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Wings Fall In Overtime 6-5, After Furious Comeback Against Flyers

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings faced off in a matinee game with the Flyers today. It wasn’t long ago these two teams were having similarly tough seasons. But oh how a month can change things. The Flyers have gone from cellar dwellers to a potential wildcard team, albeit still a lengthy way to go, after they were finally able to find a steady presence between the pipes in the unexpected Carter Hart.

For the Wings there was one notable lineup change today with Tyler Bertuzzi making his return to the lineup. However Frans Nielsen was out today due to illness, which will hopefully be a short term absence. Bertuzzi returned to his regular place in the lineup on the wing with Larkin and Nyquist. Taking Nielsen’s spot on the second line was De la Rose between Mantha and Vanek. One other piece of news today was the Wings recalling Filip Hronek from Grand Rapids. Although he wasn’t in the lineup today, there’s a good chance he will be in for tomorrow’s game which will be a welcome addition after the demotion of Cholowski.

Jimmy Howard was in the net once again for this contest in what could potentially be one of his last in a Wings jersey as rumours continue to swirl with the deadline approaching in just over a week.

Could the Wings put enough pucks behind the impressive young netminder Hart to beat the suddenly hot Flyers?

1st Period

It didn’t take long for Howard to make his presence felt in this game with a nice sliding pad save off a rebound as he quickly slid left to right to get in position just in time to save a backhand shot put towards the net. The next chance belonged to Nyquist as he meandered through the middle of the Philadelphia zone trying to find an opening to Bertuzzi. When nothing materialised, he took a backhand shot that Carter Hart was able take in his chest.

But the next opportunity belonged to Philadelphia as they gained some sustained pressure in the Wings zone. Nolan Patrick circled across the top of the zone and drew the Wings players towards him. As he crossed the top of the zone, he slid a backhand pass over to Gostisbehere, who was moving towards the goal. Gostisbehere carried the puck towards Howard largely unchecked and made quick work with a bullet wrist shot upstairs to the short side on Howard, 1-0 Flyers.

Three Wings players were caught puck watching on the goal and Gostisbehere should likely have been picked up by Athanasiou based on the video evidence. The Wings tried to strike back quickly on a pass through the crease to Bertuzzi, but he couldn’t get his stick on the puck and it redirected off his skate to the corner. The Larkin line continued to buzz as on their next shift Larkin got an opportunity as he picked up a loose puck across the high slot area. With pressure on his back, he put a shot towards the net but missed just wide. Larkin was visibly upset later on when he tried to pick up a puck at the red line but appeared to be hooked to the ice. No call was made, and it drew a reaction from Larkin as he went for a change.

The Flyers on a rush from Howard’s right tried to sneak one high short side on him as they crashed down towards to goal line. It’s possible the tape on Jimmy shows there’s something to that shot placement as the Flyers tried it a few times but this could easily just be a coincidence as well.

With 6:00 to play Bertuzzi raced to retrieve a puck at the top of the circle in the Flyers zone. He spun and fired it towards the net. The puck redirected off a Flyers player’s skate and right to Nyquist alone out front who deflected it under Hart and into the back of the net, 1-1.

The Wings had another chance shortly after on an Athansiou pickup of a puck high at the Flyers blue line. AA made a couple moves to get in towards the net, he then tried to slide it across the crease, but Hart got a piece of it to steer it away. The Flyers then got a chance the other way as Mantha turned a puck over trying to send it across the top of his own zone. The shot went wide but bounced out towards the crease area which was then knocked towards the goal line but Howard scrambled to get a glove on it and keep it out. The teams exchanged a few shots for the next few minutes but nothing too dangerous until a shot by Laughton of the Flyers setup by Simmonds with a nice touch pass into the high slot. Howard slammed his pad down though to make the tough save. That essentially brought the period to a close.

The Wings seemed to pick it up a bit after a somewhat slow start. But the same could be said for both teams. The Wings problems continue to stem from almost all of their offense coming from one line of Larkin, Nyquist, and in today’s case Bertuzzi. The only other source is bursts from Athanasiou. The good news is Bertuzzi appeared to pick up where he left off being heavily involved both with and without the puck.

2nd Period

The Wings came out quickly as Nyquist got the first chance coming down the left side on a 2 on 1. The defender took away Nyquist’s option to pass so he made a toe drag move in front of Hart to try to find an opening on the far side, but Hart made an impressive glove save. On the following rush by the Flyers Kronwall was called for a holding penalty and the Flyers had the first power play chance of the game. The Flyers had a couple good shots early in the power play but the Wings cleared a couple times. But with 0:30 remaining in the advantage the Flyers set up in the offensive zone and worked the puck to Konecny at the point. The winger stepped towards the net and put a shot high towards the short side that Howard couldn’t see, 2-1 Flyers.

The replay showed some just awful work by the Wings defensemen on the play. DeKeyser shifted out towards Konecny on the play and while not in great position to block it he wasn’t far off position considering he was moving out high in the zone, but he gave up the shooting angle to the short side regardless. The truly terrible play here was Ericsson cutting across the front of the net to pursue a Flyers forward down low near the goal line on the short side just as the shot was coming. He completely screened Howard on the play and may have even redirected the shot himself off his glove. Given the punishment doled out to young players like Cholowski for his mistakes, these are hard to watch by the Wings veterans.

The Wings rebounded quickly to try to tie the game once again. Vanek had a point blank chance off of a rebound shot but Hart made a nice save on it. The Flyers were the next to get a chance on a terrible Wings change. Jensen and DeKeyser were back but they faced four Flyers alone. The Flyers were able to hit a trailing Laughton at the top of the slot and he dragged it across the middle of the ice before shooting back against the grain and beating Howard up high, 3-1 Flyers.

Another poor execution by the Wings on a bad line change and they had their work cut out for them to make a comeback in this game. One welcome change following the goal was Athanasiou being moved between Mantha and Vanek on the second line. However this move may have been done earlier as the replay of the third Flyers goal showed it was AA, Vanek, and Mantha making the wholesale change that led to the 4 on 2 rush.

Adding insult to injury, DeKeyser picked up a high sticking penalty to send the Flyers back to the power play. The Wings managed to kill the penalty, but it was the Flyers who continued to push the pace following the penalty rather than a push back from the Wings. The Wings did eventually get another chance on a give and go between Mantha and Vanek. Mantha tapped a pass back to Vanek in the right circle but Vanek couldn’t beat Hart with the shot.

The latter parts of the period really dragged on as both teams seemed to ease off the gas. However with 3:00 to play the Wings went to their first powerplay chance of the game on a trip low in the Flyers corner. The call was a bit soft, but De la Rose did go down and the Wings certainly needed a chance to get back in to this one.

But outside of an early one timer by Mantha from the right side the Wings never really got setup in the zone again and the Flyers killed off the penalty. The rest of the period ticked away and the Wings had a very uphill challenge to come back in this one leaving a lot to be desired in that period. The shots were only 19-17 for the Flyers, but the game felt a lot more tilted than that in their favour.

3rd Period

The Wings did not get off to the start they needed to in the 3rd period as the Flyers rushed into the Wings zone with Voracek lobbing a pass over to Lindblom who had a clean lane to the net. He took a quick shot that Howard saved, but the rebound popped out to the slot where Voracek was first to the spot before two Wings defenders and knocked in the rebound, 4-1 Flyers.

Shortly after the back breaking goal, the Flyers rushed the zone again with Patrick putting a shot on Howard from high in the zone. Jimmy lost track of the rebound that landed right next to him after the shot caught him up high on the shoulder. Patrick outraced Daley to the loose puck and knocked in his own rebound, 5-1 Flyers.

That last one was probably the only goal Howard would want back and despite giving up five, there was no pinning this one-sided result on his shoulders. Bernier entered the game after the goal to give Howard a bit of a reprieve as may potentially be looking at playing again tomorrow but it could indeed be Bernier getting the start instead. With 18:00 still to play and the Flyers up by a comfortable score, there was a good chance both teams were going to ice the lower end of their lineup with them playing each other once again tomorrow.

The Wings did show some life and tried to put a dent in the deficit when Larkin picked up a puck behind the net and sent a pass to Bertuzzi who cut across the net and beat Hart to the far side, 5-2.

Very soon after the Bertuzzi goal, Vanek carried the puck into the zone down the left side. After attempting to find a passing lane, he elected to hold it and put a shot up high to the short side that beat Hart, 5-3.

Two quick strikes from the Wings and we suddenly had a game again with 16:35 still to play. Not long after the Vanek goal, Konecny rushed up the right side but was thwarted by Nyquist on a great back check before he could get a shot off. Konecny seemed to take exception to the play as he delivered a slash to Nyquist afterwards, and Nyquist responded in kind. The two squared off with some shoves back and forth before the referee called both for penalties. Some 4 on 4 action followed. Green had probably the best chance during the 4 on 4 time trying to beat Hart five hole with traffic in front, but the goaltender closed the door.

The feverish pace slowed down after the early burst of two goals aside. But the Wings certainly started to tilt the ice more in their favour after showing signs of life. But time was against them as the game went into the final 13:00 or so. The Wings set up in the offensive zone a few minutes later with Jensen working the puck across to DeKeyser at the top of the Flyers zone. DeKeyser stepped towards the net and put a shot on net as traffic gathered. Mantha deflected the shot low to the far side beating Hart as the puck went off the post and in, 5-4.

With 11:24 remaining the Wings suddenly had what seemed like plenty of time to tie this game up after scoring three in just under 6:00. The Wings continued to push after the Mantha goal looking like a completely different team than the first 40 minutes of this game. Mantha came close to tying this game up when Athanasiou gained the offensive zone and flipped a puck towards the net for a rushing Mantha. Mantha chipped the bouncing puck, but Hart was able to get in front of it with just over 5:00 to play. Athanasiou was next up as he rushed down the left side using his patented speed, he tried to beat Hart high on the short side but could not find space.

The Flyers were upset by a shot from Mantha to Giroux they deemed was excessive. They weren’t wrong as Mantha shoved him from behind while he was on his knees head first into the boards, but he was unhurt on the play. The Flyers tried to engage Mantha for awhile after the play but Mantha would not meet the request. Thankfully he did not, particularly with Gudas, given Mantha’s history with his hands in fights and Gudas’ block head.

After the early flurry in the period the Wings were suddenly running out of time to square this game up. Bernier was pulled with just under 2:00 to play. After calling a timeout with 1:29 to play the Wings sent out Kronwall, Green, Larkin, Nyquist, Mantha, and Vanek. The Wings had trouble regrouping and gaining possession in the Flyers zone, and they never really got to setup until there was less than 0:25 to play.

Kronwall and Green passed back and forth across the top of the zone before Green finally put one towards the net. Green put a well placed shot pass towards Mantha near the faceoff dot on the right side. Mantha redirected the puck perfectly to the top corner of the net to tie the game with 0:07 to play, 5-5!!!

Off to overtime!!!


Larkin opened with Nyquist and DeKeyser for the overtime period. But after the first shift, it was the Flyers who owned the puck. They were patient waiting for an opening. Couturier floated a shot towards the net with Konecny crashing towards Bernier. Bernier had trouble with the sinking shot and had to direct a rebound to his left near Konecny. The Flyers forward quickly corralled the puck and circled behind the net and beat Bernier with the wraparound, 6-5 Flyers.

Wrapping Up

Well, after sleepwalking through approximately 42:00, the Wings certainly made the game interesting with a 3rd period for the ages. Mantha exploded in the final frame and showed shades of Holmstrom with his work on deflecting pucks. Bernier, unfortunately for him, will receive the loss on his stat sheet for giving up the winning goal. But not to be forgotten was the terrible defensive coverage and lethargic offensive play for the first two periods. The Wings are not a team with enough talent to play one period. This afternoon proved to almost be the exception. After the exciting finish the Wings are right back at it tomorrow evening at 6:00 with the Flyers again. LGRW!