The Flyers went into the game against the Blue Jackets looking to produce a better effort than they put up in Buffalo the night before. The Blue Jackets were coming off of a gritty shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In net for the Blue Jackets would be Sergei Bobrovsky who the Flyers traded for three draft picks in 2012.
The Flyers started the game with some big changes to the lines. Travis Konecny got moved to the first line and Nolan Patrick was placed on the second line. The Flyers seemed to have a bit more of a jump in their play compared to the last game.
The effects of the new line combinations showed immediate results and led to the first power-play of the game when Claude Giroux got tripped
by Jack Johnson in the corner. The Flyers power play has struggled in recent games and it showed on this power play. The overpassing and
bad decisions returned for the Flyers, none bigger than when Ivan Provorov attempted a leaping play to keep the puck in at the point with no one
back to cover up for him. Provorov missed the keep in and it led to a breakaway by Cam Atkinson who hit the crossbar with his shot keeping the score knotted at zero. The errors continued right after the failed power play with the Flyers being caught with too many men on the ice.
The Blue Jackets are currently last in the league in power play percentage at 11.5 %. The Flyers penalty killing does not fare much better being ranked 29th in the league with a 76.6 % efficiency. The Blue Jackets set up play in the Flyers zone to begin the power play after a few crisp passes from Artemi Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand the puck made its way back to Seth Jones at the near point. Jones seemed to take a little off of his shot that caused Provorov to misjudge his block attempt causing the shot to deflect off his right leg and by Elliott’s blocker for a 1-0 lead. The period would end with the same score.
As the period got under way the Flyers wanted to put the errors of the first behind them and step their game up for force the play
and get even with the Blue Jackets. Then the play went back and forth for the first few minutes of the period with neither team showing dominance.
At 3:48 into the second period Travis Konecny picked up the puck in full flight from Sean Couturier and gained the Columbus blue line, this causes three Blue Jackets players to back up and allowed the Flyers easy entry into the zone. Konecny moved the puck back over to Couturier who just stepped into the zone. Couturier stopped skating right inside the zone to wait for the play to develop and made a cross-ice backhand pass to Giroux. After receiving the pass on his forehand he took one stride and flipped a quick backhand to Provorov, who just crossed the blue line. Without breaking stride Provorov sent a one-timer on net that beat Bobrovsky to the glove side for the 1-1 tie.
The third period was played between two teams coming off a loss with neither team wanting to be the one who made the mistake to extend their last loss into a two-game losing streak. Both teams had opportunities on the power play to take the lead but the goaltending had an answer for every shot sent their way.
With the period winding down and overtime seemingly inevitable the Flyers were able to skate up the ice and with 20 seconds left in the game.
Couturier stick handled over the blue line, made a quick move to the center of the ice and was able to get a quick snapshot past the right leg of Atkinson that beat Bobrovsky to the stick side. The ring of the post filled the stadium and announced that the game was not going to be settled with a goal off of a second rush. The game ended in a one-all tie and headed to overtime.
Each team had opportunities in overtime to get the extra point but the goalies once again were the deciding factors in making sure only one goal will get by each of them in this game. 60 minutes of regulation play and the additional 5 minute overtime was not going to be enough to decide a winner and it was on to the shootout.
With four players already taking their shot at the shootout win, the Blue Jackets rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois stepped up for his first shootout attempt.
After taking the puck off the center ice dot, Dubois skated into the zone and took a wrist shot that beat Elliott over his right shoulder for the first
goal allowed in the shootout.
Jakub Voracek stepped up as the Flyers last chance to continue the shootout. The Flyers forward scooped up the puck and carried it into the zone. Voracek entered the zone on the far side of the ice and made a sweeping cut to the slot. Just as Voracek reached the slot he attempted to catch Bobrovsky moving with a quick wrist shot low to the blocker side which hit the right pad and deflected into the near faceoff circle. The Blue Jackets behind the goaltending of Bobrovsky picked up the extra point with the shootout win.
The Flyers will now have five days off over the Christmas break to think about the points they let slip away in the last two losses. The Flyers travel to
Florida to play the Panthers on the 28th and the Tampa Bay Lightning on the 29th. The Flyers will be looking to bounce back and the break may be just what the doctor ordered.
Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and comes back fresh and ready for some hockey.