The Red Wings dominated the first half of the game, and then completely fell apart when it counted most. The Flyers came back from a dismal start at home to score three in the final period to beat the Red Wings 4-2 at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday. Michael Raffl on Philly’s first line scored two while Brayden Schenn and Nicklas Grossman on the second contributed to maintaining the home winning streak against Detroit.
The Red Wings come back to try and shatter a longstanding record that the Flyers have over their heads. Since the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, Detroit took two games away from them to capture the title. They still haven’t won a regular season game against them since. This year might be the one after the Red Wings won an exciting battle where they came back from two goals to defeat the Penguins in overtime. Jonas Gustavsson got the start for Detroit in hopes to keep not only a winning streak going but a conclusion of their bad luck in the city of brotherly love.
Detroit opened up the first period looking to have the upper hand on puck possession. They gave Philadelphia a chance on the power play, but Detroit’s penalty kill was flawless. The Red Wings were challenged midway into it with the Flyers second power play moving the puck quickly to break through the Red Wings defense.
They couldn’t get the job done as Detroit went back on the offense catching a break on a wild scramble near the Philly net. Riley Sheahan got credit for the Red Wings first goal as a pass from Andrej Nestrasil lifted up and tapped the top corner of the net notching his first this season. “It was a great play by all of us, Sheahan said to Fox Sports Detoit’s Trevor Thompson. “Nessy made a great play by centering it, and I was alone in front and made it easy.” The period was slightly easy for the Red Wings as they outshot the Flyers 11-5 but were accosted with a dozen of their shots being blocked.
Detroit dominated the second period taking full control of the game while the Flyers couldn’t put anything together on their line. By the middle of the second, the Red Wings took nine shots while Philadelphia was still looking for their first. Flyers goaltender Ray Emery did most of the work for his team stopping shots while being left wide open at times still holding Detroit to a goal. With four minutes left, the Red Wings notched 12 shots before Philadelphia recorded their only shot in the period.
The Flyers took one shot during their third power play and failed to make it count, but did score on an even strength situation where Detroit left Gustavsson defenseless in net. Grossman was left wide open to get the pass from Chris VandeVelde and score on the open net tying the game at one. Though the numbers looked lopsided, it was anyone’s to win with twenty minutes left to play.
It was a surprise to see the Flyers up their game to another gear as they were on a mission to keep the streak against the Red Wings alive. In the opening minutes, Philadelphia began to make a charge and on a break in Detroit’s defense, Raffl scored with a snapshot giving him three this year and the lead that became a boost the Flyers were searching for. The Red Wings would not continue the game quietly as they countered with a goal of their own 42 seconds later where Pavel Datsyuk scored on a beautiful backhander in front of Emery to even the game at two goals apiece.
The Flyers took the lead at the price of ending the Red Wings penalty killing the streak. A shot from center Brayden Schenn redirected a drive from Jakub Voracek to take a 3-2 lead and end Detroit penalty killing streak at 24. The Red Wings became desperate to trying and tie the game before time ran out. Going for the sixth man, they missed their chance while the Flyers were making a line change leading to Philadelphia gaining possession and Raffl there to score the empty netter. The night couldn’t have gone worse on Detroit’s support of Gustavsson as he made nine saves through 40 minutes but couldn’t handle the Flyers key shots while shooting nine in the third.
The Red Wings demise was not just their lack of defense in the third, but the 31 blocked shots that the Flyers stopped as a whole. As the Wings prepare for a game against the Capitals on Wednesday, they hope that the curse that visits when they come to Philadelphia, doesn’t hitch a ride to Washington with them.