(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
It wasn't a pretty game, but it was a crucial two points the Flyers needed.
After going 2-6-3 in their previous 11 games, the Flyers picked up points in the standings for the third time in the last four games, finished strong and conquering the shootout for a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Here are 10 Postgame Points from Flyers-Canucks.
- Sean Couturier had one of his best games in recent memory. He was engaged, strong on the puck and got a goal in the second period. Playing on a new-look line again, this time with Jake Voracek and Nick Cousins, proved to pay off.
- Travis Konecny also cashed in, though not with his new linemates, but he also had a strong game and was involved in the play. Konecny's newfound promotion to the top line could be something to watch in the coming weeks.
- The Flyers came out of the first period tied, 1-1, a minor miracle after taking four penalties in the first. Brandon Manning and Michael Del Zotto accounted for all four penalties in the period. First, Manning was called for a high-sticking double-minor. Del Zotto followed with 50 seconds remaining on Manning's penalty, creating a 50-second two-man advantage where the Canucks cashed in. Late in the period, same thing. Manning went off for slashing and 1:18 later, Del Zotto took another high-sticking penalty. Staying disciplined and out of the box is obviously a key to winning, but the issue here is that these weren't even borderline penalties. These were blatant, obvious calls.
- For a few brief moments in the second period, you saw the Flyers display the scoring touch that has eluded them of late. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored the game-tying goal at 9:21. Just 18 seconds later, Couturier's goal gave the Flyers the lead. The Flyers lead ended up lasting just 22 seconds, but the quick succession of goals was something we haven't seen in some time.
- The game-tying goal for Vancouver in the second was too easy on all accounts. Markus Granlund powered easily around Shayne Gostisbehere to get a path to the net. Steve Mason didn't seal off the lower part of the goal. It was way too easy a goal for Granlund to score.
- The Flyers defensive coverage on Brandon Sutter's go-ahead goal in the second was laughable. Not one player attacked the slot area or the puck carrier. That left Nick Schultz as a spectator on Jayson Megna and Gostisbehere a spectator on Sutter.
- Sutter's goal was another Mason should have had. Dave Hakstol really should have made the switch in net then, but did get Michal Neuvirth in goal to start the third.
- Give Neuvirth a ton of credit. I thought he would actually start the game given the team's overall lack of success in Buffalo on Tuesday. I understand trying to get Mason back out there, but after carrying the workload, it wouldn't hurt to get Neuvirth a few starts. Entering the game cold to start the third, Neuvirth made 10 saves in the third, four in overtime and three big ones in the shootout for the win.
- All Brayden Schenn does is get points on the power play. Schenn's 14th goal of the season tied the game in the third on the power play. Of his 29 points, 17 have come on the power play, including 10 of his 14 goals.
- How did Claude Giroux celebrate his 29th birthday? With the game-winning goal in the shootout. The captain made the most of his shootout chance, trying something a little different than usual. Giroux used a quick shot through the five-hole of Ryan Miller instead of his usual dekes.
After Tuesday's disappointment, the Flyers came back with a game that featured its ups and downs, but ended with the desired result.
At this point, that's all you can ask of the Flyers, getting the two points in the standings whatever way possible. But there were certainly a lot of areas to clean up and mistakes that should be avoided but keep recurring.
Heading into a difficult and crucial weekend, the Flyers need to bring a level of play similar to last weekend. It's the Bruins on Saturday and the Capitals on Sunday. Both teams have the ability to pounce on mistakes. Both have the offensive firepower to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. It will need to be clean and polished hockey from the Flyers this weekend, and it's difficult to go from that middle of the road play to playoff polished overnight.