We’re back once again with another simulation as the Flyers were set to take on the Minnesota Wild this afternoon.
Before we got started on this one for the Flyers, we made a few changes since the last game. We changed the difficulty from Pro to All-Star to give things a tighter feel. And we also made penalties slightly less frequent.
There was already a different feel to this game. The checking was tighter and there weren’t as many open opportunities.
Connor Bunnaman put the Flyers on the board first. Nicolas Aube-Kubel created the turnover in the defensive zone with a solid hit. Skating into the offensive zone, he sent a backhand pass over to Bunnaman would found himself alone in the middle of the ice. He settled himself and fired the shot into the top left corner of the net. It may have hit off the top of Dubnyk’s stick on the way in
The Flyers then ran into some penalty trouble. Provorov was sent off for hooking trying to stop Spurgeon behind the net. It became a 5-on-3 as Couturier was called for hooking less than 30 seconds into the first kill. They killed off both penalties, Hart making a few big saves.
After the Flyers third hooking call in the first, Alain Vigneault wasn’t too happy with the refs. More like we turned down the sliders on hooking calls so the refs would stop being extra with them. But the Flyers ended up killing it off.
Minnesota outshot the Flyers 19-7 but Hart was huge in stopping all 19 shots.
The Wild did get on the board in the second. The Flyers failed to clear the puck and the Wild went to work in the zone. Marcus Foligno ended up behind the net where he found Hartman waiting on the right side of the net after Matt Niskanen got a piece of the puck but not enough. Hartman then found Alex Galchenyuk alone on the left side as the Flyers got caught. He one-timed the puck as Hart couldn’t get over in time.
Tyler Pitlick grabbed the lead right back. After Luke Kunin’s shot was blocked by Gostisbehere, he gathered the puck and sent it over to Pitlick. From his own blue line, Pitlick made his way all the way up the ice. He fired a shot from in close that Devan Dubnyk stopped most of before it trickled through his arm and in.
The Flyers had their own 5-on-3 after Wild Jonas Brodin took out Laughton’s legs. Spurgeon was then called for tripping Voracek shortly after. That gave the Flyers about 1:21 of 5-on-3 time.
Derek Grant grabbed a goal on the two-man advantage. After a Giroux shot was blocked by Hunt, the Wild player was in too much pain to grab the puck. Ivan Provorov kept it in and found Aube-Kubel at the point. He sent it to Kevin Hayes who turned and had Grant alone in front. After moving the puck to his forehand, Grant was able to lift the puck above the stick of Dubnyk.
The Wild climbed closer off a Kevin Fiala goal. They had been putting the pressure on Flyers. Gostisbehere couldn’t get the puck away from Staal as he made the move around him. The Flyers were once again caught puck watching as Fiala was alone for the one-timer. Hart had no shot.
Flyers had two excellent chances to increase the lead late in the second but Dubnyk shut down both Hayes and Provorov. Flyers managed to survive, up by one goal after two. Again, thank you Hart for that. Wild still had the shot edge, 30-22 after two.
Niskanen had a sure goal early in the third. Dubnyk made the original save but it began to trickle towards the line. Diving across, he just got his stick on it before it could cross.
Gostisbehere gave the Flyers insurance off his own rebound. This was a one-man show as Gostisbehere carried it from in front of his own net and all the way down. Dubnyk stopped the first chance before Gostisbehere tucked it in on the backhand.
The Wild went to the empty net with 1:07 left in the game. They didn’t manage a single shot on Hart as Hayes iced the game with the empty-net goal. Unsurprisingly, Hart grabbed the first star of the game as he made 51 saves in the contest.
The Flyers would’ve been right back at it tomorrow. They would be welcoming in Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.