It’s not often an NHL team wanders into must-win territory in January, but the Philadelphia Flyers found themselves in that situation on Monday night against the Boston Bruins.
Having lost seven of their last nine games to fall further behind in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers rallied from a three-goal deficit against the second-best team in the Eastern Conference to steal a 6-5 shootout win.
While the headline of the night was Brad Marchand overskating the puck in the Bruins’ final shootout attempt, goals from Sean Couturier, Connor Bunnaman (the first of his NHL career), and Travis Sanheim in 25 minutes forced overtime.
Sanheim’s equalizer was his second of the night to continue his bizarre trend of goal scoring. He’s only lit the lamp 18 times in his career, yet he’s had four multi-goal games.
The vital two points kept the Flyers ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re now just two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for fourth and four behind the New York Islanders for third. Granted, the Islanders have two games in hand.
The win means that much more when looking at the Flyers’ upcoming schedule.
Alain Vigneault’s men are in the midst of a brutal stretch of play having already played the Metro-leading Washington Capitals and the Atlantic Division’s second-place team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the days leading up to the Boston victory.
It only gets more difficult as they head to St. Louis for a Wednesday night meeting with the defending Stanley Cup-champion Blues.
The Flyers have lost their last two meetings against St. Louis, who are heating back up to stay at their No. 1 perch in the Central Division.
The Blues have answered a three-game losing streak with four-straight wins as they have now won 12 of their last 15 outings.
And they’re doing this without star forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who has been out since October due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He is expected to return in March.
Veteran left-winger David Perron is picking up the slack in Tarasenko’s absence, leading the Blues with 46 points (20 G, 26 A). He’s on pace to smash his previous career-high of 66 points set in 2017-18 as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Former Flyer Brayden Schenn, who never had more than 59 points in a season with Philadelphia, is close behind with 40 in 47 games.