Flyers beat Devils with wild 3rd period
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There's a few things to discuss with this game between the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils. First, the Flyers shuffled their forward lines. Jakub Voracek played on an entirely new line with Nick Cousins and R.J. Umberger, while Claude Giroux played with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Second is how two of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL combined for a nine goal game.
The third item of note is how this was a game of three acts. In the first act, the Flyers spent much of their time shorthanded. The second act is where the teams settled in, and played how would you expect these two teams to play. The Flyers, in fact, went over 10 minutes without a single shot attempt in the second period and into the third. The third act was a late goal frenzy.
Starting at the top for individual lines, the Giroux line had a decent game with a matchup against the Travis Zajac line. The line had eight total points, but most of that damage came on the power play. Down on the second line, this novel group scored two key 5v5 goals in the third period. Much maligned Umberger grabbed two points there on good assists. One must presume Dave Hakstol will be pleased with the results in an effort to spread out the offense.
On the other lines, the Pierre-Edouard Bellemare line didn't have good possession numbers, and the fewest 5v5 minutes, but they got a workout shorthanded. That's probably a good idea for this group of fourth liners. Lastly, the Sam Gagner line may not be feeling loved, but they had a pretty good game. They won possession against the Devils third line, and Matt Read was second among all forwards in total ice time.
This game was perhaps even more interesting for the Flyers defense. Adjusting to life without Michael Del Zotto, the Flyers were put in an even tougher spot when Radko Gudas was ejected early for this hit. It wasn't the most violent hit you'll ever see, but it was way behind the play, and Gudas is now racking up questionable hits. He's dodged suspensions for all his recent transgressions, but he's not playing very smart. He's definitely getting a reputation now.
Down a man, it was all hands on deck. Combined with all the shorthanded situations, there were all kinds of combinations popping up for the Flyers. Most notably, Shayne Gostisbehere extended his point streak to 13 games. This is pretty amazing considering how few goals the Flyers have scored recently, but there was little suspense in this one. Whereas Ghost didn't pick up a point until there were only nine seconds left in the last game, a first-period goal against the Devils took care of business. Otherwise, Gostisbehere led the team in 5v5 minutes, but an 0/8 Corsi difference in nearly six minutes with Nick Schultz killed his overall numbers.
Speaking of Schultz, he and Andrew MacDonald had so-so 5v5 numbers, but deserve a lot of credit for their penalty kill work. They led the team in penalty kill ice time in a game where the Devils only went 1-for-7 on the power play, despite a 5v3 and nearly 13 total minutes with a man advantage. Furthermore, MacDonald was a plus-3.
Mark Streit had the most total ice time of all Flyers. There were no points for he or Evgeny Medvedev, but they had the best possession numbers, and Streit was plus-2 as well.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter@SuperScrub47.