Just how close was the Flyers’ flirtation with disaster on Tuesday night? There’s the shot up above—you be the judge.
Sure, Philadelphia wound up defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-2, so in the grand scheme of things Nick Grossmann kicking the puck out of his own net might not seem to have mattered all that much. The Flyers had just allowed a third-period marker to knot the score at two though, and should Grossmann’s bail-out save been ruled a goal based on replay, Philly would’ve been trailing and in line for yet another late-game collapse.
Instead, the refs did not find sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the ice, and Kimmo Timonen (1 G, 2 A) would find the back of the net a short time later to help spark the Orange & Black down the stretch. Crisis averted, and the Flyers move to 8-10-2 on the season.
Seeing the play in real time, I was fairly convinced Grossmann made an incredible play. After watching enough replays, I’m fairly convinced the puck in its entirety probably did cross the goal line at some point. Remember though, the rubber needs to be completely over the red line, and close as it is, these low resolution screen grabs don't prove much.
Maybe the real genius in this play was Grossmann’s positioning over the puck prevented the overhead camera from getting a look that likely would’ve confirmed any suspicions. The explanation from the Situation Room:
Those are the breaks, and the Flyers pick up two big points.
Whether Grossmann kept that puck out of the net or not, it was a tremendous effort by one of the game’s top stay-at-home defenders. Afterwards, head coach Craig Berube joked his defenseman was tough enough to stand in goal without pads. Or maybe it wasn’t a joke. Grossmann is a scary dude.
There’s been a lot of talk lately that the Flyers may have turned a corner. They’re 6-3-2 over the last 11 games, so maybe there’s something to that theory. Finishes like this leave me feeling a bit more reserved though. Had Ottawa been awarded that goal with just over 10 minutes remaining, how would it have changed the momentum from that point on? My guess is the Flyers don’t win if that happens.
Sometimes it truly is better to be lucky than good though. That said, this team needed a break like that, arguably deserved one, and they finally got it. Good for them.