Sent ‘em Guelphing: Red Wings take Flyers to task with 6-3 win

Ken Kal started us off this morning with a fun stat.

I was born in 1995, which means...oh yeah, this streak is almost as old as I am. Ugh.

Anyway, Red Wings hockey is back after an All-Star hiatus. When asked about the All-Star Game, captain Dylan Larkin wasted no time bringing up his Very Good Friend Zach Werenski. Did you know they were roommates?

This is the first game for both teams in over a week. The Flyers currently have eight players on the injury sheet. This is a great chance to give

1st period

The Guelph line got things off to a great start. Some setup work from Pius Suter created a couple tip-in chances from Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri slapshots. In the first three minutes, the Flyers went to the penalty kill from a Travis Sanheim hold that would’ve otherwise resulted in a Bertuzzi goal. Ken Daniels reminded everyone that the Red Wings rank 27th in the league in power play percentages.

Fortunately, they wasted no time getting to work. Dylan Larkin, fresh off his All-Star appearance, scores the opening goal, making it 1-0!

Unfortunately, the Red Wings decided to be charitable, letting a Flyer with one goal this season score his second. Elite Coaches’ Challenger Jeff Blashill, however, didn’t let this fly. Sadly, you can’t bat 1.000 all the time. Philadelphia’s goal was good, making it 1-1 and restarting play on a penalty kill.

The Red Wings are 27th overall in power play percentages. The Flyers are 30th, and it showed. Besides one high-risk play that caught Alex Nedeljkovic out of position, their power  play was more of a miss than a hit. Moritz Seider threw yet another big hit (grass is green!) and opened more room in the neutral zone. According to Ken Daniels, Larkin’s goal was credited to Bertuzzi instead, though it sounds like a final decision has yet to be reached.

If anyone was worried about Lucas Raymond’s cold streak with goal-scoring, worry no longer. A great opening set up his 12th goal of the season! 2-1 Detroit!

The back-and-forth battle continued as Filip Hronek chased the puck out of position. Sanheim tied it up almost immediately. Look, I know Detroiters are very charitable, but that doesn’t mean their hockey team should give up goals every time they score.

Did I mention this was just seven minutes into the game?

The high-energy shots continued as Bertuzzi and Staal took aim at the Flyers’ net. Marc Staal played hero as a too-close-for-comfort bounce nearly sent the puck past the goal line. Thank goodness he was there: the puck was a hairline away from counting.

So far, the Zadina-Larkin-Raymond line appears to be working. The only player that looked particularly rusty was Nedeljkovic. Tonight’s start was the 35th game he’s suited up for this season, the most in his career. It’s likely he’s just getting his sea legs again  after a long break.

If you like power plays, the first period was rife with them. The Flyers yet again went off for a cross-checking call. If this power play were a snack, it would be Chips Ahoy. Michael Rasmussen and Adam Erne went to town in front of Carter Hart’s net, jamming in chance after chance. Like the snack, however, the power play was dry, unsatisfying, and too expensive for its own good.

The Red Wings through the first period looked good offensively. Like, “start of the season” good. The question is: does it continue throughout the rest of the game?

2nd period

The 2nd started with a scoring change, though it isn’t the one you’d expect. The Flyers’ first goal was credited to Isaac Ratcliffe, his first goal in his NHL career. As is tradition.

Within the first two minutes of the period, the Flyers took yet another penalty. This time, Oskar Lindblom tripped up Seider, setting up yet another power play opportunity for the Red Wings!

If the previous power play was Chips Ahoy, this one was Lay’s. Bland, salty, and incredibly overrated. Larkin was sent to the box after cross-checking a Flyer in the back. Four-on-four left a lot to be desired (like a bag of Lay’s). A nice Pius Suter shorthanded steal set up Danny DeKeyser, who shot the puck directly into Hart’s chest. For what it’s worth, DeKeyser might be the funniest player to watch right now.

The Zadina Curse is back with a vengeance after the forward missed another golden scoring chance. Fortunately, the Guelph Line played redemption hour quickly after as Pius Suter scores a big goal! It’s 3-2 Detroit!

The Bertuzzi-Suter-Fabbri combination is one of the best decisions Jeff Blashill has made in his time with the Red Wings. Each of the players complements the other so well and adds a little extra depth to a team sorely needing it. A delay of game penalty set the Red Wings back on the PK, where the Flyers proceeded to do a whole lot of nothing. Hearing the fans boo the players for not shooting the puck was hilarious, though.

If they weren’t booing before, the rest of the fans started right after Seider set up a breakout pass for Fabri to give Detroit a 4-2 lead!

As is tradition, the Flyers scored again, making it 4-3. All three of the Flyers’ goals came within 30 seconds of the Red Wings scoring. All three of the goals have been bounced off skaters. Two of the three have been bounced off Marc Staal.

Raymond and Seider have two points each on the evening, extending Raymond’s lead by five(!) points and putting Seider in fourth place, just a point shy of tying up Anthon Lundell for third place.

Another penalty for Larkin sets the Red Wings shorthanded again. Seider completely took over the penalty kill, keeping the puck as far away from Detroit’s net as humanly possible.  Yet again Detroit killed the penalty, and yet again Flyers fans were left frustrated.

The second period ended with 26 shots for Detroit and 19 for Philadelphia.

On to the third!

3rd period

Despite Zadina’s scoreless stat sheet, he looked incredible through three periods. The third was no exception: it’s unlikely that he leaves the top line anytime soon (barring injury). Gustav Lindstrom has had a very quietly good game, making few, if any mistakes and contributing in his own way. There’s something to be said about consistency, and Lindstrom has it in spades.

You know who else has had a quietly good night? The fourth line.

So good, in fact, that Givani Smith gave the team a 5-3 lead with one of the most confident goals of his career!

Givani Smith and Joe Veleno in particular have taken their games up a notch. Playing alongside a veteran like Sam Gagner has helped them to find their respective niches, allowing Veleno to play set-up man while Smith evolves his physicality.

The Flyers, through 17 minutes of the third period, amassed just one single shot. Even a late power play couldn’t help the team as Detroit continued to pepper Philadelphia with shots. Watching the Red Wings dominate defensively feels almost surreal. After watching the team get absolutely cratered for years, watching it from the other side is spectacular.

In the last two minutes, the Flyers pulled their goaltender. Seider took a nasty slapshot, but appeared unbothered as he hit the bench. Suter, with a clean shot, just narrowly missed the empty net.

Vladislav Namestnikov put a dagger in the heart of the Flyers, scoring a breakaway empty-netter to make it 6-3!

I was one year and 10 months when the Red Wings last beat the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Now, I’m 26 and 10 months.

Crazy how time flies.