The Flyers earned what proved to be another important two points on the season as they defeated the Jets last night in overtime. Rookie Shayne Gostisbehere recovered from what appeared to be a broken play to feed the Philadelphia captain the game winning goal.
After a scoreless first period, veteran defenseman Mark Streit opened up the scoresheets. Less than five minutes later, Wayne Simmonds scores from the point, deflecting off Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
The Jets did not go down without a fight. Young forward Mark Scheifele scored is 25th goal of the season late in the 2nd period, and Blake Wheeler had the only goal in the 3rd, leaving the score at regulation tied.
The Flyers emerged victorious after a back-and-forth overtime period. There are some key elements that led to this victory. Here are “Tom’s Takeaways” from yesterdays game:
Steve Mason – In the absence of Michal Neuvirth, Mason has excelled as the Flyers goaltender as he had yet another stellar outing against Winnipeg. He saved 26 of 28 shots, giving him a .929 SV%. Though consistency has always been an issue in the Flyers net, it seems as if Mason is getting hot at the right time. Let’s hope he stays that way.
Claude Giroux – The captain is leading by example as he led the team with 2 points on the night. Giroux showed tenacity after getting roughed up late Saturday night vs. Arizona. The hit looked ugly, but he bounced back last night and scored a clutch goal to give Philadelphia the extra point.
Sean Couturier – Couturier consistently shows why he is one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He is the Flyers go-to shutdown man, and he is always putting up points. When healthy, it is no doubt that Couturier is a huge asset to the team and its success.
Shayne Gostisbehere – This guy is pretty much the teams saving grace. Without Gostisbehere, the Flyers blue line would not be nearly as good as it is. There are a countless amount of moments that show why he deserves to win the Calder trophy, or at least be a finalist. He makes the magic happen last night as a seemingly broken play turned into the game winner.
Power play – It is no secret that as of late the Flyers power play has mightily struggled. Ironically, that was one of the teams strongest points all year. The first unit is making unnecessary and too many passes, which leads to less scoring chances. The second unit has not been as much of an issue as the first, but the big guns need to get it going on the power play, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Jakub Voracek – At first, the fans were expected to give the guy a break, as he was just returning from injury. Since then, we have not seen the same Voracek that we are used to. Granted, it is obvious that he is not 100% healed from his injury. He is not skating quite as fast as he normally does, and he has made some costly turnovers.
The 4th Line – The Flyers 4th line normally shows an extensive amount of hustle and grit. The line of Bellemare, VandeVelde, and White, usually an energetic line the Flyers can depend on, seemed fatigued last night. They were more of a liability when on the ice, which is normally not the case. The 4th line went a minus 1 against the Jets.
The Flyers keep pace with the Detroit Red Wings in the playoff race. The Red Wings defeated the Buffalo Sabres last night, keeping them tied with the Flyers in points. Philadelphia still holds the last Wild Card spot. They look forward to Wednesday night, as they face arguably their biggest challenge down the stretch: The Washington Capitals, who have just won the Presidents’ trophy, securing the number 1 seed throughout the entire postseason.