The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Andrew MacDonald signed a 13 year, $300M contract.
No wait, that’s wrong. Bryce Harper finally got benched.
Wait, wait. Those got mixed up. ANDREW MACDONALD GOT BENCHED AND BRYCE HARPER SIGNED WITH THE PHILLIES FOR THE NEXT 13 YEARS!!!!
What a day. All it took was the city of Philadelphia sacrificing Wayne Simmonds and Nick Foles to the sports gods. Honestly? The Simmonds trade still really hurts, but this return is SO worth it.
Anyway, let’s get into the game.
With no Simmonds or MacDonald, there was a hole to fill in the Flyers’ captains group. Jake Voracek was given the A for the game, an honor he really should have been given a long time ago. He lived up to the leadership expectations right away, scoring on the power play just 3:30 into the game. Giroux and Gostisbehere got the assists.
A ridiculous interference call on Elliott gave the Blue Jackets an undeserved man advantage, which of course they scored on with one second left. Scott Gordon challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but the league’s coin flip determined there was none and the call was upheld. It’s fine though. Bryce Harper is a Phillie for the next 13 years.
The weirdness of the first period continued as Bjorkstrand scored his second goal of the night a few minutes later on a bounce off of Provorov’s skate. This time the referees actually consulted the rulebook and determined that the goal did not count, as Bjorkstrand had kicked the puck into Provorov’s skate. Page 78, Rule 49.1: A goal may not be scored by the kick of an attacking player unless deflected off the stick of an attacking player.
JVR scored a few minutes later, a sick between-the-legs shot. But Columbus challenged that the play was offsides and the goal was called back. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s three goals reviewed in the first 17 minutes of play and two goals called back. No need to worry, though, because Travis Sanheim cleaned up around the net with two minutes left in the period to give the Flyers the lead. Amazingly, there was no review this time and Konecny and Patrick got the assists.
At the end of the period, the Blue Jackets led the shot count 14-9 but trailed the Flyers on the score sheet 2-1. Oh, and Bryce Harper still signed with the Phillies. Through 2031.
The second period started ugly as neither team could remember how to maintain possession of the puck. Honestly, they were probably all still doing the math on the Harper deal in their heads. $330m divided by 13 years is an average $23.4ish million per year.
Artemi Panarin tied the score 7:30 into the period. “Bread Man” might be the stupidest nickname in sports, but he sure is a good player. Elliott definitely should have had that one, but he somehow found a small gap in Elliott’s pads.
A minute later, new Flyer Ryan Hartman got caught charging Matt Duchene. On the ensuing penalty kill, Couturier got hooked on a breakaway. Somehow Couturier wasn’t awarded a penalty shot, and neither team was able to capitalize on the four-on-four.
Phil Myers made his presence known late in the period as he was able to break up a Blue Jackets two-on-one. Columbus had a chance with Panarin and Atkinson, but Myers read their play the whole way.
The third started the same as the second, uncoordinated on both sides. Harrington broke the tie just over four minutes into the period on an ugly shot from the blue line. Travis Sanheim answered back nine minutes later with his second of the night, joining the rush and tapping in a beautiful feed from Voracek. He now has eight goals on the year, four of which have been against Columbus.
Neither team could break the tie and they headed to overtime.
The good news was that Nolan Patrick was back on the ice after taking an uncalled interference headshot late in the third. He’d been slow to get up, but his presence back on the ice was good to see. The bad news was that Seth Jones scored as the overtime period was coming to an end to give the Blue Jackets the win. It was his second overtime winner against the Flyers of the season.
The Flyers got one point, largely in thanks to Travis Sanheim’s two-goal performance, but couldn’t manage to grab the second point. On a positive note: Elliott played exceptionally well aside from the Panarin goal, Voracek seemed like a man on a mission, Laughton did everything except score, and Travis Sanheim did what Travis Sanheim apparently does. Unfortunately they just gave Panarin and the rest of the Blue Jackets offense too much space to work with and ultimately fell short.
It’s okay though, because Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies today and everything is still sunny in Philadelphia.