A Wet and Wild Win for the Ages

© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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I don’t blame you if you turned it off. It’s not your fault. Who in their right mind would’ve thought the Flyers – down 3-1 with 13:31 remaining in the third period – would have any shot to topple their cross-state rivals in what had devolved into a sloppy mess of a game? If you woke up this morning kicking yourself for turning it off, imagine how the 20k+ people who bailed early in the third period felt. Tickets for the Stadium Series game were going for hundreds of dollars, even with Flyers’ Wunderkind netminder Carter Hart sidelined with a lower-body injury after having been announced the day before as the backup. There’s an old cliché in sports: You need your best players to come up large in your biggest games. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday night.

There were plenty of fans and media alike who went into Lincoln Financial Field expecting a lopsided Pittsburgh victory. Brian Elliott entered the game as a starter for the first time since a November 15th tilt against the New Jersey Devils. The way he acquitted himself in relief appearances on Tuesday and Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens respectively gave head coach Scott Gordon enough confidence to name him the starter for perhaps the most important game of the Flyers’ season.

It didn’t get off to the greatest start for Elliott, who was beaten glove-side by Sidney Crosby following a defensive zone turnover just 7:59 into the first period:

To his credit, he finished the period with 17 saves on 18 shots. It wasn’t all his fault.

Sean Couturier equalized nearly four minutes later with laser beam that would make Dr. Evil blush:

More after the jump:

Following a splendid first intermission performance by Keith Urban – which I couldn’t hear through the thick glass of the press box – the Flyers proceeded to get outshot 12 to 9, including a Justin Schultz goal midway through the period. With the Penguins nursing a 2-1 lead after two, the rain could have forced the game’s result to go official, as per the NHL’s released contingencies. In fact, multiple Flyers said after the game that they were not only aware of where things stood, but that they didn’t want to drop two huge points in what was in essence a four point game without playing the third.

As the rain began to pick up, so did the Penguins’ play, at least at first. Evgeni Malkin netted Pittsburgh’s third goal six and a half minutes into the period and it looked like the Pens were on their way to stealing points on the road.

For what it’s worth, it was a pretty terrible goal to give up, especially at that point in the game. There was bad luck, sure, but it was a stop Elliott had to make. It was at that moment that thousands began to flock for the exits. I couldn’t blame them. Nobody could. Then something wonderful happened. The rain began to fall even heavier. The ice began to deteriorate. All of a sudden, a rejuvenated Flyers team pounced on the power play – even earning a 4-on-3 – following penalties on Malkin and Matt Cullen. James van Riemsdyk, who had been relegated to fourth line duty, pounded home a goal on Matt Murray’s doorstep and there was a marked change in the crowd:

Jake Voracek had been swarming throughout the game and it was clear that he knew his team needed a boost to get the game to OT. Having already assisted on the Couturier and JvR goals, Jake did what he does best: made the impossible look routine.

I have no clue how he found that window with twenty seconds left in regulation, but it was game on. With Couturier and Voracek already having contributed massively to the cause, Flyers captain Claude Giroux – playing in his 800th career game – scored an absolute beauty with only two minutes elapsed in overtime.

It was an incredible end to a wild flurry at the end of a special night at the Linc. There’s plenty to dissect and plenty of storylines worth covering. I’ll have more on that later today.

For more Flyers coverage, be sure to check out The Press Row Show pregame and intermission shows before and during home games via Facebook Live on the Crossing Broad Facebook page and Periscope via Crossing Broad, Anthony, and Russ’ Twitter accounts. Also, subscribe to our Flyers podcast Snow the Goalie ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter:@AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad

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  • Mikey mush February 24, 2019 at 2:16 am

    They need to change their uniforms… Is anyone still listening to me…never mind, Nat hold my dog up to the cameras… I’m still cool right Kyle???

    • Ingy February 24, 2019 at 7:35 am

      Can I get a general knowledge question?

      • Big carl February 24, 2019 at 1:43 pm

        Ingy, get off ssi you deadbeat leach.

  • Tr February 24, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Yak! So good

  • Mike miss February 24, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Leaving the game early is a total violation except when you park in a garage that closes early.

  • Pop pop in the am February 24, 2019 at 7:08 am

    I was asleep before the game started.

  • Ria February 24, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I was in the Novacare box enjoying all the free food & alcohol.

  • Optimist February 24, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Can’t wait for them to look listless and lose 5-1 against Buffalo. And then Fletcher announces a 5-year extension for Gordon.

  • Ronald hextall February 24, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Gritty was the star of the show! The price of admission just to watch him bungee down the stadium and then dance to the stupid rocky music! It was priceless!

    • Greg February 24, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Stupid Rocky music?
      I remember my first beer.

      • Mickey February 24, 2019 at 2:57 pm

        Shut the fokk up! I guess you are the same loser that loves the Eagles pregame music! Stupid piece of Mayfair trash!

  • Paul jolovitz fan club president February 24, 2019 at 10:30 am

    We need to change the age requirement for potus. America needs A.O.C.! She will crush Trump, save the economy and the planet! We all love and need A.O.C.!

    • Only believable part of jussie story when he said he beat off 2 strange men February 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      AOC just posted on social media that she’s pregnant!
      She’s concerned about having twins though.
      She said that with her new job, there’s no way she would be able to carry for 18 months

    • Globe troller February 25, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      Dude… Your act is so thin

  • Only believable part of jussie story is when he said he beat off 2 strange men February 24, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    If you see a Republican woman with a bulge in her pants , it’s a gun .
    If you see a Democrat woman with a bulge in her pants , it’s a penis
    If you see no bulge it is a Democrat male

    • Democratic Female February 24, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      We still on for tonight? I’m not doing that pegging thing you want without payment up front- you stiffed me last time.

  • I just wanted to see Gritty make his entrance February 24, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    And then I turned it off.

  • Roger Stone February 24, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Any colored fellas DTF?? For the wife. You know how it is.

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