Huge comeback lifts Flyers over Red Wings
Mark Streit and Jake Voracek scored big goals for the Flyers in a come-from-behind win over the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night.
PHILADELPHIA >> Once again Wednesday night, the Flyers fell behind early.
Once again they fought back to tie.
Once again a defensive mistake seemed to kill them, only this time they had another comeback in them.
With time ticking down and goalie Michal Neuvirth looking on from the bench, the Flyers used their extra man to full man-advantage, with Mark Streit scoring a game-saving goal with just 1:02 left in regulation time.
Then after Detroit had controlled possession for a long spell at the start of overtime, an errant Wings pass sent Claude Giroux back leading a 2-on-1 break. He slid a perfect pass to Jake Voracek, who rifled a sharpangled one-timer home for a 4-3 overtime victory at Wells Fargo Center.
It was a textbook 3-on-3 OT goal by the Flyers’ two best offensive players. Took a while, though.
“It was a long shift,” Giroux said. “We got the 2 on 1 and ... I don’t know where Jake was going. He was over in the corner at one point. But he’s got a good shot so that was good.” It was fun. It was exciting ... This stuff is getting old, no?
“Yeah,” Giroux exclaimed. “It’s getting old. We need to just start getting the lead and keeping it. We have the ability to do it. We have the potential of being a good team. I don’t know what we’re waiting for. But when our backs are against the wall, that’s when we start turning it on. At least we know we can do it. We just have to do it for 60 minutes.”
This latest in-game resurrection was forced by Radek Gudas seemingly hitting a speed bump in the third period, losing the puck at his blue line. Just a blink later Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader passed it right through defenseman Brandon Manning to ageless Henrik Zetterberg, who promptly scored a goal for a 3-2 Red Wings lead.
Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou also scored for the young (except Zetterberg) Wings, those goals coming within 16 seconds of each other midway through the first period. It was the eighth time in the Flyers’ first 11 games that they would have to play from behind.
Maybe they’re getting good at it.
Rarely offensive Chris VandeVelde, playing just one day after his wife gave birth to a daughter, went flying (literally) through the crease and managed to shovel a puck passed by Brayden Schenn into the net before he crashlanded next to Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek at 13:39 of the second period.
“I think I threw the puck wide to Schenn. He skated it up and then pulled up and feathered a nice pass over to me and I was able to beat their goalie,” VandeVelde testified. “It’s nice that it happened after my daughter was born, so it is pretty exciting.”
It would get a tad more exciting.
Then Flyers kept coming, and finally 3:51 into the third, an Andrew MacDonald slapshot was bobbled back into the slot, and new Flyer grinder Roman Lyubimov was there to rebound it back into the net for his first NHL goal and a 2-2 tie.
But what this Flyers team has done in this young season is be consistent with defensive mistakes. Gudas and Manning combined for another one that came very close to costing the club another game.
Not this time, however, as the Flyers showed that for every mistake, a comeback is always a possibility. This was the seventh time they came back to at least tie a game in which they fell two or more goals behind early on.
“We’ve put ourselves in a hole here game after game, so we have to figure that out,” VandeVelde said. “It shows some character that we come back and win, but you don’t want to keep repeating that game after game.”
Despite being a big part of the victory, Schenn found himself taking the stand in his own defense in the locker room after the game.
Though he didn’t get penalized, replays showed that he leveled Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith with a shoulder check to the head late in the second period. Since Schenn had already served a three-game suspension this season stemming from a hit on T.J. Oshie in Game 6 of the playoff loss to Washington last April, the presumption is this one will warrant a long look at the league disciplinarian office.
“In the intermission I watched it, and I 1,000 percent didn’t try to (hit) him. I know it looks that way. I was trying to get out of his way and avoid contact,” Schenn said. “I’m kind of watching the puck (there). To be honest I didn’t even know ... I was trying to get out of his way and avoid contact. I wasn’t even trying to make body contact there. I talked to both officials and they said the same thing ... and I went up and apologized to Smith.
“I’m not trying to go out there and pick anyone in the head, and especially jump into it. I knew I did it but it was 100 percent an accident and I apologized.”
Jake Voracek, left, celebrates his overtime goal with Claude Giroux, center, and Shayne Gostisbehere after the Flyers rallied to tie late in regulation and completed the comeback Wednesday night for a 4-3 victory over Detroit.