(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
For 59 minutes, the Flyers struggled to put anything into the net or really even generate chances as the Arizona Coyotes zeroed in on their first win of the season in their 12th game. With two quick strikes, the Flyers managed to force overtime.
That was certainly a moral victory, but the satisfaction of a late rally was put to bed in the final seconds of overtime as the Coyotes scored to win their first game of the season after all by a score of 4-3.
Here is the Postgame Review.
- The key play of overtime was the game-winner for the Coyotes, which unfolded quickly just as the Flyers appeared to be on their way to a potential scoring chance or forcing the game to a shootout.
There are several aspects to this. First, the officials missed a blatant interference call in the corner that should have negated anything the Coyotes did from there. The officials weren't good in this one, but weren't the reason for the result. But if you're going to call Jake Voracek in overtime for the obvious hooking penalty, then you have to call the obvious interference penalty as well.
After that, this play will fall heavily on Travis Sanheim. Sanheim carried the puck up ice with Wayne Simmonds alongside. Sanheim took too long to make a decision with the puck and had it stolen off his stick. You would think the turnover was Sanheim's crucial mistake. It actually wasn't.
If Sanheim just hustles back, regardless of what happens, he's likely in position to make a better play on the puck. Instead, as Clayton Keller stops to control, Sanheim also stopped and that allowed him to move up ice and leave Sanheim with no time to get his positioning. A quick pass to the side of the net to Alex Goligoski and the game was over.
- To that point of overtime, the Flyers were really playing their best hockey of the game. They rallied in the final minute to tie the game and killed off Voracek's hooking penalty to keep the game alive for them.
It was the previous two and a half periods that were the big problem. This was a typical "playing down to the opponent" game for the Flyers. They didn't look energized from the start. They lost too many puck battles. Their skating wasn't sharp. Their passing was off. They didn't shoot when they had opportunities.
This game was really a mess for the Flyers, so to get one point out of it is a moral victory. But with the schedule ahead -- road games against Chicago and St. Louis -- this was a game where the Flyers really needed to get two points. They were lucky to even get one.
- This is another case of how much the Flyers actually miss Andrew MacDonald and how much they miss Shayne Gostisbehere when he's in the lineup as well.
With Gostisbehere out of the lineup for the first time after suffering an upper-body injury on Saturday, the Flyers essentially had one veteran in the lineup, Radko Gudas. Gudas played 20:53. That left rookies Sanheim, Robert Hagg and last-minute callup Mark Alt to play big minutes as well. Sanheim played a career-high 23:41. Hagg played 17:18. Alt played 16:54. Brandon Manning played 18:28.
Gostisbehere's presence was especially missed in the overtime. The Flyers really could have used a confident puck-moving defenseman in the final seconds. Sanheim played a decent game, especially given his workload, but his lack of experience hurt him at the end.
- Ivan Provorov may have been most responsible for the Flyers comeback to get the game to overtime. Aside from playing a herculean 28:06, Provorov assisted on all three Flyers goals, including an excellent keep at the line on the game-tying goal.
There's no question that he is a No. 1 defenseman. Just look at the numbers away from the points. Seven shots on goal. Three blocked shots, including a couple on the overtime penalty kill that stung the 20-year-old -- he still returned for his next shift by the way.
These last few games haven't been his best in the defensive zone, but he's still the standout of the Flyers blue line, no matter who else is on it.
- It just feels like Sean Couturier is a different player. Couturier scored a goal playing in the slot on the first power play unit for the first goal of the game for the Flyers. He also scored the game-tying goal by just going to the net and getting a stick on the puck for the tip-in goal.
It's 12 games into the season and Couturier has nine goals and 15 points. Couturier's career-high for goals in a season is 15. His production is at an all-time high, the one aspect of his game that everyone wanted to see come to fruition. It's happening with Claude Giroux and Voracek on the ice with him, no question about it.
"Right now it’s pretty frustrating the way we lost, but at the same time it’s a big point that we didn’t deserve at all, and to get a point like that might be huge at the end of the year so we will take every point we can get, especially these ones where we don’t really deserve it." - Flyers forward Sean Couturier
"First and second, second was a little better, but first wasn’t the way we wanted it. Especially in our building that stuff can happen. You have got to love the way we came back. Our third period was our best period by far. We just have to play like that for 60 minutes." - Flyers forward Claude Giroux
Play of the Game
The game-tying goal by the Flyers, started by the great keep by Provorov, then a quick pass to Giroux who centers and catches the stick of Couturier for the equalizer.
By the Numbers
At even strength, the Flyers were absolutely dominated in the first period. Arizona had a 71.43 CF% in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead. The Flyers similarly controlled the third. Even though their chances weren't always the most threatening, they had a 73.33 CF% in the third period, and the two late goals helped them pull even with the Coyotes.
Stat of the Game
With two more goals on Monday, Sean Couturier has nine goals on the season, including five in his last four games. Couturier also has eight points in his last four games.