On the second end of a back-to-back, it was all about how much the Flyers could weather the storm and gut their way to a potential point or two to make the leap from the first team out to the last team in.
The Flyers were a resilient bunch twice, rallying back for the tying goal in the first and again in the second, setting them up for a third-period fight to the finish.
The Flyers only managed four shots in the third, one being a long-range shot by Radko Gudas that deflected off a Blackhawks defender and past Scott Darling. The four they allowed were all testers on Michal Neuvirth, who stood tall in making 24 saves, but mainly the third period was about a gritty finish and an effort that wins games come playoff time.
For the Flyers, already in playoff mode, it was as fitting a finish as you could find as the team made the leap into a playoff position.
Coming off of last night's emotional 4-3 victory over Detroit, the Flyers needed to put forth a great effort to get two important points. The Flyers did just that on Wednesday night. Michal Neuvirth was outstanding, the Flyers came back twice before Radko Gudas put them ahead for good and the Flyers held on for a 3-2 win.
Marian Hossa put Chicago ahead with his 11th goal of the season. Shayne Gostisnehere broke his stick on a shot attempt on the power play. Hossa took a pass immediately after and went in on Neuvirth alone for the short handed goal.
No Philadelphia Flyers rookie has ever won the Calder Trophy. It is not that they have not had their share of viable candidates over the years. They've had a few top-end finishers in the balloting and their fair share who've earned NHL All-Rookie Team selection honors after the season but never an NHL rookie of the year.
Could Shayne Gostisbehere make history as the Flyers' first Calder winner? It's possible, especially if he continues to deliver in clutch situations over the remainder of the stretch drive. However, he has two factors working against him (and, no, being a Flyer is not one of them).
First, Gostisbehere is competing in a tough field of Calder candidates. He faces tough competition from the likes of Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks), Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings), Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres) and possibly even Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) despite the fact that McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.
Secondly, just as the missed time more likely than not will take McDavid out of the running among the Calder voters in the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, the fact that Gostisbehere has only played 50 games to date due to starting the season in the American Hockey League (he was not recalled to the NHL until Nov. 14) and a brief injury-related absence could wind up hurting his candidacy just enough to push him down a notch or two on some ballots.
Whether he wins the Calder Trophy or not, Gostisbehere has undeniably had a spectacular rookie season. If he doesn't win the Calder, at least he'll be in good company among past Flyers candidates. Arguably, Bill Barber in 1972-73, Brian Proppin 1979-80, Dave Poulin (an older rookie at age 24 but still a Calder qualifier) in 1983-84, Ron Hextall in 1986-87 and Mikael Renberg in 1993-94 had the most Calder-worthy seasons among the field of contenders during their respective rookie seasons.
Flyers look to continue their march to the postseason as they visit Chicago
Photo Courtesy of Kate Frese
The Philadelphia Flyers (33-23-12) try to build on last night's 4-3 win over Detroit when they head to the Madhouse on Madison to play Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks (41-23-6). The Flyers enter tonight just one back of Detroit for the final playoff spot with two games in hand. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00.
This is the second and final meeting between the two clubs and the lone matchup in Chicago. The Flyers defeated the Blackhawks 3-0 way back on October 14th. Michal Neuvirth picked up the shutout victory in that game.