Flyers complete successful homestand, earn 4-3 OT victory over Hurricanes
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
By Charlie O’Connor (@THG_Charlie)
On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers carried the play throughout overtime against the Florida Panthers, but watched their hopes of victory disappear in a shootout.
With a flick of the wrists, Daniel Briere prevented a repeat on Saturday afternoon.
Sprung by a long outlet pass from defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, Briere carried the puck into the slot at the 1:47 mark of overtime and beat Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward to give the Flyers a much-needed 4-3 win.
“When I cut to the middle like I did at first, my plan was to drop [the puck],” Briere said. “I realized that their defenseman was up and the second defenseman and forward were back checking, lunging to go towards Kurtis [Foster] as well, so I decided to keep the puck and there was a little opening in the slot to shoot it in.”
Philadelphia’s recent homestand proved successful, as the team earned seven out of eight possible points, and find themselves tied with the Hurricanes for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Especially after having a slow start, we wanted to take control of these four home games and I think we did well,” Matt Read said following the game. “I think we lost one point against Florida the other night which I think shouldn’t happen, but to take seven of eight you can’t complain and you move forward from here.”
The Flyers had a slow start for their second straight game, and yet again, it cost them. Jiri Tlusty gobbled up a fat rebound off a Joe Corvo slapshot and beat Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for his first goal of the season only 17 seconds into the contest.
But Brayden Schenn, continuing his strong February, was there to respond with six minutes left in the first. Schenn, who also added two assists, redirected a Kimmo Timonen slapshot to tie the game. The 21-year old Schenn has rebounded from a difficult January, with two goals and five assists in five February games.
“The past four games I’ve been trying to make more plays, carry the puck a bit more,” Schenn said. “I felt like we’ve had some good chemistry over the past couple games and tonight it clicked.”
Matt Read got in on the action in the second, taking advantage of a ghastly Eric Staal turnover to beat Ward for his team-leading fifth goal and ninth point of the still-young NHL season.
Jeff Skinner’s sixth of the season tied the game at 2-2 with 8:43 remaining in the second period, but the Flyers struck back immediately with Voracek’s third of the season only 15 seconds later, set up by a beautiful cross-ice pass from the red-hot Schenn.
Carolina carried the play throughout the third period, outshooting Philadelphia 13-7, and were rewarded with Joe Corvo’s first goal of the season, a slapper from the point that bounced off the shoulder of Kurtis Foster and into the net.
Read admitted that the team’s third period was not as strong as they would have liked.
“I think the third period we didn’t come out on our toes and we laid back and kind of sat back. We let them take the play to us for 13-14 minutes.”
Despite a late flurry that saw Read stopped at point-blank range by Ward right before the buzzer, the Flyers were forced to contend with their second straight overtime, setting up Briere’s late heroics.