Postgame Perspective: Ghost’s injury overshadows big win for Flyers


On any other night, the story of the game would have been how the Flyers survived the onslaught of shots by the Minnesota Wild in the third period and early stages of overtime. It would have been how at 4:23, with just 37 seconds separating them from a shootout, they got the game-winning goal from Michael Del Zotto that erased a long-standing run of road woes and a earned them a key two points.

Any other night. But not this one.

The story of the game was a lower-body injury to Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers rookie phenom, suffered sometime in the game's first 25 minutes. Gostisbehere left the game around the five-minute mark of the second period, after taking just two shifts in the period, and did not return. It wasn't until midway through the third period that the Flyers finally announced that Gostisbehere's night was over. No other update was given after the game.

The Flyers can take the 4-3 overtime win and a crucial two points and certainly enjoy the end result. But with another game coming up on Saturday afternoon, there is certainly a fear that the Flyers rookie sensation will have to miss some time.

Even without Gostisbehere, it was one of the Flyers better games through two periods. The Flyers had outshot the Wild, 26-16, but still only held a one-goal lead, 3-2.

The Flyers had the lead thanks to two quick goals midway through the second, separated by 52 seconds. Del Zotto tallied on a rush while the teams skated 4-on-4 at 9:02. Ryan White was able to scoop a loose puck over Devan Dubnyk on a rebound from his poke check save on Chris VandeVelde.

It was the second straight game the Flyers had taken a 3-1 lead.

But like many of the Flyers games, it didn't go without some costly mistakes. The two goals that Minnesota scored to tie the game were off turnovers.

It was not a good game for Claude Giroux in regulation. He was a minus-2 before getting an assist on Del Zotto's overtime goal and tried a cross-ice pass that went awry when it was read and intercepted by Jason Zucker, who scored on a breakaway. Giroux was not charged with any of the Flyers five official giveaways on the box score, but Minnesota did also have 13 takeaways and the Flyers captain was certainly responsible for some of the puck woes. 

The tying goal was even more bizarre. Steve Mason, who was stellar in net otherwise, stopped a puck behind his net. As Nick Schultz skated by to play the puck to the corner, his pass hit off of Mason's pad and went right to the stick of Zach Parise for an easy goal.

Back to Giroux and his assist on Del Zotto's overtime goal. The entire play was a thing of beauty. With time winding down and at the end of a shift, Giroux drew two defenders as he slowly moved straight up the slot. With the defense committed, he threw a pass on the wing to Jake Voracek. Without hesitation, Voracek went across the goalmouth with the pass and Del Zotto was waiting and threw it on goal for the game-winner. Tic, tac, toe: Flyers win.

For the Flyers to get that win that way was absolutely huge for their confidence.

In recent weeks, as Gostisbehere has gone, so have the Flyers. The road trip struggles for the team was also his first extensive individual slump. To be without essentially their top defenseman, the catalyst, the one who has been making things go of late, and still find a way to win after losing the 3-1 lead not only helps the confidence, but it's also big in the standings.

Say what you will about Ron Hextall's moves, but this team is still very much alive in the playoff race this season, having not yet reached the halfway point in games yet and moving to within three points of the final playoff spot again. After dropping three straight games on the West coast, the Flyers earned four points in two games against two tough teams.

It was really a monumental win for the Flyers again, but it came with a price. Now they need to hope their rookie sensation isn't going to miss much, or any, time.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

Go to top button