Sometimes, you don’t even have to be a fan of a team to enjoy a great play. Especially when it comes to hockey. Admittedly, the Flyers will always be the enemy. They’re one of the Rangers’ most hated rivals. The script doesn’t change for the metro area with Devil fans probably hating their I-95 rival even more. And what about the Islanders, who go back with the Flyers to their first Cup? Flyers versus Penguins is about as intense as it gets.
The Flyers are battling the Red Wings for the final wildcard. Both came in with 85 points tonight. Philadelphia hosted Winnipeg. They were tied 2-2 in overtime. With a poor success rate in the shootout, they needed to find a way to win during a breathtaking 3-on-3. As usual, it was up and down full of rushes and chances. The way the Flyers won it was cool.
It was the hustle and determination of Calder candidate Shayne Gostisbehere that led to Claude Giroux’s overtime winner with 14 seconds left. On a two-on-one rush, Giroux’s pass for Gostisbehere was deflected by a diving Jet. It looked like the play would go the other way. Instead, the Ghost dove to break up a pass and from his knees tapped the puck ahead to an open Giroux, who beat Ondrej Pavelec for an emotional winner. The amazing play in GIF form below:
With Detroit leading Buffalo 3-0 late in the third period, that play by Gostisbehere looms large. The Flyers and Wings would remain tied in points. Detroit will have 36 ROW to Philly’s 35 which is the first tiebreaker. But the Flyers have an extra game remaining. They have seven left to the Wings’ six. That keeps them ahead for the second wildcard.
Updating that game, the Sabres score to cut it to 3-1. There’s 2:38 remaining.
As for Gostisbehere, he is having an amazing rookie season. His 42 points (16-26-42) lead all rookie defensemen. That he’s accomplished it in 57 contests should put him right there with Hawks’ Russian wizard Artemi Panarin. I would like to see Ghost win it. He probably won’t. But this guy is unreal.
Updating that game, Sabres’ rookie Sam Reinhart nets his 22nd past Jimmy Howard to suddenly make it 3-2 with 1:49 remaining. If the Wings blow this, it would be epic. They scored an empty netter for 3-zip. I’ll stay with it and update what happens.
Jack Eichel had two chances but his second shot was blocked. Red Wings ice the puck again with 49 seconds left. Timeout Buffalo. Gotta tip my cap to the Sabres. They do not quit. A good characteristic under coach Dan Bylsma. A faceoff win by Ryan O’Reilly leads to a shot and save by Howard. He makes another. This is crazy.
Howard just made like 4 saves. Red Wings will hang on. Buzzer sounds. What a wild ending. Detroit barely holds on. Similar to their win over Canadiens. With the win, they remain tied with the Flyers in points (87).
This was a fun post. A little bonus coverage. So, who will get the final spot? The Flyers or Red Wings?