The Flyers entered Thursday nights game looking to extend their 8-game home winning streak while also attempting to go over .500 for the first time in 2013-14. Standing in their way was the battered and bruised Blue Jackets; a team sitting just below them in the Metro division standings.
Unfortunately, despite dominating the opening period, the orange and black found themselves trailing 1-0. The second wasn’t much kinder as Columbus jumped all over the Flyers sloppy play to take a 3-0 lead into the second intermission. But something clicked in the final stanza as quick goals by Jakub Voracek and Braydon Coburn (separated by just a minute) put the club within striking distance at 3-2. In a momentary lapse of judgement, Scott Hartnell and his fellow linemates committed a cardinal sin as they stopped playing in their own zone after the puck appeared to go out of play and hit the safety netting. The refs missed it and the Blue Jackets took advantage, scoring from point blank range to make it a daunting 4-2 deficit with under 10 minutes remaining. But, on this night, the Flyers were not going to be denied.
Led by their Captain, Claude Giroux, the team rallied in a mesmerizing display of skill and determination. Erik Gustafsson got things rolling as he joined the rush and netted a Wayne Simmonds rebound into a wide open net, cutting the lead in half. A few minutes later Voracek led a rush into the Jackets zone, threw a weak shot on net which deflected off Raffl’s skate, hit the goal post and bounced back into netminder Curtis Mcelhinney. It appeared as if Mcelhinney would just cover the puck but Giroux came flying in and forced the puck into the net, tying the game at 4-4. But the Flyers star wasn’t done yet. With just under two minutes remaining, Giroux took an errant Mark Streit shot, spun around a Jackets defender, and launched an incredible back-hander over Mcelhinney’s shoulder, just under the cross-bar for the game-winning goal. It was a shot that only a handful of NHLer’s would even attempt, let alone score on. And just like that the Flyers capped an amazing and unlikely comeback with the 5-4 win.
Let’s take a closer look at the win:
- With the win, the Flyers moved into playoff position and sole possession of third place in the Metropolitan division.
- Although Steve Mason allowed 4 goals again it’s hard to fault him entirely. All the goals came as a result of defensive lapses by the gys in front of him. He probably could’ve stopped one or two, but all that matters is the team won.
- The first line (Voracek-Giroux-Raffl) continued its domination since being put together. It’s clear that Raffl’s speed and defensive awareness fit much better than Hartnell’s grind it out style.
- It was nice to see the defense-corps get involved at the offensive end as Coburn, Streit, and Gus all made huge contributions.
The Flyers continue their home and home series in Columbus on Saturday night. A win would give them a little more breathing room in the extremely tight Metro division.