The Flyers haven’t been the best of teams when tied in the third period.But Tuesday night they squeakedout a win after deadlock was broken on a clutch Wayne Simmonds goal (his second of the game), 4-2, over Montrealas the second half of the season officially began with a ‘W’ in South Philadelphia.
Philly added a Matt Read empty-netter to clinch the win and two much-needed points as the Flyers try to close the gap on a playoff spot.
Here are three things we enjoyed in the Flyers’ 22nd win of the season.
The Flyers shook off their first half special teams’ woes, converting on their first two power play opportunitiesof the night. The first came on a beautiful pass in front of the net by Brayden Schenn toSimmondswho buried a ‘tap in’ goalfrom a few feet away to put Philly up 1-0.
With a14-6-2 record when scoring first, the momentum was clearly in the Flyers’ corner when they drew a second power play and just six seconds into the man-advantage Schenn(his 13th)added a goal to his earlier assist, finishing a perfectly placed Jakub Voracek pass right on target upping the advantage to two goals.
Special teams shortcomings also hurt Philly, as the team relented a goal on its first short-handed situation when Andrei Markov scored with just under two minutes left in the first.
The most important special teams moment came toward the end of the third, when Radko Gudas was penalized for a game misconduct and the Flyers were faced with five minutes of short-handed play. The Flyers pulled together and killed the penalty, even creating two quality short-handed chances and withstanding a few blatant no-calls.
Fans at the Wells Fargo Center were treated to some particularly solid defense from the Orange and Black, with the team applying potent pressure on both sides of the ice.
Philly filled passing lanes and implementeda forecheck that created opportunities all night long and got stellar play from Steve Mason in net as well, as the goaltender stopped 30 shots.
They also bore witness to some very impressive penalty killing during the five-minute major that ticked the clock down to within three minutes.
The defense wasn’t all good. Ahead 2-1 to start the second period the Flyers allowed an even-strengh goal to tie things at 2-all, when a Jeff Petryshot flew over Masons shoulder and into the net.
Philly’s top four forwards,Simmonds, Voracek, Schennand Girouxaccounted for eightpoints Tuesday night, fiveof them on the power play.
Rookie stud Shayne Gostisbehere also added a point, his 23rd on an assist in the first period (on Schenn’s power play goal). He leads all rookie defensemenwith 23 points in just 30 games and has a active five-game point streak.
The third goal was the top line too, as Simmonds was assisted by Voracek and Giroux to put the Flyers up 3-2.
And of course, Sean Couturier and Chris Vandeveldehelped to set up the icing on the cake for Read’s empty net goal inside one minute.