The Philadelphia Flyers kicked off their first half of a back-to-back by facing the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice.
Following a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Flyers returned home to face the Columbus Blue Jackets before embarking on a three-game road trip. Columbus swept the Flyers in their four-game season series last year, and Philadelphia hoped to turn the tides in their favor and earn their first win over their Metropolitan Division adversary since February of 2018. Brian Elliott got the nod for the third straight contest and opposed Joonas Korpisalo between the pipes. Korpisalo didn’t have the best outing in his last start against the Carolina Hurricanes, allowing three goals on 24 shots, making it crucial for the Flyers to continue to generate dangerous scoring chances to test the 25-year-old further.
There were a whole lot of penalties to begin the game, as each team combined for eight penalty minutes less than ten minutes into the period, but neither was able to capitalize on the power-play opportunities that resulted from them. After a brief installment of back-and-forth hockey, Jakub Voracek netted the game’s first goal, sneaking a puck through Korpisalo’s five-hole to give Philadelphia a 1-0 advantage. Voracek did a tremendous job at selling the pass to get Korpisalo out of position and score his third tally of the year. Boone Jenner quickly got that goal back, though, beating Elliott from a sharp angle to tie things at one heading into the first intermission. Each goaltender should have made the save on both plays, but hey, that’s hockey.
The Flyers took another penalty in the early goings of the second and this time; it came back to bite them. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his third goal of the season seconds after the man advantage expired, giving Columbus their first lead of the night. The Flyers applied pressure in the Blue Jackets zone through most of the frame, eventually finding the equalizer thanks to a power-play goal from James van Riemsdyk. But, in typical Flyers fashion, they allowed a goal just 25 seconds after tying the game and found themselves down by one entering the third.
Josh Anderson doubled the Blue Jackets lead as the third period got underway, cashing in on the puck after a shot went off of the wall for his first goal of the 2019-20 campaign. I have no idea what Elliott and Robert Hagg were doing on this play, as Hagg let Anderson skate by him for the puck while Elliott was in a bad position to begin with. Neither guy had the best game, to put it nicely.
Shayne Gostisbehere put Philadelphia back within one during a 4-on-4 stint, finally getting his first of the year after going goalless in the first eight games. He received a bit of luck on this one, too, as the puck deflected off of a Blue Jacket defender just enough to fool Korpisalo. JvR would go on to find the equalizer for the second time of the evening, Kevin Hayes potted the go-ahead goal on a shorthanded breakaway, Michael Raffl put the cherry on top with an empty netter, and Travis Konecny added some whipped cream to help the Flyers defeat Columbus, 7-4.
WHEW. Who knew hockey games could be so much fun? The Flyers never stopped battling on offense, even when all seemed bleak after the Anderson tally, and came out on the winning end because of it. Last year’s team certainly doesn’t win this game, showing the amount of growth and effort they’ve shown under Alain Vigneault thus far.
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The Flyers are now 5-3-1 on the year. Next game is Sunday against the New York Islanders.