The red hot Philadelphia Flyers (34-20-7) went into Nationwide Arena for the back end of a home and home series against the Columbus Blue Jackets (30-19-13) on Thursday evening. Despite another sluggish start, the surging Flyers pulled out a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory to bring their torrid pace to 11-4-1 in the last 16 games.
Columbus got on the board first on a strange goal just :41 played with Oliver Bjorkstrand putting a shot past Brian Elliott. No one knew it was a goal as the puck lodged in the top of the net. Bjorkstrand laid claim to a goal but it took some time for the officials to sort out what happened. Nick Foligno went in on a breakaway and notched an absolute gem of a goal. He scored a between the legs shot and at 9:05, the Jackets were rolling.
The Flyers started to get their game together with another “is it or isn’t it” goal just 23 seconds later. This pulled Philly to a one-goal differential when Travis Konecny scored while laying on the ice. Travis Sanheim fired a shot that hit the skate of Konecny and disappeared. Konecny pointed and said, “it’s in’ and once again, confusion ruled for the moment. The puck was found lodged in padding but, was indeed squarely in the net.
Stefan Matthau redirected a blast from the point to put the home team in front, 3-1.
The Flyers, undaunted, kept working and were rewarded with a Nic Aubrey-Kubel conversion of a Michael Raffl set up at 14:26. Claude Giroux, who not too long ago was mired in a terrible slump, got things even when he cashed in a Sean Couturier feed on the man up and the game was all even, 3-3. That would end the scoring in regulation as both teams were unable to convert on stellar opportunities.
Heading Into OT
On to extra time they went and Kevin Hayes became the hero. He took advantage of a defensive miscue and game Philadelphia two valuable points.
Dis and Dat:
- Philadelphia sits in the third spot in the Metropolitan Division
- Columbus is mired in a tailspin with 0-3-4 record in their last seven contests.
- Claude Giroux has picked the right time to heat up and has accumulated 12 points on 4 goals and 8 assists in his last 7 games.
- Brian Elliott played very well with 28 saves. Elvis Merzlikens was also on his game with 29 saves.
- The Flyguys made a few moves before game time and sent Gotisbehere to Lehigh Valley on a Conditioning basis as he works his way back from the knee injury.
- Jean Francois Berube was shipped to the Rangers for future considerations to make room for the 3rd Round pick in 2017, Kiril Ustimenko.
- Ustimenko was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Month for January while playing with Reading.
- The 21-year-old posted a 19-4-5 record with a 2.40 goals-against average with Reading.
- Ustimenko and Alex Lyon are the goaltending duos in Lehigh as the Flyers are very deep at that position.