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5 Takeaways: Kevin Hayes’ 2 goals not enough as Flyers fall to Jets

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Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers

Finishing out yet another set of back-to-back games, the Philadelphia Flyers welcomed the Winnipeg Jets into the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night. The Flyers were hoping to defend an eight-game, regular season, home winning streak against the Jets.

Unfortunately for them, Winnipeg was all over them at the start. To their credit, the Flyers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and tied the game at 3-3.

No matter. The Jets outlasted the Flyers, 5-3, and prevented Philadelphia from climbing over .500 for the first time in two-plus months.

Despite two goals from the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes, the Jets won in Philadelphia for the first time since 2012.

Winnipeg (31-16-1), which moved into a tie for first in the Central Division, built a 3-0 lead just eight and a half minutes into the game. Rookie goalie Felix Sandstrom, in his first start for Philadelphia (20-21-7) since Dec. 13, had no defensive help in front of him.

With the score tied at 3-3, Karson Kuhlman restored the Jets’ lead in the third on a goal that Sandstrom will want back. It ended up as the game-winning goal.

Kevin Stenlund iced this one with an empty netter.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Jets get three goals in the first.

The Jets stormed out to an early lead in the first period, tagging Sandstrom for three goals. The first came as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby deflected a blast from Brenden Dillon just under five minutes into the game.

Just 81 seconds later, Kyle Connor finished off a two-on-one rush with Cole Perfetti to give the Jets a 2-0 lead. Travis Sanheim was caught deep in the offensive zone and couldn’t recover in time to help.

Mark Scheifele made it 3-0 after 8:31. Nikolaj Ehlers carried the puck behind the net and found Blake Wheeler in the slot. Wheeler one-touched the puck to Scheifele, who ripped the shot past a diving Sandstrom.

“I don’t know if it was anything too serious, they just capitalized on their chances,” Owen Tippett said on what went wrong in the first. “I thought we did some good things all night. Found a way to stay in it.”

2. Ivan Provorov breaks a five-game pointless drought.

When it looked like the Flyers were down and out, Provorov gave them some life.

Cam York started the play by banking the puck to Tippett in the defensive zone. Tippett carried the puck into the offensive zone on the rush. He showed poise in protecting the puck and sent itΒ under a diving Nate Schmidt.

Provorov, who had jumped up in the rush, pushed the puck past David Rittich to put the Flyers on the board with 1:17 remaining in the first period. It was his first point in six games and his first goal in nine.

He would later take a puck to the face during a Jets’ power play, but skated off under his own power and quickly returned to the game.

 

3. Sandstrom settled down after a rough first period.

Coming back from a conditioning stint with the Phantoms and being thrown into the second game of a back-to-back can’t be easy. But that’s what Sandstrom had to deal with against the Jets. Provorov’s late first-period goal may have played into Sandstrom remaining in the game.

Whatever the reason, he helped stabilize things the rest of the way. While the Flyers themselves stabilized a little as well, they still had some trouble getting the puck out of their zone. Sandstrom, 26, came up big when needed. After giving up three goals on seven shots, he stopped the next 17 that came his way heading into the third.

He did end up giving up a soft one in the third to Kuhlman as his pad was late getting down to the ice. That gave Winnipeg a 4-3 lead with 11:16 left.

“I ended up in between what I wanted to do. Real bad play on my part,” Sandstrom said. “Sucks with the timing; we were chasing back and that punishes us hard. I’m really disappointed in myself with that. Not the best performance there in that situation.”

4. Kevin Hayes continues All-Star pace.

In his 600th career game, Hayes grabbed his 14th goal of the season. It was his 12th point in the last 11 games. He has five goals and seven assists during this stretch.

It was a much-needed goal toward the end of the second period. And it came against the NHL’s second-ranked penalty kill. The Flyers have the 30th-ranked power play.

Hayes, along the goal line, put some heat on a shot that sailed over the left shoulder of Rittich. Credit to Noah Cates for the slick feed from the slot as well. Tony DeAngelo, with the secondary assist, now has 17 points in his last 21 games.

“Hockey is a weird game. You get a chance you should’ve scored on and you miss. A goal that’s kind of a little unlikely goes in,” Hayes said on his second-period goal. “You joke around in practice and warmups working on that stuff. Sometimes it happens in a game.”

Hayes grabbed his second of the night, tying the game for Philadelphia early in the third period. It came via the power play again. Morgan Frost’s shot hit the pad of Rittich and ricocheted to Hayes. He did not to miss the wide-open net. Make that 13 points in 11 games for Hayes and 18 in 21 for DeAngelo.

5. Special teams showed up for Flyers.

It wasn’t just the power play that was able to click a few times for the Philadelphia Flyers. The penalty kill also showed up. They were tasked with shutting down five Winnipeg power plays, including a five-on-three in the third period.

Winnipeg was 0 for 5 on the power play; the Flyers were 2 for 4.

“Guys did a great job reading the plays. Made some blocks and all that. I mean, Provy took one to his head, too. I think we did a great job on the PK,” Sandstrom said. “They really didn’t get any good shots, either. Great PK. Those were the things that helped us come back in this game. Team effort was great tonight.”

Special teams did their job. It just ended up not being enough.

Breakaways

The Flyers, who played their fifth game in seven nights, dropped to 2-7 in the second half of back-to-backs. … Philadelphia will host Los Angeles on Tuesday for their final home game before the All-Star break. … … Sandstrom dropped to 1-7-1 this season. … The Flyers scored two power-play goals in a game for the first time since Jan. 5. … Hayes and DeAngelo lead the team with 15 power-play points. … Hayes had two PP goals in a game for the first time in his career. … York has nine assists in his last 17 games. … Nick Deslauriers tied his season-high with seven hits.

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