Up a 3-1, and out-shooting the Flyers 26-13 through two periods, the Jets gave up the lead with just over 3 minutes to go in the third, and lost just 10 seconds into OT, falling 4-3.
(1) Dustin Byfuglien carelessness in OT led to the winning goal. Granted, Claude Giroux forechecked him like a man-man, and Ondrej Pavelec let in a weak goal on Jakub Voracek's wrap around. It reminded me a bit of a previous Jets-Flyers duel - specifically, a home game in year 1: February 21, 2012. In that game, the Jets were leading 4-3 late in the game, and looked to have a hard-fought win. However, Byfuglien lost his man, and Wayne Simmonds tied the game with 10 seconds to go. Byfuglien has been very good on D since being moved back following Zach Bogosian's injury, and he was otherwise quite good in 26:53 of play tonight, but that giveaway may bring back the eternal question about Buff - his lack of attention to detail in his own zone.
(2) Would the Jets have won tonight if Michael Hutchinson had played? That's a question that legitimately must be asked when the incumbent - Ondrej Pavelec - gives up 4 goals on 23 shots. Though it's hard to blame Pavelec on goals 1-through-3, the 4th was a real stinker - if he keeps his paddle down, that's probably an easy save.
(3) Mathieu Perreault continues to delight many Jets fans with his vision and playmaking ability. He extended his point streak to 7 games, and scored the Jets' third goal off a play he initially created. His ability to find the open man is crucial in remoulding the powerplay, and his patience creates chances for his teammates that no Jet aside from Wheeler is apt to do. With a 3-year contract that pays just $3M per year, he's the gift that keeps on giving.
(4) Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux truly are a dynamic duo. Voracek's size and speed, mixed with Giroux's hands and quickness are almost impossible to stop, hence their place at the top of the NHL's scoring race. (1 and 3). They scored just 46 seconds into the game on a two-on-one - the kind of play that top players make look easy. I expect to see the Jets make more of these plays with Mathieu Perreault in the fold, and especially once Nik Ehlers and Nic Petan make their way to the big leagues.
(5) The key play of the game came with 3:14 left to play in the third. Adam Lowry won a scrambled draw, Evander Kane poked the puck back towards his D, and Jay Harrison gift wrapped the puck for Vincent Lecavalier in the slot, who fired it past an unsuspecting Pavelec to tie the game. While Harrison is the goat on the play, Kane put him in a tough spot, as Chris Van de Velde was forechecking like a deamon, and actually dove to make the pass into the slot. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that Van de Velde didn't either get a piece of the puck, or swat Harrison's stick to make him give it away. I've had the replay on repeat and still can't quite tell.
(6) Matt Halischuk is quietly a very good hockey player. Though he lacks size and speed, he has good hands and smarts, and a very underrated shot, which he showed off today when he evened the score at 1 early in the first. I remember him playing well for Nashville in the 2011 playoffs, and scoring a bit OT goal in the second round against Vancouver, flying down the right wing and firing a slap shot short side on Roberto Luongo. While he isn't a top-6 forward, and he may not be fast enough to be a great checking forward, he's complemented by Lowry's size and Kane's speed; in the present situation, I think he fits in the top-9.
(7) Up 3-1 in the third, it felt like the Jets dodged a huge bullet when a Flyers' deflection from the slot went off the cross and then the right post. But instead, Mark Streit wound his way into the slot and shot through a screen to make it 3-2. From then on, the Flyers were in control of the period - the Jets had just 2 shots in the third.
(8) Would the game have been over had Mark Scheifele scored late in the second? As always, Perreault made a great pass into the slot, and Scheifele was one-on-one with Zepp. After deking to his backhand, he had the top three-quarter of the net open, but couldn't get it over the pad. It would have put the Jets up 4-1, but alas, it was not to be.
(9) Chris Thorburn nearly had his life taken tonight by Wayne Simmonds. Thorburn came off the bench absent mindedly, and accidentally hit Claude Giroux in the face/neck area with his stick. While it seemed to be completely by accident, the fact that Giroux was briefly incapacitated understandably angered the Flyers' bench, and had them out for blood. Maurice smartly took Thorburn off the ice, and nothing further transpired. Pau Mau knaus.
(10) Rob Zepp got his first NHL win tonight. He's just a young buck of...33? Whoa. Apparently he's the oldest goalie since 1926 to get his first NHL win. That's history.
What did you think of tonight's game? Share your thoughts below.