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POSTGAME 5: Neuvir-th In Doubt

by Brian Smith | / Philadelphia Flyers

Michal Neuvirth made one of the more remarkable saves in recent Flyer memory to seal his team’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in the first game of a six-game homestand. The teams traded goals throughout the middle section of the contest, beginning when Sam Gagner put the Flyers ahead with 1:15 left in the first. Thomas Vanek capitalized on a power play 2:02 into the second, and then the Flyers did the same on a laser by Mark Streit at the 5:46 mark. Then with a little less than seven minutes left in the second, Mikael Granlund hustled to a loose puck in the corner and buried it for his seventh goal of the year. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare picked up the eventual game-winner 3:21 into the third when he dived for a loose puck in front of the Minnesota net. But the Flyers had to dodge a bullet in the final seconds when, with their net empty, Charlie Coyle took a feed in the left circle and fired it towards an almost-open net. But Neuvirth lunged backward and to his right to get his stick on the puck just before it crossed the goal line. It was the last of Neuvirth’s 24 saves on 26 shots. Devan Dubnyk stopped 28 of 31 in the loss. 

The game hinged on two plays in the third period. The first game on Bellemare’s goal 3:21 into the frame, a true fourth-line grinder goal that came after Ryan White and Chris VandeVelde won a puck battle on the end boards and ended up getting the puck out in front. Bellemare absorbed a cross-check from Jarrett Stoll as he dove to push the puck up and over Dubnyk. The other came in the final seconds on Neuvirth’s save, which was so amazing that at first nobody really knew what happened except him. Words aren't really adequate, so watch it here.

1. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: His goal was his first in 32 games and stemmed the momentum the Wild had generated with a strong second period. 

2. Sam Gagner: Put the Flyers on the board late in the first period with a hard-working goal in front of the net, his fourth goal of the season.

3. Mikael Granlund: Evened the score at 2-all with his seventh point in eight games.

The Flyers had 31 shot attempts in the first period to Minnesota’s 14. They ended up with 57 shot attempts on the game. Radko Gudas led the Flyers with five shots and eight attempts, while Sam Gagner had four shots and seven attempts… Eight different Flyers recorded a point. Shayne Gostisbehere went without a point for the second consecutive game but was plus-2… Brayden Schenn led the Flyers with three hits.

It's unbelievable. It was a disgusting save. It was one of those things that saves the game for us. It’s a huge save by Neuvy. I thought the guys responded well tonight.”

(Sam Gagner)

“You know what, you just never give up on the puck, and it worked out this time. I’m really happy that we closed out the game. We have been having a tough time in the last seconds to close out the games. I’m just happy that we found a way tonight." 

(Michal Neuvirth)
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