Jamie Drysdale plays role in Flyers shootout victory over Canadiens

Jamie Drysdale’s Flyers debut was a success as he helped Philadelphia to a shootout victory over the Canadiens.
Jamie Drysdale’s Flyers debut was a success as he helped Philadelphia to a shootout victory over the Canadiens. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

This had the makings of a game where the Flyers went down early on unlucky plays and would let it snowball from there. But this isn’t the same team that let that happen. It would’ve been even easier for Sam Ersson to get frustrated by the two goals that he had no chance of stopping. But he doesn’t let things get to him. He's as steady as can be in goal.

Even after Montreal scored on their first two shots of the game. The first came just under 1:30 into the game. A harmless shot from the point by Justin Barron was deflected over the glove of Ersson. He anticipated the original shot coming much lower and didn’t have a chance once it was deflected. The second goal was similar and was the Canadiens second shot of the game almost exactly 10 minutes later. A shot from Michael Pezzetta went off the stick of Morgan Frost and fluttered over Ersson. Juraj Slafkovsky was in front as well, but it did not touch his stick.

Again, it would’ve been easy for Ersson to become frustrated with the situation. Those were the only two shots he saw in the period so he had plenty of time to think about what happened. As he has been for most of the season, he buckled down the rest of the way. He saw six shots in the second, making his first save over a minute and a half in. The final period got dicey at times as the Canadiens had a few odd man rushes. Through the first six minutes of the final period, Montreal had the only five shots. That included an early 2-on-1 to open the third. And with a late icing, Montreal had a chance to end the game with under 10 seconds left. It would’ve been a heartbreaker. But Ersson denied the point shot and sent the game to overtime where the Flyers dominated play with seven of the eight shots taken.

Ersson’s counterpart, Cayden Primeau, did everything he could to keep his team in the game. They were outplayed for large stretches of the game and had their goaltender to thank. And he had to thank his posts more than a few times as the Flyers could’ve won in regulation with how much iron they hit.

Jamie Drysdale Sharp in Debut

Jamie Drysdale didn’t have much time between the trade and his first game with the Flyers. Sometimes, that can be a good thing. It gives players less time to think about things and gets them right into game action. He arrived early Tuesday morning and took part in his only Flyers’ practice to date. He did have morning skate on Wednesday, but he was essentially thrown right into game action.

His skills showed immediately. To start off, John Tortorella talked about wanting to simply see offense from Drysdale and they could figure out the defensive side later. And you could see why Drysdale’s speed and poise with the puck have been talked about. He was also to use his feet to jump up in the play and even had a few chances to score because of it. Tortorella described him as “more of a rover” meaning that he could be all over the ice and not just on defense. It’s not the first time Tortorella has talked about a defenseman of his that way, either.

Drysdale made his presence felt on the power play immediately. On the Flyers’ first chance of the night, Drysdale used his lateral skating to pull a defender away from the left side. This left Frost open to receive the pass, fake a shot, and unleashed a wrister that made it through the traffic in front. That ended up tying the game for the Flyers in the second period.

He had a few opportunities to win the game in overtime as well. His first impression in front of Flyers’ fans couldn’t have gone any better.

Owen Tippett Flys Fast

Owen Tippett’s speed has also been talked about as he has a tendency to turn on the jets when need be. He was flying all over the Wells Fargo Center ice on Wednesday night. He was credited with five shots on net, but had plenty more chances to go along with that. One of the shots he was credited with got Philadelphia on the board in the first period. Sean Couturier sent a pass to the slot, intending for Konecny to tip it on net. Instead, it went off bodies in front and came to Tippett. From a tough angle, he was able to lift it over the outstretched Primeau to cut the defect to one.

Getting a goal in the first period after the way the game started was important. It was Tippett’s 14th of the season and gives him goals in back to back games. It’s the first time since a stretch of four games from Nov 10 - Nov. 18 in which Tippett has scored in consecutive games. 

Tippett was almost able to win the game for the Flyers in the dying seconds of overtime. Starting in his own zone with second remaining, Tippett flew down the left side of the ice. He made a power move to the net, but was hooked on the way in and wasn’t able to get off a clean shot.

The speed he showed on that play came in at 24.21 mph. That is now the fastest top speed by any player in the league according to NHL Edge stats.

Sean Couturier’s Shootout Success Continues

Ever since coming back into the lineup, Sean Couturier has played a large role in the success of this team. He has continued to look more and more like the Selke-winning player he was just a few years ago. He is third on the team with 28 points and is playing his usual 20+ minutes per game. His success has also come in the shootout as well.

He has shot at a 50% clip in the shootout, going 3-for-6 this season. He is the only Flyers’ player to have multiple shootout goals per season. Two of his goals have won the game for Philadelphia, including last night’s game winner. It wasn’t via his typical move, however. Instead, he came from the left side of the ice, held it in front and wristed it by Primeau.

It was a much needed victory to finish off a successful homestand in which the Flyers grabbed five out of a possible six points. They’ll head on the road for their last multi-game road trip in a different time zone. It’ll start with a matchup with the Wild on Friday night.