NHL 20 Flyers Simulation: Robert Thomas with the hat trick and overtime winner

Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

A back and forth game between the Flyers and Blues gave us the first overtime in this simulation.

After a few games into this Flyers simulation, we took into account some of the similarities we were seeing. High shot counts and penalties were very noticeable. So we made a lot of changes to the sliders, adjusting just about everything to try and make things more realistic. There were still too many penalties, however. So we may have to deal with that aspect.

Other than that, we adjusted some minor roster details. Mainly putting Carter Hart back in net and updating the Blues lines for more accuracy.

Both teams were clearly feeling the other out early on. There weren’t many shots to start and quite a few turnovers. The Flyers got the first power-play chance about six minutes in. They did fire plenty of shots towards Jordan Binnington, but he didn’t give them anything.

After killing off their own penalty, the Blues had a chance with their own man advantage. And they capitalized. After the Flyers cleared the puck, St. Louis brought it up the ice as Jordan Kyrou came up the right side. Once he entered the zone, he found Robert Thomas just as he entered as well. Thomas took a few strides in before ripping a slap shot that may have elevated slightly off the stick of Travis Sanheim.

The Flyers took another penalty over midway through. And St. Louis went right back to work with plenty of zone time. One of their best chances came as Thomas fired off another slap shot, but hit the post. Hart also robbed Brayden Schenn of a goal from the right faceoff dot, flashing the glove to negate the chance.

Claude Giroux was tripped late in the period, giving the Flyers a chance to tie the game before intermission. And Sean Couturier did just that. Ivan Provorov started the play in his own zone, passing it up to Jakub Voracek. He sent a pass to Couturier in the middle of the ice. Couturier skated across the zone and fired the shot from just outside the left faceoff circle. Binnington wasn’t able to get the blocker up in time.

The Blues grabbed the lead back with 30 seconds remaining in the first. Schenn blasted a shot as he was drifting back to the point. His elevated shot found the top left corner behind Hart.

The Blues continued to control the pace of the game in the second. They were clearly the better team thus far. Though they gave the Flyers a huge opportunity, somehow taking two penalties before they could gain control. And the Flyers cashed in.

Despite getting pushed off the puck, Kevin Hayes was able to regain control and quickly passed it to Derek Grant who sent it right back. Hayes lined up the one-timer and there was no chance Binnington would stop it. Hayes had a chance moments later to give the Flyers the lead, but couldn’t get the shot off on the 2-on-1.

Hart and Binnington continued to shut down chances as the second period winded down. Neither goaltender was giving up an inch in this tie game. And that remained as the two teams went into the second tied at 2-2. The next goal would be a big one.

A penalty seven seconds into the third almost immediately came back to bite the Flyers. Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues the lead as Provorov couldn’t control the puck to clear it. Jaden Schwartz took the puck away from him as O’Reilly was lined up across the ice for the shot in close.

Thomas grabbed an important insurance goal with about six minutes remaining. Schwartz fired the original shot and Thomas grabbed the rebound before Hart could cover it up.

Two goals in the final two minutes saw the Flyers tie this game with just 22 seconds remaining. Connor Bunnaman grabbed the all-important tying goal with the extra attacker. Couturier entered the zone and sent a cross-ice pass over. Bunnaman skated in close and beat Binnington just under the blocker. And for the first time in this simulation, we saw overtime.

Despite completing the comeback, the Flyers would drop this one in overtime. Thomas’ third goal of the night would be the winner. With the puck in front, O’Reilly split two Flyers’ defenders to feed Thomas along the left side. Hart got a piece of it with the pad, but unfortunately not all of it.

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The Flyers will have a few days to think this one over as they wouldn’t be playing again until Friday. They would travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on the front end of a back to back.