Feb 26, 2012, 3:16 AM EST
The Flyers may have gotten off to a terrible start that included failed clearing attempts turning into soft goals, but they didn’t curl up and die under their seemingly bleak prospects. For the third time this season, they dug their way out of a 3-0 deficit, responding with three straight of their own. Scott Hartnell scored his 29th and 30th goals, and also threw down the gloves for a fight that helped spark the turnaround.
Ilya Bryzgalov let up a pair of softies to start the game, then contributed to a shorthanded sequence that saw the Flames jump to a 3-0 lead. Bryz was clearly frustrated after the second goal, smashing his stick, and the third goal felt like the weight of the world. Hopefully you didn’t take the tempting option of doing something else with your Saturday night at that point.
Bryz buckled down after that, and the Flyers’ attack started soon
after. Despite getting boned for a penalty shot call that resulted in
another Flames goal, the Flyers kept at it, forced overtime, then
finally won, 5-4, in the shootout.
It’s hard not to be
frustrated at the holes the Flyers dig for themselves, as well as
worried about Bryzgalov continuing to let in soft goals, but damn if
their ability to maintain composure and mount a comeback isn’t
Jake Voracek’s goal to open the scoring for the Flyers was the perfect start for an improbably comeback. He swiped the puck from Mike Cammalleri, pushed it past him and drove at Miikka Kiprusoff, beating him with about four minutes left in the second period.
With less than a minute left, Braydon Coburn wound up and put a shot on goal with Zac Rinaldo buzzing the tower. The shot caught defenseman Scott Hannan’s leg and got past Kiprusoff. Entering the second intermission at 3-2, it suddenly felt like a very different game.
The PP1 unit was the next to strike. Despite Jaromir Jagr’s stick literally exploding, the Flyers maintained possession, and Kimmo Timonen found a sweet seam for a point shot on net. Hartnell tipped it on the way in, tying what seemed like the entire world at 3-all. Oftentimes, people refer to a tie game as being 0-0, that the game might as well be started over. This wasn’t like that though. The Flyers had far too much momentum for this to feel anything like a restart.
Even after Alex Tanguay scored on a bullshit call for a penalty shot, the Flyers kept the heat coming.
For a moment it looked like Nicklas Grossman might have had his first goal as a Flyer, but it turned out the point shot was tipped by Hartnell, giving him a 30-goal season and the Flyers a tie ballgame.
Overtime came and went, and we were all faced with our favorite NHL entity—the shootout. It’s no secret that Bryzgalov and the Flyers’ shooters have been terrible with the trick shots, but things would end up differently in this go-round.
Bryz came up huge on the Flames’ first two attempts, but JVR and Briere both missed in laughably poor efforts. JVR faked himself out of his shot, the puck going perpendicular to his angle on the net as he shot nothing but air. Briere tried the near-stop, then slow skate toward the net, but Kipper poked the puck away with ease. After Cammalleri beat Bryz, Claude Giroux kept the Flyers alive with a nice move. Jarome Iginla pulled a slow roll that had made 10 moves in it, but Bryz stayed square the whole way. After Wayne Simmonds and Curtis Glencross each took a turn, rookie Matt Read finally ended it.
The goal won’t count toward Read’s total, but it’s still about as good a way to snap a drought as I can think of.
Again, the Flyers aren’t anywhere near out of the woods yet. The wakeup call from the Edmonton loss didn’t come until the Calgary wakeup call sounded, halfway through the game. But, it did come, at least for one night. We’ll see if the effect is lasting.
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