power play opportunities were gifted to the Flyers for the remainder of regulation, but none were able to provide the much needed third goal. Even worse, Price was tracking the puck extremely well.
As the game entered the five minute three on three overtime, the last obstacle the Flyers would want to face is a shootout in not only a game that they were better than the Canadiens, but against a netminder playing like Price was on Thursday night.
Despite the dreaded memories of Philadelphia losing similar games in the past, fans did not have to wait long for a Sean Couturier goal just 55 seconds into the extra session. What was even more surprising was the way the puck squeaked through Price.
Price made saves on shots with a higher difficulty level throughout the night, and likely wants the shot on the game-winning goal back, but the Flyers deserve credit for that same goal. This is why coaches tell players at a young age to “throw pucks at the net, and good things will happen.”
At the end of the night the Flyers out-shot the Canadiens 43-24, and sometimes that can work against a team, because it allows a goalie to get into a rhythm depending on the quality of scoring chances. On the other hand, the more pucks thrown at the net means a higher likelihood that something will find its way through.
While on face value the Flyers just won a game they almost gave away at home, against a team that they outplayed who have given up four goals in each of their past three games. Yet again, the Flyers have won two straight and have earned a point in each of their past four games.
The Flyers are now off to their best start through 15 games since they went 8-5-2 to start the 2011-12 campaign. That season happened to be when the Flyers won their last playoff series beating the in-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Over an 82 game season the Flyers will be asked to be more consistent than years past, win games in which they are out-chanced, but also win the games that they are expected to. On Thursday night the Flyers were the better team who ran into a goaltender playing at a high level, but still found a way to win.
If the Flyers continue to take care of their business at the Wells Fargo Center, the chances of hockey being played in Philadelphia through mid-April only increases.