Many of the Flyers faithful have waited to see what Shayne Gostisbehere would do when given his chance to take a full time role with the team, With Mark Streit due to miss 4-6 weeks, this has become the Ghost’s big chance to show the NHL world that he is ready. He did not disappoint.
A big concern about Gostisbehere is his size. Tonight he showed that he makes up for the lack of size with speed and basic hockey instincts that are a necessary tool to survive in today’s NHL. He made several outstanding defensive plays where he either broke up the rush or used perfect positioning to intercept a pass and immediately work the puck out of the zone either skating it or with a pass of his own.
The highlight of the night came late in the third period when the Ghost (as he will become known) fielded a pass along the blue line on his backhand (not an easy play) and with veteran like confidence made a move around Canes forward Chris Terry took a long stride and fired a wrist shot that was timed perfectly with Wayne Simmonds arrival in front of Cam Ward. The puck deflected off Simmonds and into the net to tie the game.
What a play from Shayne Gostisbehere. pic.twitter.com/Wh5S9DSrnB
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 15, 2015
If that wasn’t enough to get you jumping up and down in your living room; 37 seconds into the overtime period Jake Voracek finally got his first goal of the season for the win. On what appeared to be a reasonably good scoring chance for Del Zotto that was set up with a Giroux pass, Del Zotto elected to not shoot and instead pass to wide open Voracek moving towards the front of the net. It was a great play by Del Zotto as he fooled the Hurricanes players so well, that they actually tried to keep an open lane for Ward to see the shot that never came. Voracek redirected the pass into an open net and the celebration ensued.
It was a great finish to an otherwise uneventful game that featured some of the same old Flyers questionable passes and shots that sailed wide of the net and served more as zone clearances than shots. About halfway through the game the Flyers had only registered 3 shots on net and another 7 that missed their mark and either cleared the zone on their own momentum, or set up the Canes for odd man rushes.
The Hurricanes first goal came on one of those plays when Voracek missed the net with a shot and Del Zotto attempted to keep the puck in along the boards. With no one covering for the pinching Del Zotto he was forced to play the puck into the middle part of the ice and the Canes were off to the races in a two on one. Lindholm carried the puck and it looked like the Flyers might recover when Gudas got in the way of the shot and Lindholm slid the puck across the goal mouth. Eventually the puck bounced around and free on the other side of the net where Lindholm knocked it to an open net.
The Canes second goal came on the power play with White off for boarding. Justin Faulk took a nice wrist shot from the slot area that sailed high over the net and Eric Staal found the loose puck behind the net and slid across to Rask who buried it behind Mason.
The Flyers didn’t play that badly from a defensive standpoint and Radko Gudas again led all players in hits with 9. But we can’t ignore the fact that they looked better defensively against one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
The Flyers offensive woes looked like they were going to continue and at times it was downright ugly. Than one of the more innocent plays you could see resulted in a Flyers goal. Rafl attempted a wrap around that went through the crease and all the way across to the boards. Luke Schenn picked up the loose puck and just safely threw it back towards the goal and a screened Ward barely moved as it fluttered past him and into the twine.
The Flyers did turn it up a notch after the Schenn goal. They seemed to get the turnover problem under control and started to really limit the Hurricanes chances. The third period was mostly owned by the Flyers who out shot the Canes 11-3 in the period. Although there really wasn’t any dominance established by either team it was nice to see the Flyers making smarter plays as the game went on.
As the old saying goes; a win is a win. But this was a huge win. They came back from a two goal deficit. Voracek finally netted his first goal of the season. The Ghost delivered with not only a great assist on the tying goal, but brought a different energy to the team overall. This type of win might be just what the doctor ordered.