After shocking the Penguins with a weekend sweep of a home-and-home series, the Flyers tempted fate against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
Craig Berube’s team came up with another fine effort for a 3-2 overtime win at the Wells Fargo Center. It was one of the best physically-competitive games the Flyers have played this season.
Claude Giroux won it with a blast off the right wing with 4.2 ticks left in overtime.
Embracing a 2-2 tie, the Flyers had five power plays and lots of chances.
Brayden Schenn had a goal waved off late in the game for a high-stick call to Vinny Lecavalier. It was not a reviewable play.
The Hawks came out hot against goalie Ray Emery, who had not played in a game since the end of February, as Chicago built a quick 2-0 lead minutes into the opening period.
After that, however, the Flyers patiently chipped away to draw even by period’s end with two goals from Scott Hartnell.
Now what followed in the second period was rather strange as the game settled into intermittent shots and a 2-2 tie as if both teams were playing for just that -- a tie.
Sean Couturier had the best scoring chance that period on a wraparound attempt even strength, while the Flyers continued to generate chances on their power play, which has been electric of late.
Chicago is 31-1-7 when scoring first this season.
Berube went with Couturier’s line against Jonathan Toews; Giroux went up against Ben Smith’s line with Patrick Kane. Through two periods, Toews did not have a shot on goal.
This was Game 3 of the 12 games that will pretty much decide whether the Flyers are going to make the playoffs. The Flyers are 3-0 with six points through their last three games.
The Flyers are 13-9-2 against the Western Conference.
Emery’s last start was a 2-1 win over Calgary. His last appearance was in relief of Steve Mason during the Feb. 27 blowout loss to San Jose when he injured his groin.
Both goalies had it rough, especially Emery, who looked very rusty in the first period. A bad drop pass in his own end by Brayden Schenn resulted in Andrew Shaw beating Emery at 2:29 as the Flyers' goalie was slow reacting to the play. A little over a minute later, Duncan Keith ripped a shot from inside the blue line and the puck hopped through Emery’s five hole. Two goals on four shots. Obviously, the Flyers' start against Chicago wasn’t of the Pittsburgh variety.
Chicago also went with its backup goalie, Antti Raanta. Hartnell made it a 2-1 game at 5:48 when he banged the puck off Raanta’s left skate into the net off a pass from defenseman Braydon Coburn behind the net. Hartnell’s second goal at 16:27 tied the game after Giroux and Matt Read did some nice forecheck work to wear the Hawks down.
The Flyers hit six of them in this game.
After going 3 for 7 in two games against Pittsburgh, the Flyers were eager to keep it going. Giroux and Mark Streit each nailed the right crossbar in the first period. They had five power plays in the game and a half dozen scoring chances on the first three power plays. On the third one, Wayne Simmonds couldn’t find a puck at his feet in the paint while Brayden Schenn missed a perfect setup from Lecavalier as the puck was just wide of his stick off a redirect. Giroux and Jakub Voracek each nicked the post on the fifth power play. The Flyers finished 0 for 5.
The Flyers were a perfect 3 for 3 against the Blackhawks.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen celebrated his 39th birthday.
Michal Handzus won a clutch draw off Giroux in the first period with the Hawks facing a 10-second, two-man disadvantage. The lost faceoff allowed Chicago to eat up the seconds and regroup to face a four-on-three.
Zac Rinaldo and Sheldon Brookbank fought to a second-period draw. Bryan Bickell had a decision over Simmonds in the third period.
No changes. Defensemen Hal Gill and Erik Gustafsson; forward Jay Rosehill.