Is there any better 3-on-3 overtime trio in hockey than the Flyers' Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere?
Whenever the three so much as hit the ice at the Wells Fargo Center, the crowd rises to its feet.
Gostisbehere, of course, boasts four overtime game-winners this year and Giroux (assisted by Ghost) netted a ridiculous game-winner Monday against the WInnipeg Jets, 3-2, with under a minute to play. It was his franchise-best seventh career OT game-winner.
“That’s why he’s our captain,” Wayne Simmonds said. “He does a lot of great things. It doesn’t matter [if it’s] with or without the puck. He wears his heart on his sleeve the way he plays. He always goes out there and he’s probably one of the hardest working guys on our team. He’s a great example to follow.”
The captain seems to be at his best when playing with his protege Gostisbehere, and even better when facing the pressure and speed (and wide open space) of 3-on-3.
“You get excited, you get little butterflies in the stomach," Gostisbehere said.
Philly has played in a league-high 25 overtimes and has won 10 of them (and two more in shootouts). They have the second-most OT wins in the league (the Kings have 11). If you add up the extra ice time, that's almost two entire extra games.
Ironically, in 75 games the Flyers have 25 wins, 25 regulation losses and 25 trips to overtime. They've gone 2-8 in shootouts, but 10-5 in decisions during the actual overtime period.
“I think we’ve played pretty good 3-on-3 and I think we can get better," Giroux said.
Though they are very successful in the extra five-minute period, their league-worst eight shootout losses makes the 3-on-3 even more important to prevail in.
"Obviously, Mase [Mason] and Neuvy [Neuvirth] are a big part of that 3-on-3," Giroux said. "There’s a lot of 3 on 1s, 2 on 2’s, for them to make the saves it's really important.”
The Flyers have gotten excellent goaltending down the stretch, keeping them neck-and-neck with Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston and New York (Islanders) for a Wild Card spot in the east. But good goaltending or no, there is always the recipe for magic with the captain is on the ice in a key situation.
"He always comes up big at good times," Sean Couturier said.
The Flyers host the best team in the east, the Washington Capitals Wednesday at 8 p.m.