Don’t call it a comeback.
Literally one cannot since the multiple rallies never equated into a true victory, but considering how fierce the Nashville Predators played against the Flyers last night, perhaps grabbing at least one point via a shoot out loss was a victory of sorts after all.
It’s odd considering this game a rally when the reality was that the Flyers were actually on the board first and quickly at that thanks to Brayden Schenn, a youngster finally making good on his potential. When factoring in that Philly out shot Nashville in the first, things actually seemed to be going in the Flyers favor.
That was until the Preds responded to Schenn’s goal with two of their own, helping Nashville off the ice for the first intermission with a 2-1 lead. It was at that point that this felt like a series of comebacks, for the Flyers would have to tie the game more than once and withstand being out shot heavily from the 2nd period on to make it to overtime in the first place. The first comebacker that knotted the game at 2 apiece came thanks to defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who has finally remembered that he is an offensive defenseman, and it would actually be the only scoring in the entire 2nd period. It wasn’t for lack of the Preds attack on Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who wound up facing 37 shots on the night, and put aside 34 of them, 25 of which coming in the last two periods.
Things seemed to be a game of the Flyers fending of a Preds offensive rush until Nick Grossmann took a hight sticking penalty that drew blood from Patric Hornqvist, a careless penalty and it wound up being a double minor. The Preds would than go on to strike thanks to a familiar name among Flyers fans in once and potential highly sought after prize defender Shea Weber. Because Weber landed a power play slapper within two minutes, it meant the Flyers would have to serve the other two minutes because of the double minor policy, which sometimes feels maddening because it was the same penalty. The bright side to this meltdown is the fact that it occurred early within the third period, which gave the Flyers plenty of time to attempt to even up the score yet again, and to some surprise(maybe none these days, this team is never really out of a game lately), they in fact did tie the score up and with less than two minutes to play. Wayne Simmonds, who has been absolute fire on ice the past couple of weeks, tallied another goal, his 11th in the past 14 games, and the Flyers managed to hang on to force the game into overtime.
The overtime was a bit of a letdown, with all of five shots on goal attempted between the two clubs, and it seemed like they were somewhat eager to test each other in the shoot out. This isn’t the first time the two clubs have gone to one, with one this season, a Flyers win.
Here’s where the story gets a little weird, but should not be shocking at all to longtime Flyers fans. The goalie in net for the Predators was one time Flyer(Yeap, never heard that one before, huh?) Carter Hutton, who was a fill in for Preds All Star goalie Pekka Rinne, whose season has been a dismal setback from a hip injury that became infected. Hutton was a tryout with the Phantoms who was let go because at the time goalie Johan Backlund was considered a superior talent in the minors. This shouldn’t be a shocker as this season has featured a host of former Flyers all doing something significant against this club, the latest being former agitator Dan Carcillo, now a New York Ranger.
The shoot out was a long and drawn out affair this time around, and we wouldn’t even see the first goal scored until nine shooters in. After that, four of the next five shots wound up being goals, and the Flyers finally lost out when Roman Josi cashed in for the Preds after Wayne Simmonds couldn’t keep the scoring pace for Philly.
The Flyers have now lost three of their last four, and needed a magic goal by Vincent Lecavalier with mere ticks on the clock left in the third to beat the Buffalo Sabres this past Tuesday. It would appear that this is a season of streaks, and right now, the Flyers are in a downward trend. But the hope will be that once they bounce back, it will be a streak in a positive direction. I’m certain they’d rather have this sooner than later.