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5 Takeaways: Fights Galore as Shorthanded Flyers Fall in OT

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Nick Deslauriers, Ryan Reaves, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers' Nick Deslauriers and Minnesota's Ryan Reaves in one of four early fights in the game. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers tried to continue their road mojo Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.

It almost happened.

Almost.

The Flyers salvaged a point thanks to Tony DeAngelo’s late goal, but fell in overtime to the Minnesota Wild, 3-2.

Mats Zuccarello put the puck between Travis Konecny’s legs as he went around the defender and beat Carter Hart with a sweet move with 2:52 left in OT.

The Flyers, who lost two players to injuries during the loss, dropped their third straight and are an ugly 1-8 in overtime games.

They are now 6-1-1 in their last eight road contests.

Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak as Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves and winger Matt Boldy collected three points.

With 3:25 left in overtime, Fleury stopped Konecny as he took a shot on a two-on-one rush.

“I’m happy to get a point, but it leaves you wanting more,” coach John Tortorella told reporters.

Here are five quick observations.

1. Tony DeAngelo rescued the Flyers.

With their goalie pulled and 1:28 left in regulation, DeAngelo took a deft pass from Kevin Hayes and scored from deep inside the right circle. He beat Fleury with a high shot just underneath the crossbar, forcing the overtime.

2. Matt Boldy looks like a special player.

Boldy scored his second goal of the night to give the Wild a 2-1 lead with 15:12 left in the third. Taking a perfect feed from Kirill Kaprizov, Boldy knocked a close-range shot past Carter Hart, who had no chance.

It was Boldy’s 16th goal of the season, and his fourth in the last four games. He was taken 12th overall in the 2019 draft. The Flyers traded down from 11th to 14th to get an additional pick in that draft. They took defenseman Cam York at No. 14 overall in the first round.

3. Welcome home, Noah Cates.

Cates returned to his hometown state and made his presence felt just 5:14 into the game. Rasmus Ristolainen, who kept the puck in the zone after intercepting Brandon Duhaime’s clearing attempt, whipped a shot on goal that deflected off Cates in front. The puck trickled past Fleury.

It was the seventh goal for Cates, whose parents and about 50 other relatives and friends were in the crowd. Cates went to the glass behind the net, pumped his fist, and smiled at his buddies who were sitting in the front rows.

“It was obviously pretty special,” Cates said with a wide smile between periods.

4. It turned into Fight Night midway through the first period.

In a span of 17 seconds, there were three fights.

Nick Deslauriers and Ryan Reaves were in a fairly even heavyweight bout. Fifteen seconds later, Wade Allison decisioned Mason Shaw in a quick fight. One second after that, Zack MacEwen got in some early punches, but the Wild’s Marcus Foligno rallied for a decision.

On the bench, Tortorella smiled as he watched the action.

Tortorella said he wasn’t surprised by the fights.

“We both play similar styles — straight ahead and go right at you,” he said.

That aggressive style led to the bouts, including Deslauriers’ league-leading ninth of the season.

The fights continued early in the second period as Duhaime decisioned the Flyers’ Patrick Brown.

5. The Wild seemed inspired by Duhaime’s bout.

After Duhaime won his fight, the Wild stormed the net. About a minute later, Boldy kicked the puck free from York in a battle in front and beat Hart to knot the score at 1-1.

Later in the period, the Philadelphia Flyers nearly broke the tie, but Scott Laughton ripped a shot off the crossbar with 8:56 to go in the second.

Breakaways

MacEwen appeared to injure his jaw in his fight and he sat out the second and third periods. Allison (lower-body injury) was apparently injured blocking a shot; he played sparingly in the second period and wasn’t on the ice in the third or the overtime. … In the opening period, Fleury made a glove save on Allison after the Flyers’ right winger stripped the puck from defenseman Matt Dumba and went in on a breakaway. … Travis Sanheim (5), Ivan Provorov (4) and York (4) combined for 13 blocked shots. Provorov played in his 500th career game. … Morgan Frost won nine of 13 faceoffs and was plus-1. … The Flyers play in Winnipeg on Saturday night in their final game before the All-Star break.

And just for fun — Ryan Reaves vs. Nicolas Deslauriers:

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