By most statistics, the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators were evenly matched in their matchup yesterday afternoon. The difference in the game came down to a few players stepping up and making a play.
The Flyers top nine forwards did not provide any goals, but team defensemen and an AHL call-up scored the big goals. The 3-2 win moves the Flyers in the right direction, although some questions linger about these particular forward combinations.
Tyrell Goulbourneof the Lehigh Valley Phantoms has drawn comparisons to former Flyer Zac Rinaldo early in his career. Tonight against the Hershey Bears, he looked more like current Flyer Claude Giroux.
Goulbourne had two goals and Petr Straka added two of his own to continue his hot pace, as Lehigh Valley won, 4-3, on Friday night.
November's been a bit of a dismal month for the Flyers -- after all, they ran out of steam from their 4-1-1 start and stand at 4-6-3 in games played this month. In games they've showed up for, they've blown more than their fair share of late leads, and still managed to not show up for games as well.
They've been out-shot, have fallen behind in a variety of possession metrics, and have seen their offensive numbers fall not just to last in the league, but to historically-bad levels as well. The team has also seen several players struggle with injuries, and Dave Hakstol has had to make a slew of lineup changes.
But the good news for the Flyers(8-10-5) is that the month is now over. Unfortunately, it ends with a trip to a building that has not been hospitable to them at all in the past several seasons -- as they head to Madison Square Garden for a matinee contest with the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers.
When two teams score within the first four minutes of a game, it typically means that plenty of more offense is on the way.
And when the Flyers (8-10-5) and Nashville Predators each lit the lamp just four minutes into Friday afternoon's contest, it looked like the game would have all the makings of a high-offense shootout -- the kind that the NHL has needed. However, both teams proved why their offenses have been struggling as of late, as that 1-1 score lasted for much of the game.
As the game headed into 3-on-3 overtime -- which seemed all but inevitable as the game remained tied -- the usual fast pace and excitement that comes with the still-new format was in full force. But the Predators (12-6-4) took what would ultimately result in a costly too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, allowing Shayne Gostisbehere to score his second overtime winner and third goal of his young season.