The outcome of last night's Flyers-Sabres game still burns on the morning after. Coming all the way back from an early 3-0 deficit, then losing in OT, it was playoff hockey at its roller-coaster finest. Unfortunately, this one ended in a valley instead of on a high.
The Flyers' third goal was the height of the night for Philly fans, not only because it capped the comeback, but also because it came as a result of some great work by three different forwards. Kris Versteeg came in hot to snare the puck beneath the goal line, and Mike Richards took over from there. Despite the obstacle of the net being between him and his intended target, a perfectly perched Danny Briere on the doorstep, Richie found a way to get the puck there. Video below.
It started with the kind of play the Flyers went out and got Versteeg for. We were left wanting more from Versteeg in the regular season, but hoped his playoff experience would pay off. While there's still a desire to see him be the best player on the ice for a game, playoff games are often won because of plays like the one Versteeg made in the goal above. This one went to OT because of it, and yeah we all know what happened there.
Richards' contribution to it was a bit more glamorous and really what made it go from a simple possession behind the net to an equalizing goal. In one fluid motion, he swung his orientation 45º and lifted the puck without so much as settling it first. The pass went over the back of the net to Briere, who was straddling the goal line on the opposite side. Briere knocked it down to himself, then shoveled it home as Ryan Miller tried to catch up to a pass he couldn't have been expecting to meet its target. I guess if you want to catch Miller out of position, it's going to take something fairly unexpected.
Are we spending a bit too much time focusing on a highlight that didn't ultimately decide the game and not much time at all on the plays that did? Probably. But we have plenty of time to stew over the loss and the now do-or-die scenario the Flyers find themselves in. We're starting the Saturday hangover programming with some appreciation for one of the things that went well last night before moving on to some of the questions that will need to be answered before Sunday's tilt. Probably.
Thanks to Mr Flyer Guy for the clip.