Photograph by Else via Getty Images
The first minute of the game the Philadelphia Flyers played against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, October 18th set an ominous and depressing tone for the rest of it. Just 56 seconds into the game, Blackhawk Patrick Kane opened scoring. The Flyers were able to keep the game 0-1 through most of the first period. Unfortunately, Chicago made their presence felt when they scored 2 goals times 46 seconds apart. They were scored at 17:26 and 18:12, by Dennis Rasmussen and Artemi Panarin, respectively. The Blackhawks closed out the first period 3-0. Are you sad yet? Maybe a little angry? Is sangry a thing yet, because it should be a thing.
During this time, Ivan Provorov has been receiving some negative attention and may be needing some support. The game was not incredibly kind to him, there was some falling and some less than optimal plays. It may be growing pains. It may involve gravity, it happens a lot. Regardless, it is his 3rd game of the season, he is a rookie and he is 19.
Furthermore, he is also in a career position, he is not making ends meet until he is qualified to seek a job in his field. This is what is at the end of his rainbow, this is the rest of his life and his happily ever after. It is very possible that a 19 year old may have some less than optimal things happen due to inexperience, it is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, being a pro athlete draws greater criticism than someone making you a sandwich while saving money for school of a sandwich for themselves. This is wrong. You eat the sandwich, you do not eat Provorov.
Coach Dave Hakstol has a similar outlook; “He’s going to be fine, he’s been a good, strong player for us all the way through. There’s five guys on the ice in all those situations…The one or two mistakes, those are easy to move past. Some of the other things we’ll look at, grow and learn from.”
The second period was less exciting (for Flyers fans), although Blackhawk Marian Hossa scored his 500th career goal 5:04 into the period. This was a power play goal that arose from a hooking penalty by Boyd Gordon. Correspondingly, Steve Mason took his place on the rink, replacing starting goalie Michael Neuvirth. The Flyers finally opened scoring for themselves at 18:23, denying the Blackhawks the opportunity for a shut out. Matt Read broke the seal and scored on the power play, assisted by Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux. The second period closed with the Flyers still down 1-4, but the action would continue wildly in the third period.
General Manager Ron Hextall has taken note of Matt Read’s contributions; “I really like the way Reader is playing, he’s clearly picked his game up. He is much sharper, crisper, faster. That’s a big plus for us at this point.”
The Philadelphia Flyers brought their momentum from the second period into the third and things got fabulous. Whatever was said during the intermission needs to be bottled and sold to the masses. Matt Read had fans reaching for their hats when he scored his second goal of the evening at an impressive :37 into the period, assisted by Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux. In like fashion, Sean Couturier joined the effort 1:07 later with his own goal, assisted by Travis Konecny and Nick Schultz. Moreover, Wayne Simmonds added his own contribution at 3:49 into the period, just 1:55 after Couturier’s goal, assisted Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. The Flyers scored 4 goals in 5 minutes and 26 seconds, tying the game 4-4. It was 5:26 seconds of hope and glory, reminding us what the Philadelphia Flyers are capable of.
“The positive is the character to come back and tie the game in the third period, to stay with it and do that is a positive. The thing we’ll look at the other side is, just too loose on a couple of plays,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol commented on his team.
Then Chicago started scoring again. Hearts were breaking, tears were shedding and the Flyers roller coaster was continuing in motion. You know where this is going, right? Terrible places. At 10:24, Chicago got their lead back after Artem Anisimov acceded their 5th goal, making it 5-4. Not much time passed before Artemi Panarin made it 6-4 at 16:03, his second of the evening. Artem Anisimov closed out scoring at 19:15, his second goal for the night, for a final score of 7-4, with Chicago as the victors. While the Philadelphia Flyers may not have made a full comeback, they only lost 4-7, which is much better than 0-7, and they showed some serious grit in the process.
Flyers Wayne Simmonds reflected on the game; “We never give up, I don’t think we ever have ever since I’ve been here. We’ve always been a team who’s been able to come back. Obviously that’s not the situation you want to be in. We made a good push, but we turned the puck over a couple too many times.”
In addition, we saw some classic Claude Giroux with his 3 assists. Every captain is a different type of captain, some are out in front and score 25+ goals a season. They are foreground people who type A all over the place. Conversely, there are captains who are back ground B types who have Beyoncé strong thighs from letting people hitch a rides on their back. They are commemorated in karaoke when their team mates sing Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” and then dedicate it to their captain. Claude Giroux is the latter. He is doing things differently, he is contributing and he is doing what his team needs. Looking at his time since becoming captain full time, he has consistently made roughly twice as many assists as goals. Every goal cannot be scored unassisted, so this is not a bad thing
In less than happy Giroux news, his post game snack is almost a whole box of fish sticks for almost a comeback, but the grilled cheese sandwich of victory is for winners alone.
Michael Raffl has sustained an upper body injury and will miss 10-14 games.
The Philadelphia Flyers play next on Thursday, October 20th at their home opener.
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