After an 11-day layoff on extended leave, the Flyers tried to extend their five-game streak with a point Wednesday night against the Seattle Kraken.
Their crack wasn’t that powerful, but strong Martin Jones goaltender kept the Flyers in the game and clinched a 3-2 overtime victory.
“In the first two periods, we returned too many pucks,” said captain Claude Giroux. “We weren’t supporting each other and wagering battles. It was pretty bad and Jonesy kept us in the game. In the third, I thought we were playing a bit more like we want to play as a team. “
With a game tied at 1-1 after the first two periods, the Flyers faced a period win, a game scenario win. This season, the team dealt with it successfully – their tied record after two was 6-1-1 on Wednesday.
After a Seattle goal was ruled out in the third period due to goalie interference thanks to a successful challenge from interim head coach Mike Yeo, the Flyers began testing goaltender Philipp Grubauer more frequently. After Jeremy Lauzon scored to give the Kraken a 2-1 lead, James van Riemsdyk equalized 15 seconds later for his second goal of the night.
Finally, defenseman Ivan Provorov scored an extended pass from center Kevin Hayes to end the Flyers’ third straight game in overtime, securing a victory to begin their four-game journey on the West Coast.
“We made it way too hard at different times,” said Yeo. “We forced ourselves to show more character than we maybe even needed. But that’s two big points for us, especially giving up the goal quite late and then finding a way to come back and win this game.
For most of the game’s first 40 minutes evenly, the Flyers made their home in their own zone, struggling to gain control of the puck and make a clean transition into the neutral zone. The Flyers scored their first shot on goal of the second period for just 11 minutes and 17 seconds. Conversely, the Kraken hit Jones with shots, scoring 23 goals in two periods.
When the Flyers failed to make an offensive attack, Jones helped the team stay in the game by keeping the score 1-1 going into the third period. One of Jones’ most critical saves came in the second half when the Kraken made their second power play of the night. Captain Mark Giordano’s explosion from the blue line made its way through traffic, but Jones was able to make the stop and prevent the Kraken from gaining the advantage. In total, Jones has denied 34 of 36 shots on goal, marking the seventh game this season in which he has faced 30 or more shots.
“We probably played too much on our side, but I think we did a decent job on defense,” Jones said. “We weren’t giving up on the reckless precipitation or the top-end Class A chances. So obviously we’d like to develop our way of playing in third and spend a little more time in Zone O.
On December 30, 2008, Giroux, 20, earned his first career point, scoring an assist on Jeff Carter’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Almost 13 years later, Giroux collected the No.600 assist as he set up van Riemsdyk for a power play goal. Giroux patiently held the puck in the left face-off circle, perfectly timing a pass for a shot on reception from van Riemsdyk.
The assist brought Giroux’s point total to 884, overtaking Bill Barber on the franchise’s all-time scoring list and in possession of second place. Now Bobby Clarke (1210 points) is the only Flyer to score more than Giroux in franchise history. Giroux took another step on Dec. 10 against the Vegas Golden Knights when he set a new franchise record for power-play points, with his 334th (an assist on Sean Couturier’s goal).
“Being able to pass Bill Barber is a great honor,” said Giroux. “He’s a legend in Philly. I have had the chance to meet him several times. This is obviously great. I never thought I would pass him.
Since Yeo took power on Dec. 6, the Flyers have scored 26.7% of their power-play chances, placing 12th in the league throughout that streak. In total, the Flyers had scored on 15.85% of their power plays for the season (26th in the league). The new trend of success continued into the start of the game for the Flyers – one of the few bright spots in the first half, during which the Kraken controlled evenly puck possession and took the lead. on 12-6 shots, was the power play of Philadelphia. Fifteen seconds after the Flyers’ first advantage of the night, van Riemsdyk landed a receiving shot from the lunge in front of Grubauer. The Flyers finished the game 1 on 3 on the power play.
While the Flyers have made progress on the power play, the power play has eased by a step since Yeo took on the role of interim coach. Ahead of the game against Kraken, the Flyers killed 78.3% of men’s advantages (17th in the league), down from their rate this season (81.52%, 11th in the league). These recent woes continued into the first period when a receiving shot from center Yanni Gourde from the top of the right face-off circle beat Jones to tie the score at 1-1. In the 60 minutes, the Flyers allowed one power-play goal on three power-play chances for the Kraken.
The Flyers’ four-game trip to the West Coast continues as they travel to San Jose Thursday night to play the Sharks at 10:30 a.m. (NBC Sports Philadelphia).