Woo that was fun. The Washington Capitals came to Philly last night for the first meeting since the playoffs last year but the tempers didn't flare too much in this one. What started off as a pretty slow game really picked up at the end of the first and carried over into the rest of the game. Andre Burakovsky hadn't scored in 26 games for the Caps so of course he scored the first goal of the night on a snipe from down low. Michael Waffle Raffl tied it up with a saucy wraparound early in the second but that was wiped away by a trash goal from the Caps six minutes later. Then with 21 seconds left in the second, a weird bounce off the boards left the puck right on Giroux's stick during an odd 4-on-4 and he sniped the top right corner over Holtby's glove to knot it up at 2 where the score would stay throughout the third and OT. The Flyers were able to kill off a late Radko Gudas hooking penalty that lasted 11 seconds into the extra period, depriving us of 2 and a half minutes of 3 on 3 OT. Stevie Mason played out of his mind for 65 minutes and then ultimately the shootout against one of the more dangerous teams in the leagues in that department.
After Shayne Gostibehere (why the fuck was he our first shooter) and Claude Giroux were stoned by Holtby and TJ Oshie was able to hypnotize Mason to sleep as he sniped a goal blocker side in the shootout (to the surprise of no one), the game rested on Voracek's stick and he took a page out of Oshie's Olympic handbook and ripped a wrister past Holtby to extend the shootout. Mason held his end of the bargain and stopped the 3rd Caps attempt which set up Wayne Simmonds for this:
Steve Mason followed Simmer's lead and shut down Justin Williams (shout out to my neighbor.. for real he has a house down the street from me I've seen the Cup at his house and its NUTS) and the Flyers escaped Wednesday Night Rivalry with 2 points. Let's break it down.
Steve Money Ma$on
Mason has really been stepping it up lately with Neuvirth sidelined and Hakstol giving him the reigns. It's tough to pick which of his 36 saves were the best but he made a ridiculous save late in OT on Niskanen that saw him sprawling across the crease with his stick on the ice to poke it away. Mason earned those 2 points for the Fly Guys and deserves a cold beer or 12 after that gritty performance.
Ivan Provorov is the truth, man. The kids 19 and is able to skate around these shmuck adults with ease. Provorov was the one streaking down the left side in the 2nd period who got the first outlet pass to rip a shot on net which caused the weird breakout attempt which resulted in the puck bouncing right to Giroux in the slot for the tying goal. The only thing about Provorov which may be causing a problem is that he's stealing Ghost's thunder. I treat Provy this year like I treated Ghost last year. Young defenseman who can handle the puck, skate well, score, and get the gritty things done too. Sign me up, I'll take 6 of em. But Ghost hasn't been putting up numbers this year and it's obvious that he's down on himself. He had a wide open shot in the 3rd and instead tried to pass it to Giroux who had it tipped away. Ghost isn't playing with a lot of confidence and that needs to change if he's gonna start producing because we need that man to get on the board. I hope Hakstol benching him doesn't ruin him like Coach Bean benching me ruined my high school baseball career because it caused me to be in my own head trying to do too much (I'll NEVER forgive that man).
Gudas and Provorov were the pairing who faced the Ovechkin line the most last night and held him without a shot until late in the 3rd period. My dad actually said to me during the Gudas penalty kill "Is Ovechkin playing tonight?" to which I responded "way to go now he's gonna score the game winner" but alas I was wrong. I love Gudas and Provy together because Provorov is able to get down and put on offensive pressure while Gudas wants absolutely nothing to do with that. Speaking of pressure let's give Michael Del Zotto a quick shoutout. When the Flyers had to play 4 on 4 in OT my dad was questioning why we were playing 2 forwards and 2 defensemen instead of 3 forwards and one defensemen and I said it's becuase we have guys like Del Zotto and Provy and Ghost who can score like a forward but can get back to defend so we don't have to worry about Voracek sitting at the point and getting burnt by Ovie and Oshie going the other way.
Great job bouncing back from two straight L's and getting the two points against the Caps who are right behind us in the Metro. Hakstol today:
Let's start a new streak baby!
P.S. When did the Blue Jackets get good and decide to go streaking on their own? Screw them. 44 points and we're 4th in the Metro while San Jose leads the Pacific with 41 points? Boooo.. BTW I found this cool video of highlights from last night so uhh here you go:
P.P.S Flyers head to New Jersey to play the Devils tonight so you know what that means?? BAD NEWS FOR THE DEVILS (IDK why I just felt like I had to throw in another old baseball movie reference).
How many games in a row have the Flyers won?
NINE!!!! 9! NUEVE!!! No matter how you wanna say it, the Philadelphia Flyers have won NINE straight hockey games! In a world where the Sixers are still in The Process, the Phillies are rebuilding, and the Eagles make me want to stick my head in a hole for three years, the Flyers are playing unbelievable hockey and have reached nine straight wins for only the 6th time in the franchise's 50 year history.
In their 12th game in 20 days, the Flyers battled to a 1-0 OT win in Detroit over the Red Wings today with none other than Brayden Schenn being the hero as he was the recipient of a beatiful give and go with Simmonds and Provorov and finished it off with a heck of a dangle on Jimmy Howard who had stopped the previous 35 shots. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world but a win is a win is a win. Let's break it down baby.
Have a day young man. Stolarz looked fantastic in net today, stopping all 28 shots that came his way. He kept his glove hand strong and snagged a few would be goals as he was able to control the low shots with ease. We had a bit of a scare in the third period when Stolarz executed a poke on an incoming Red Wing and the puck skirted to the center of the crease. Radko Gudas whiffed at the clearing attempt and instead (being the savvy D-man that he is) rammed into the goal, knocking it off its moorings. Did he do it on purpose? Probably not. But he gets credit anyway. Instead of an easy layup goal for Detroit, Radko took a two minute delay of game and the Flyers lived to fight another day.
With Shayne Gostibehere sidelined with a hand injury from blocking a shot yesterday, the defense held their own but dear lord did today ever show what he means to this team. Without Ghost on the power play the entire unit drops down a few notches. Our 25% mark for the season is number one in the league but the PECO Power Play went 0 for 4 today. Now I'm no mathematician but I'm pretty sure that if we are 25% on the PP that means we score 1 out of every 4 times. Therefore, today was below average (don't quote me on that).
Ghost just has that "it" factor about him where he makes things work smoothly. His absence was obvious on a power play late in the 3rd period when there was a puck coming out to the point. Mark Streit couldn't get there and it went out to center forcing the team to clear out and regroup. If Ghost is out there, he dives into the boards and keeps it in because he doesn't give a fuck about taking a puck off the chest for this team, and allows the power play to keep its momentum. The little things like that are what has allowed this team to be on this streak. Healthy Ghost= better Flyers.
But we can't talk about the defensemen without talking about Ivan Provorov. This kid is special. I'm talking Rain Man special. Live look at Provy watching his game film:
19 years old and he leads the Flyers in minutes per game. Just bonkers to think about. The thought of watching Provorov and Ghost winning Stanley Cups together just makes it all worthwhile. And allows me to forget about the flaming pile of poo across the street in the Linc. And when the Eagles find a way to creep in and make me sad while I'm celebrating the glorious Flyers is when I decide it's time to end the article. 9 straight baby.
8 straight wins!!! This is nuts!! The Flyers beat the Stars 4-2 to keep alive the franchise's longest winning streak since 2002. Suffice to say, we haven't seen hockey like this in years. Just when you think the Flyers are finally gonna run out of steam, somebody like Baby Schenn comes along and nets a hatty to get the job done. The Stars are a good team with a dangerous first line and Kari Lehtonen stood on his head and flashed the leather for some miraculous saves today, but the Flyers' deadly powerplay got the job done today.
Baby Schenn has been pretty meh the last few games and needed a big game to get things going. All three of his goals came on the power play which is the kind of stuff I like to see. Capitalize on the opponent's mistakes and you win hockey games. Schenn tried to fight Stephen Johns in the second period because he's a real big tough guy when he scores goals, and he got his ass rocked. It was a great effort though and always nice to see a scrap.
Mason didn't see much action only stopping 21 of 23 shots, which is good being as Mason was making his 7th straight start. We'll probably see Stolarz in net tomorrow. Mason almost made a spectacular stick save in the third but it was jabbed in by Devin Shore, who scored both Dallas goals today.
Scoracek alloted 4 points today with 3 assists and an empty netter, marking the second straight game with 4 points. Nice to see him getting into a groove lately as he was starting to get into a bit of a shooting funk. He now has 21 assists which ranks him 3rd in the league.
The Flyers are on to Detroit to face the Red Wings tomorrow at 5, their 12th game in 20 days. The Flyers have made the most of this stretch and hopefully can keep it going tomorrow. Let's go for 9 baby!
First and foremost, I hope we now have beef with the Oilers because Connor McDavid sure was trying to start some shit. For some reason, McDavid blames Brandon Manning for his broken collarbone when it was just an unfortunate accident. But right from the get go McDavid was coming after Manning and TBH it was working out well for the Flyers. Manning was getting in McDavid's head and making him make mistakes but McDavid got the early lead in the battle when he notched a power play goal right in Manning's grill. The goal would've been enough to rattle B-Man but McDavid decided to turn right around and call Manning a "fucking bitch/pussy" or something of that nature. I was PRAYING for them to drop the gloves but alas the game continued into a barn burner after the Flyers fell behind 2-0.
The Fly Guys proceeded to score 3 straight goals in one minute and twelve seconds and turned the game on its head. The final period was full of high energy and bodies flying around and just fun hockey to watch. Radko Gudas got involved on the offense when he made a nice Ghost-like move to keep the puck in at the blue line and then took the puck to the net resulting in a centering pass to Giroux who put home his second of the game. Then the saucemesiter himself, Michael Raffl, made a power move similar to the one he made the other day to score and take the lead late in the 3rd. The Flyers are ROLLING and have risen to 3rd in the Metropolitan Division. Seven wins a row. Man. Is that good?
P.S. Connor McDavid is REALLY good at hockey
The Flyers beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in OT to extend the win streak to 6 games, the first time the Flyers have had such a win streak since December of 2011. The Flyers are playing inspired hockey and have been getting the nitty gritty done over the last few weeks. It's unfortunate that we had to go to OT because we need to learn to stop allowing tying goals in the 3rd period, but gosh dangit the 3v3 OT is just so dern exciting. Therefore:
Now let's start highlighting the men in Orange.
ALL ABOARD THE WAYNE TRAIN
I tweeted it tonight and I'll say it again: Wayne Simmonds and I would be best friends. Simmer notched two more goals today, accounting for four over the last two games. His first was a bit of a different goal than he's used to as he sped through the neutral zone and ripped a low glove side shot past Reimer, but his second came as he parked his ass right in front of the net and deflected a point shot to take a 2-1 lead. Simmonds now has 8 powerplay goals on the year, the most in the NHL. His two goals tonight also put him in a tie for third in the league with 15.
ROUGH start to the night for Jake. First he whiffs on a puck early, breaks his stick on a power play, then rings a puck off the pipe on a WIDE open chance from point blank range. THANK GOD Jake put home the OT winner (his 9th of the year) for the Flyers or we may have had to hide his belts from him for a while.
Mason stopped 42 of 44 shots tonight, with quite a few of them being of the spectacular variety. Stevie got me out of my seat a few times during OT and I am forever grateful to that man.
The 19 year old phenom is my new favorite Flyer. He just plays like a Philadelphia athlete. Always hustling, always making smart plays, and he made Jaromir Jagr his BITCH tonight. He took a dive on the wily vet and Jagr DID NOT like it. I was praying for them to drop the gloves for the sheer fact that I know Jagr would find a way to win that fight. You don't mess with a 44 year old hockey player no matter how young and Russian you are. You lose that battle. You lose that battle 9 times out of 10.
Overall the Flyers are making me forget about the Eagles and be happy again.
Dear Flyers win streak:
The Flyers beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 last night thanks to two powerplay goals from Wayne Simmonds, a disrespectful power move from Raffl, and an empty netter from Chris Vandevelde. The win gave the Flyers their fifth in a row and made them 5-1-1 this season in the second game of a back to back. That's a huge stat seeing as how the Flyers have won 5 games in 8 days. They are playing a lot of hockey right now and for the first time in a while, they are streaking in the right direction. I hate being a Philly fan because I'm just waiting for the 5 game losing streak that we'll inevitably start when we go on our 3-game homestand.
That's what we do. We beat the Flames, Bruins, Senators, Blackhawks and Predators. Sexy. Now with the Panthers, Oilers and Stars coming to town, we'll probably shit the bed and watch Brandon Manning turn the puck over in our own zone for a couple of goals against and we'll be right back where we started last week.
Speaking of goals against, Mason improved to 9-8-3 after making 26 saves last night. With Neuvirth out I'm still itching to see Stolarz in net more.
Getting back on the good mood track, here's Raffl's goal that caused me to audibly shout in a quiet room while the game was on on my laptop last night:
Excuse me Michael, you forgot to wash your hands. This is the goal I want to see more often. I feel like too often now we try to make the cute pass instead of just taking the puck to the net and getting good shots off. Well if you can use this type of #gritness to get past your defender then you do so 10 times out of 10 Mr.Raffl.