By Kyle Phillippi (@Kyle_Phillippi)
A rather slow first 20 minutes saw the Flyers control possession for much of the period but fail to get anything past Charlie Lindgren. There wasn’t a whole lot going on despite the Flyers outshooting Montreal, 10-3. Then again, :31 seconds into the game, Shayne Gostisbehere dropped the gloves (uneventfully) with Max Pacioretty after Travis Konecny was tripped by the leg of Pacioretty.
Other than that, a few plays flew under the radar that deserve to be mentioned.
At the four minute mark, Travis Konecny showcased his burst of speed, blazing down the near boards to gather the puck, enter the zone and drop a pass back to Sean Couturier who fired off a good scoring chance. Plays like that are why the Flyers have been on the winning end so frequently this month.
Later, following a flubbed Brandon Manning point shot led to a Habs’ breakout and an ensuing lengthy possession with a few close calls, Petr Mrazek made a heads-up play, corralling the puck behind the net and flipping it off the glass to clear the zone and bail out his otherwise tired teammates.
While these were small plays, they’re the types of plays that display winning traits, like creating scoring chances with speed and successfully clearing the zone in a desperate situation.
[Enter Petr Mrazek]
The second frame was literally nothing more than a highlight reel of Mrazek. The netminder, who now has three games in the orange and black under his belt, stood on his head, keeping his team alive despite a clear advantage in possession towards Montreal.
Mrazek turned away all 15 shots he saw in the period; in the first, he needed to make only three saves.
Meanwhile, his teammates could only muster eight shows on Lindgren.
Oskar Lindblom had arguably the best chance after crashing the net, doing what he does best.. He is getting ever so close to netting his first career goal.
After two periods, the shot totals are dead even at 18. As mentioned above, Mrazek has carried his new club to this point. His tracking ability has been superb and none of the screens seem to be affecting him at all. The 26-year-old has done a fantastic job of smothering any puck out front of him, as well.
Just as the second went, the Flyers came out slow but this time around, they were able to get a few more chances in the first half of the period. None of which were better than the breakaway attempt by Dale Weise.
While that attempt didn’t result in a goal, it did provide a little spark for the club. From that point on, the rest of the period went back and forth. Shortly after the Weise breakout, Couturier had a chance down low as Konecny danced around the edge and delivered a feed atop the crease.
The Flyers received a shot in the arm at the six minute mark when Jake Voracek was taken down on a trip as he maneuvered into the neutral zone, setting up a power play with 6:25 to go. Unfortunately for the visitors, that man advantage was a huge missed opportunity as the score remained 0-0 when all was said and done.
The back-and-forth tilt was nothing more than that as the two sides continued to struggle finishing. A few late chances, including an unreal glove save by Mrazek, provided excitement in the final minutes but ultimately, were just the final images before the gut-wrenching overtime.
First things first: with a point, the Flyers minimally have tied the Capitals (who lost 5-1 to Columbus) for first in the Metro.
Now back to the action, which in typical OT fashion, started right off the puck drop as the Flyers attacked first followed by a dangerous looking Canadians attack spearheaded by Jonathan Drouin and Pacioretty. Mrazek remained calm and held his ground, making a huge save that sprung a look the other way.
A few seconds later, Konecny fired wide on a clean look and followed that up with a spin-o-rama that banged right off the post.
The teams traded opportunities as the period winded down, but it was Konecny, along with Ivan Provorov and Claude Giroux, who had the best looks. Giroux was robbed point blank by Lindgren in the final minute.
Onto the skills competition!
As was the case in regulation in overtime, the goaltenders stood on their heads.
It was finally Sean Couturier who broke the 1-1 tie to win it for the Flyers and move his club into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
3 – Sean Couturier
2 – Charlie Lindgren (Montreal)
1 – Petr Mrazek
3 Things to Know:
- The Flyers are 26-8-3 in their last 37 games — they are officially the best time in that span now, surpassing Boston (54 points) with 55 points in that span.
- This is just the second time in franchise history a Flyers team has won 10 games in February. The other time was during the 1975-76 season.
- Petr Mrazek moves to 3-0 with the Flyers. He stopped all 28 shots he saw.