June 5, 2023

Atkinson scores OT winner in come-from-behind victory over Flames


Photo by Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer

This one started out rocky, but the Flyers picked up their game in the final 40:45 in an overtime win over the Calgary Flames. Cam Atkinson scored the game winner at the Wells Fargo Center.

Period 1

At 7:45pm ET, the puck was finally dropped. Claude Giroux won the opening faceoff.

The fourth line had the first quality shift of the game for the Flyers. This game started, slow. Not much action in the first four-and-a-half minutes as the shots on goal were 3-2 in favor of the Flames. And oh by the way, Johnny Gaudreau had every shot for the Flames.

The Flames drew the first power play of the evening. Derick Brassard went to the box at 4:46 for high-sticking. Patrick Brown, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Ivan Provorov were huge on that penalty kill as the Flyers got the kill. A couple of saves for Hart on the PK and a couple of missed opportunities, but a decent job on the PK by the Flyers there as they got through it unharmed.

This game was pacing well as we went to our first commercial break at 11:21, which was also at 7:58. For a game that started at 7:45 on a school night, I was very happy about it.

Keith Yandle looked like he got tripped up by Blake Coleman in the Flyers’ zone with no call, he gives a guy behind the net a bit of a cross-check, and then a few pleasantries are exchanged between guys after the whistle. Bad call.

Carter Hart remained patient Tuesday night as he was making critical saves early with ease. Flames were coming out fighting harder than the Flyers early. And it showed when Oliver Kylington took a shot that took a weird bounce off of Sean Couturier that got by Carter Hart and the Flames took a 1-0 lead 10:31 into the first period.

Travis Konecny missed a tap-in and got boarded by Mikael Backlund at 11:54. He was slow to get up but looked okay. The Flyers got their first power play of the game, which was written as a two-minute boarding penalty on Backlund. The Flyers have been in a bad power play slump. They had a chance to possibly end that slump but Jacob Markstrom robbed Couturier as he dove to his left made a great save. A little scuffle insured where Couturier got pulled from the jersey collar.

Just a few second later, Andrew Mangiapane went to the box for a holding the stick penalty. The Flyers had a two man advantage for 32 seconds. The Flyers had horrible execution on the boarding power play, and got nothing done. The holding the stick power play flew by, and the Flyers failed to generate any real offense on almost three minutes of man advantage time. A golden opportunity to tie this game or even take the lead flew away. Loud boos rained from the stands at the end of the power play.

But, hey, the Flyers were right back on another power play with 3:24 left in the first period. It was an interference penalty on Matthew Tkachuk. Flyers needed to score here, for all of our sakes. Flyers got their best chance of the power play at 17:29. I bet you guessed it, is a shorthanded bid for Calgary. Nice shoulder save by Hart. And that was it. Nothing generated on what was the Flyers’ third PP of the period. Flyers did way too much passing on that PP. They talk about getting greasy goals, but they don’t shoot enough and get rebounds.

The first period wasn’t a particularly good one. Flyers had three power plays, very likely should’ve had more, and have still not managed to generate absolutely nothing. Flyers fans have said this a lot recently and we may continue to say it: Carter Hart is keeping the Flyers in this one.

Period 2

Couturier won the opening draw to begin the second period.

18 seconds in, Provorov had a nice scoring chance, but it was swallowed up by Markstrom.

At 32 seconds, Scott Laughton took an extremely dumb cross-checking penalty. He got baited into the penalty before a faceoff. It was possible that the Flame fell down easy, but you just can’t get sucked into that. With 44 seconds left in the PK, Noah Hanifin blew right into the zone and knocked one off the crossbar and Hart was there for the rebound chance from Andrew Mangiapane. Flyers got lucky including some good goaltending that this was still a one-goal game.

Flyers killed the penalty and Laughton came out of the box quick. He went on in and came out with a penalty shot at 2:38. On the PS, Laghton tried to wait Markstrom out on a sharp angle, but Markstrom staked him and made the save. Pretty lame.

Kevin Hayes got tripped up a bit, missed call by the ref. But I think we were all happy about it, as it was a great outcome. Hayes got his own rebound off a blocked shot and fired one into the net to tie this game up at one. It was Hayes’ first goal of the season, and he pointed up to the sky for his brother Jimmy who passed away in August.

Lots of credit to Rasmus Ristolainen for a great effort to keep the pick in the zone and eventually get it to Hayes. Tried the pass to the front that was blocked, then put the second chance home.

Hart made another great save, then Justin Braun and Tkachuk got in a little scrum, which turned into two roughing penalties and a 4-on-4. Absolutely nothing happened on the 4-on-4.

An aggressive forecheck by the first line around the 7:30 mark continued a strong second period for the Flyers and led to even more pressure. The Flames finally got back with a chance on that last shift, but Tkachuk took a slashing penalty. I’ll say it again, the Flyers are lucky they have Hart in net. They immediately give up a 2-on-1 on their own power play, one on which Hart is forced to make two good saves to keep the game tied. And you bet he did. On the PP, Hayes got twisted up and went right up the tunnel hunched over. Really scary sight. Flyers get zero shots on the PP and were fortunate Calgary didn’t score as they easily killed the PP.

I must say, Zack MacEwen had himself a game. He almost got one in front after the fourth PP. He played his tooshy off and got the puck on net.

There were many scuffles Tuesday night, but James van Riemsdyk jumped. He dropped the gloves and went right at Coleman with 10 second left in the period.

You don’t see that a lot. Coleman served for misconduct and van Riemsdyk served for roughing. There was 10 seconds of 4-on-4, before the final whistle was blown at the end of the period.

Pretty entertaining second period. Flyers get the goal back to enter the third tied 1-1. Shots are 29-26 Calgary. The Flyers are right back in it after a much better second period. Still nothing going on the power play, but the Flyers controlled play for the majority of the period, including most of the latter half. Bigger story was Hayes and Brown. Both were not on the Flyers bench by the end of the period. Brown missed the entire second.

Period 3

Couturier won the opening faceoff to begin the third period.

Good news is that Hayes was, thankfully, back on the bench as the third period began, and took the ice at 2:40. He looked maybe a little gimpy, but overall ok. Oh and by the way the 4-on-4 ended without a peep.

Claude Giroux made an absolutely disgusting in-between the legs move that would’ve brought the house down had he finished it for a goal. I also would’ve gone crazy because it was so stinking cool. It sort of reminded me of 2011 Giroux.

More bad injury news at around 7:40 is that Couturier went to the bench in pain. That’s obviously not very good, at all.

Talking about cool moves: Tkachuk tried the Michigan. It didn’t work. Then Elias Lindholm was in pain after getting hit with friendly fire.

Hart made yet another huge save. A nice deflection in close by Mikael Backlund but Hart’s in position to make the save. Not much doing since the initial burst by the Flyers and we were already at the halfway mark of the period.

The Flyers got on a 2-on-1 at 10:35. It was Couturier (who’s back after getting hurt) and van Riemsdyk. van Riemsdyk fired a shot, and hit iron. Huge bummer, because that would’ve been a huge goal a great one, too.

At 11:42 Gaudreau did a little wrap around attack on Hart, but he should’ve known you can’ fool Hart. Hart quickly got to the other side and blocked it with his left pad.

With 4:33 left in regulation, it was a 1-1 game. Flyers had outshot the Flames 37-34 thus far, including 10-4 in the third period. Really strong shift with 1:04 left by the trio of Couturier, Laughton, and van Riemsdyk. Markstrom stood his ground. With 10 seconds left, Giroux could’ve ended it on a 2-on-1, but he gave it up as it was intercepted. You got too be greedy sometimes.

Well, we’re heading to overtime. Flyers led 14-5 in shots on goal in the third period, really strong finish for them. But just couldn’t get that second tally.


It was Giroux, Cam Atkinson, Provorov to start OT for the Flyers. Lindholm won the opening draw.

Just 45 seconds in, Couturier took a shot that rebounded off of Markstrom’s pad and right to Atkinson who buried it for the win.

That was a good win for the Flyers Tuesday night. Sure, they only scored two goals, but after the first period it just felt different –– and the numbers back that up. Carter Hart continues to show that last season was a fluke and is up to a .938 SV%.

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