Flyers Win in OT- End Blues’ 9 Game Home Winning Streak

Alexander Steen scores late in the third period against goaltender Brian Elliott to tie the game at 3-3. (Scott Rovak/NHL via Getty Images)

Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

Philadelphia, 24-16-6, 5th place in Metropolitan Division at St. Louis, 30-10-7, 1st place in the Central Division

St. Louis has won 4 in a row and have a 9-game winning streak at home. They look to extend that streak to a franchise-record 10 when they take on the Flyers. The Blues maintain the best record in the Western Conference, 9 points out in front of Dallas. With Washington and Boston idle, St. Louis can post the best record in the league with a win or tie.

Philadelphia is clinging to the 2nd wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and are coming off a 6-5 win over Boston. The Flyers were down 5-2 in that contest but stormed back to tie and force overtime and a shootout. The victory was sealed when Bruins forward Brad Marchand fanned in the shootout. He didn’t fan on his shot-he fanned on the puck-completely whiffing on it at the red line, which set off a celebration by the Flyers and plenty of commentary on Twitter.

Colton Parayko and Carl Gunnarsson are still dealing with injuries, so Niko Mikkola will get the start on the blue line tonight with Robert Bortuzzo. Former Blue Brian Elliott is in goal for Philadelphia.

1st period

The first 13 minutes were mostly uneventful. The Blues tallied more shots, but neither team generated much offense. The Flyers worked hard in the offensive zone to pressure the Blues, but the effort didn’t result in serious scoring chances.ย  In a bid to score his first NHL goal, Niko Mikkola sent hard shots toward Elliott from the top of each circle, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

With 6:51 left in the period, Matt Niskanen went to the box for holding Jaden Schwartz to give the Blues their first power play of the night. St. Louis cashed it in about a minute later when Alexander Steen sent a perfect pass from the side of the net to Justin Faulk. Faulk had skated in close to the front of the left circle and one-timed the puck past Elliott to give the Blues a 1-0 lead at 14:24 of the first.

With 4 minutes left, the Blues had another power play. Once again, it was Jaden Schwartz who drew the penalty when Michael Raffl went off for tripping. The one good chance for the Blues came when Vince Dunn sent a hard shot through a Ryan O’Reilly screen. This time, however, the Flyers penalty kill didn’t give the Blues much time or space, and they were able to kill it off.

The first period came to a close with the Blues outshooting the Flyers 14-8 and leading 1-0.

2nd period

The Blues came out strong at the beginning of the 2nd, with Zach Sanford having two great chances in the first 3 minutes. St. Louis was controlling the puck and spending much more time in the o-zone than they did in the first, but about halfway through the period, the tide turned. The Blues got a little sloppy, with a Brayden Schenn turnover leading to a great scoring chance for Philadelphia. Moments later, the Flyers broke in on a two on one, but Alex Pietrangelo got his stick in the passing lane to break up the play.

Flyers dominate last half of the 2nd

Philadelphia continued to pressure and went on their first power play when Schenn interfered with Brian Elliott. The Flyers had three outstanding chances at the end of the power play, including hitting the post twice. The Blues were able to kill the penalty, but the Philly pressure did not let up.

Moments after the penalty was over, Tyler Pitlick flew into the Blues’ zone and attempted a wrap-around. Binnington made the initial save, but the puck deflected in off David Perron, and it was 1-1 with a little over 7 minutes left in the period.

Philadelphia did not stop there. Jay Bouwmeester turned the puck over in the Blues’ zone. Sean Couturier ended up with the puck between the circles and sent it back to Robert Hagg. Hagg fired a shot at Binnington that was stopped, but the rebound popped out at the side of the net, where Michael Raffl jammed it home glove side to make it 2-1 Flyers.

The Blues went into the 2nd intermission down 2-1 and would start the 3rd on the penalty kill. David Perron cross-checked Travis Konecny after the horn had sounded to end the period. There was a logjam of players on the left boards with a bunch of pushing and shoving. Perron took exception to some hijinx from Konecny, but the officials caught perron’s response. The Blues were lucky that it was only a 2-minute minor because Perron got his stick up to the chin of Konecny.

With 20 minutes to play, the Blues’ 9 game home winning streak was in jeopardy.

3rd period

Thirty seconds into the power play, the Flyers made it 3-1. On a beautiful set play, Claude Giroux sent a pass from the right boards to James van Riemsdyk at the right side of the net. Van Riemsdyk redirected the puck to Konecny at the other side for the easy tip-in past Binnington.

St. Louis had a golden opportunity a minute later when Schwartz drew his 3rd penalty of the night, this one was a hold by Raffl. Twenty seconds later, the Blues had a five on 3 when Kevin Hayes went to the box for hooking. The Blues have not been good on the five on three the last two seasons, and that frustration continued. A couple of ill-advised passes were broken up, and there just wasn’t any flow to the power play. The five on three came and went a wasted opportunity.

Blues wake up, tie it up

At this point, the Flyers were dominating the 2nd half of the contest, beating the Blues at their own game with a physical forecheck and hounding the puck. Fortunately for the Blues, they were gifted a power play. A phantom slash was called on Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and although the Blues didn’t score (a great chance by Faulk went off the crossbar), it turned the momentum back to the Blues.

Suddenly it was St. Louis that was winning the battles for loose pucks and applying the pressure. The pressure soon paid dividends. Ryan O’Reilly fed Schenn and then drove hard to the net, knocking in his own rebound after Elliott stopped Schenn’s initial shot. It was 3-2 with 9:25 to play. Newly minted All-Star David Perron had the secondary assist on the play.

Steen stays hot

Three minutes later, Alexander Steen tied the game at three after the Blues worked hard to keep the puck in the zone. Schwartz sent the puck behind the net to Robert Thomas, and as the Flyers converged on him, they left a void out front that Steen happily filled, sending a backhand past Elliott.

With 4:24 left in the game, the Blues had an opportunity to take the lead with their power play when Philly was caught with too many men on the ice. The power play was out of sync, however, and the Flyers dodged a bullet.

Philadelphia took the momentum from their penalty kill and had a couple of great chances in the final 2 minutes, but Binnington held up. Steen made a bid for his 2nd goal of the night, a would-be game-winner when he found himself alone in front of Elliott. Elliott was able to stop Steen’s stuff attempt; then, the rebound went just wide. It was off to overtime.

Blues win streaks end in OT

St. Louis never really threatened in overtime, and after Scott Laughton hit the post with 2:15 left, Jakub Voracek beat Binnington high stick side on a nice pass from Ivan Provorov. The Blues win streaks- 4 games overall, and nine-game home winning streak- were over.

Summary and Notes

This game was extremely physical, possibly the Blues’ most physical game all year. There was borderline play, hard checks, and extracurricular activity after the whistle all night.

Alexander Steen’s 3rd-period goal was his 4th goal in 4 games.

Niko Mikkola continues to impress. He had no less than three shots on goal and played a mistake-free game defensively.

Although the Blues’ win streaks came to an end, the 1 point for the overtime loss puts them at 68, tops in the entire NHL. They’re one point ahead of the Capitals and two ahead of the Bruins.

Next up- the Blue Note welcomes the Avalanche to Enterprise Center Saturday afternoon. St. Louis will be looking for revenge after Colorado’s 7-3 blowout in their last meeting on January 2nd.



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