Photo is by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
Between a dominating first period and rock solid goaltending in the final period, the Philadelphia Flyers pull out a big win over one of the teams they are chasing for a wild card spot as they edge the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, 4-3. From the opening puck drop, the Flyers dismantled the Wings physically and peppered their goaltender with shot after shot. In the second and third, Detroit began to find their legs and the two teams began to alternate goals. The win gives Philadelphia their 33rd of the year and with that, they have pulled within 1 point of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers received goals from Michael Raffl (11th, 12th), Wayne Simmonds (25th) and Shayne Gostisbehere (16th) in the winning effort. The Flyers noticeably set the tone early in the game with not just a myriad of scoring chances but a level of physicality that was unlike anything we’ve seen from them this season. The Flyers had 28 hits for the game and were led by Ryan White (9) and Brayden Schenn (7) in that category. In general, the Flyers pursued the Red Wings (and puck) with what rivaled a playoff-like intensity. It was a good thing to see with the 2016 playoffs within an arm’s reach.
Winning goaltender Steve Mason stopped 34 of 37 shots fired his way. The win gives Mason his 17th of the season and even though he only saw 3 shots in the entire first period, his workload only increased from there. By the third period, Mason was called on to be the team’s player and answered the Red Wings onslaught with a few key saves. It was good night for the Flyers goaltender.
Here is tonight’s notable of the game:
The night belonged to Flyers’ forward Michael Raffl as his first goal of the game help set the table for what would become a huge regulation win. Since signing a new contract with the team, the Austrian forward has been more assertive offensively and overall, looks more comfortable now than he has at any other time this season. Players like Raffl hold significant value in the new, modern NHL; while offensive upside may be somewhat limited and dependent on whom he is playing with, Michael Raffl’s underling, advanced metrics suggest that good things tend to happen for the Flyers when he’s on the ice. It yeoman’s like work that never gets fully recognized but lately, it has and it’s helping the Flyers win hockey games.