The Philadelphia Flyers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday night against the New Jersey Devils. After an embarrassing effort through 58 minutes or so of the game, Claude Giroux saved the day for the Flyers.
Claude Giroux made history and played hero by scoring two goals in 22 seconds to tie the game with the goalie pulled. Then, after a scoreless overtime, he opened the shootout with a goal. Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes also scored to give the Flyers the 4-3 win in a shootout.
Although the Flyers won, the result won’t completely overshadow the team’s effort for the large majority of the game.
It was the first of four games against the Devils as the Flyers look to finish out the season strong. After all, Chuck Fletcher has a big offseason ahead of him and it doesn’t seem like any players will be off the table.
Fletcher said after the trade deadline two weeks ago that players have a chance to leave a lasting impression heading into the offseason. They followed that up with a lifeless effort the next night and have been mediocre at best since. Even Sunday night’s win came in an uninspiring game.
The Devils had more jump in the early going. Right off the opening faceoff, the Devils got a chance off the rush just seven seconds into the game and then set up in the offensive zone.
It wasn’t a great start for the Flyers and it got worse before it got better. The Devils looked like the better team for the early going, and they converted on an odd-man rush to open the scoring.
Samuel Morin and Philippe Myers both made bad decisions to pinch and that left Claude Giroux defending an odd-man rush. The 2-on-1 nearly turned into a 3-on-1, but the Devils only needed the two players to score on a nice passing play.
Morin and Myers left Claude Giroux all alone and the Devils made the Flyers pay.
After that, things opened up a bit for the Flyers.
Kevin Hayes made a nice backhand pass to Joel Farabee, who got the puck on net for one of the Flyers’ best chances in the early going.
The Devils iced the puck on the rebound, giving the Flyers an offensive-zone draw.
Claude Giroux won that faceoff back to Ivan Provorov, who bumped it over to Philippe Myers for a blast. Myers’ shot deflected off of a Devil before Sean Couturier tipped it past MacKenzie Blackwood to get the Flyers on the board.
It would’ve been Myers’ first of the season, but Couturier clearly got a piece of it.
That goal woke the Flyers up. They spent a lot more time in the offensive zone after that. They finished the period strong and managed 16 shots on goal in the frame. Unfortunately, however, most of them were from the outside.
Of the Flyers' 21 shot attempts in the first period, only six were scoring chances and only one was a high-danger chance. They out-attempted the Devils 21-16 and outshot them 16-8, but New Jersey had a slight advantage of 0.63-0.59 in expected goals. (@NatStatTrick) pic.twitter.com/6emoIjgELr
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 25, 2021
The Devils and Flyers each had an odd-man rush in the first few minutes of the second period, but neither team was successful.
It was a nifty move by Allison to open up the lane and hit Cates with the pass. The rookie has shown a lot of promise in just a handful of games.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot going on for the Flyers in the period. You could tell that it was a game between two teams just playing out the rest of their schedules.
The Flyers had the better of the play early in the period, but that didn’t last for long. The Devils scored the lone goal of the period with the Morin – Myers pair on the ice.
The second half of the period was largely uneventful. There were stretches of play where you could clearly hear the sounds on the ice as the crowd remained silent. It was an uninspiring effort in a season full of inconsistency.
The Flyers did put some pressure on late in the period, though. The third line created some chaos in the crease, but Justin Braun‘s shot was blocked.
In the final minute of the period, the Devils took the game’s first penalty for too many men on the ice. The Flyers got the first power play of the game with 36.4 seconds left in the period.
The Flyers’ power-play time carried over into the third period.
The Devils led 2-1 after two periods of play and outshot the Flyers 11-9 in the second period.
The Flyers' strategy of shooting from the outside and hoping for a deflection isn't working out too well tonight. pic.twitter.com/8JbZUDL1JS
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 25, 2021
The third period wasn’t very different than the first two.
The Flyers started the period with 84 seconds of power-play time, but you couldn’t really tell. They never got set up in the offensive zone and the Devils killed off the penalty with ease.
Then, shortly after the power play expired, Kevin Hayes took a high-sticking penalty. The Devils had their first power play of the game with a chance to go up by two goals.
The Devils’ power play was better than the Flyers’, but Elliott made a few strong saves to keep it a one-goal game.
The Flyers’ young defensemen have struggled mightily this season and that continued on Sunday night. After Morin and Myers were caught on the Devils’ first two goals, it was Travis Sanheim and Myers on the ice for the Devils’ third goal.
Sanheim and Myers both looked a bit lost as Zacha scored from the slot. That was just before the midway point of the period and it didn’t look like the Flyers would be able to come back.
But they did.
Claude Giroux scored twice in 22 seconds with the goalie pulled to tie the game late in the third period.
His first came off a nice pass by James van Riemsdyk.
Then, after a timeout, he did it again. Once again it was JVR with the assist.
That tied the game at three and forced overtime.
The Devils got a power play early in overtime after Ivan Provorov took a tripping penalty. The Flyers killed it off, though, with Elliott making a big save on Jack Hughes.
Neither team could score in overtime and after five minutes the teams headed to a shootout.
The Flyers got out to a hot start in the shootout.
Giroux and Couturier both went five-hole on Blackwood to open things up.
Unfortunately, the Devils scored in the second and third rounds to tie it.
Then, finally, Kevin Hayes scored with a filthy move and it proved to be the shootout winner.
The Flyers got the win to extend the Devils’ losing streak to 10 games. The two teams play three more times this week.