NHL 20 Simulation: Matt Niskanen scores overtime winner for Flyers

Matt Niskanen, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Matt Niskanen, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Despite a late comeback by Detroit, the Flyers cashed in on an overtime winner.

The Flyers likely should’ve won this one easily. They dominated the first period but collapsed in the second to let Detroit back in. They did prevail as this one took until the dying seconds of overtime.

It was an early lead for the Flyers as they scored on their first shot of the game. Jakub Voracek carried the puck in, passing it across the ice to Claude Giroux. He circled around the corner of the ice and sent a backhand pass to Sean Couturier. Ready for the pass, Couturier blasted a one-timer past Jonathan Bernier.

It was all Flyers as the period moved on, Detroit could barely get into the zone. Halfway through the period, the Wings didn’t even have a shot on net. Bernier had to be sharp as he was peppered with shots.

The Flyers did what they needed to do in that first period. They dominated a team that is far below them in the standings. They had a commanding 10-2 advantage in shots.

Detroit started to get it going in the second, firing more shots in on Carter Hart. But the Flyers increased their lead on a goal by Derek Grant. Shayne Gostisbehere, along the right wall, found him in front for the tip-in.

Brendan Perlini became a wrecking ball in the period, causing a turnover behind the net. The Flyers got it back, but Connor Bunnaman sent an errant pass back that was picked off by Frans Nielsen. He cut in front and snapped it over the blocker side of Hart.

Detroit tied it up moments later off the stick of Valtteri Filppula. Sam Gagner picked off a pass in the defensive zone and took it all the way down the ice. Once in the zone, he turned towards the middle as Filppula was cutting in. Despite having Ivan Provorov right on him, Filppula was able to get the shot off as Hart couldn’t stick out the pad in time.

Two goals in just over a minute sent this game into the third period tied at 2-2. Detroit found their legs in the second and was dominant in the faceoff circle.

It was a back and forth third period as both sides traded chances. Just when we thought this game could go to overtime, Voracek said otherwise. Couturier forced the turnover as he picked off a Trevor Daley pass. He turned towards the net and passed it across the slot. Voracek collected it and elevated the shot between the arm and pad of Bernier.

Detroit went to the empty net with less than a minute to go. And they cashed in with 37 seconds to go. Darren Helm picked off the pass and came in on a short break away. Instead of shooting, he passed it back to Madison Bowey at the point. His blast tipped off the stick of Kevin Hayes and went through the five-hole of Hart.

And this time, we were going to overtime. Detroit almost won it in the dying seconds of regulation, though. Robby Fabbri fired a shot as Hart flashed the glove to keep the game going.

Hart had to make a few big saves in overtime as Anthony Mantha came in on a breakaway. Another one when Dylan Larkin fired a quick shot from right in front. Detroit was buzzing in overtime.

And with 12 seconds left in overtime, Matt Niskanen grabbed the game-winner. It was an innocent-looking shot that trickled off the back of Bernier and went in.

It was harder work than it needed to be, but the Flyers came away with the victory. They’ll be off to New Jersey to take on the Devils on Saturday.