Last night was...suspenseful! A fittingly physical battle from two division rivals playing on back-to-back nights, it looked like the Flyers might pull away when they got their go-ahead goal as Claude Giroux escaped Zdeno Chara’s age bracket and Scott Mayfield’s last-ditch dive.
But Mayfield helped save the day with one of his rare-but-timely rushes down the right wing, with Casey Cizikas arriving in perfect time and optimal body positioning. Overtime was shockingly entertaining, then both goalies stopped everything in the shootout until Oliver Wahlstrom said enough of this.
The Isles now have two days until the back-to-back against the Coyotes and Leafs this weekend.
About last night:
- Things were looking frightening late, and a nine-round shootout kept us in suspense. [LHH]
- Trotz: “Pretty even game...we just battled away.” [NHL]
- He also appreciated the Chara fight, naturally. [Post]
- Is the Identity Line finally returning to form? [Post]
- More on that line, and on the importance of having all four centers healthy. [Athletic]
- The Isles viewed getting back to NHL .500 as the next step in their climb. [Newsday]
- “Semyon Varlamov has stopped 136 of 183 shots in shootouts; his 74.3 save percentage is the best in NHL history for any goalie who has faced 150 shootout attempts.” [NYI Skinny]
- Varlamov: “Today was stressful. That was way too many shootouts.” [Isles]
- When things are bad, even the good efforts somehow turn out wrong. [Broad Street Hockey]
- More on this below, but Matt Martin is a fan of the NHL and NHLPA easing the COVID Protocol and testing after the All-Star Weekend. [Newsday]
The Flyers were ahead in the third when somebody agreed to fight Zdeno Chara for some reason:
I think it was Shawn Thornton who once said Chara should win Lady Byng every year because he's capable of killing opponents with his bare hands every night and simply chooses not to https://t.co/DHZfjTTs1D— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 19, 2022
Last night’s other NHL scores included the Bruins finally losing, giving up 7(!) to the Hurricanes, with Tuukka Rask allowing five in the first period.
- Willie O’Ree’s #22 now hangs in the rafters in Boston. [NHL]
- Why the Canadiens chose “intuitive” agent Kent Hughes to be GM. [Sportsnet]
- 32 Thoughts on the Habs’ hire, the Oilers’ mess and a bunch of All Star stuff.
- The time is now to let Claude Giroux be free. [BSH]
- The NHL and NHLPA agreed to modifications to testing and protocol that should limit the number of asymptomatic absences, and thus postponements. [NHL]
- What’s behind the Oilers’ slump? Special teams falling back to earth is one factor. [Sportsnet | TSN]
- But they want to sit tight right now. [TSN]
Jim Matheson doing the Edmonton Media Clown thing again: