5 Takeaways: Flyers’ Rally Falls Short, But They Gain in Draft-Lottery Race
Because Carter Hart will ill, the Philadelphia Flyers had to use backup goalie Felix Sandstrom Tuesday against powerful Vegas at the sparsely filled Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers didn’t give him much support.
Numerous defensive breakdowns crippled the Flyers in their 5-3 loss to Vegas, which finished a 4-1 road trip.
The Flyers, who started a seven-game homestand, have lost four straight and 12 of their last 14 to gain ground in the Great Draft Lottery. Montreal upset Pittsburgh on Tuesday, so the Flyers moved into a tie for the fifth-worst record in the NHL.
Philly dominated the third period and got within 4-3, but the rally fell short against the talented Golden Knights.
“We’re done. We’re not making the playoffs, but our guys continue to play hard,” coach John Tortorella said. “.. There haven’t been many nights in this season, this God-forsaken season, that I’ve had to worry about effort. And I don’t think I will for the remainder, so I need to show them respect and try to be with them. Try to push them along. Continue to teach, but in the proper way.”
The Flyers allowed two power-play goals in three chances, excluding a one-second PP before the final buzzer. Tortorella has been experimenting with the PK personnel. The penalty killers are just 10 for 17 in the last four games.
Here are five quick observations:
1. Newcomer Tyson Foerster did a lot of good things.
The rookie right winger, who is with the Flyers on an emergency recall, played aggressively and got free for six shot attempts — one that hit iron while the Flyers were on a second-period power play. He came that close to scoring his first NHL goal while in his third game.
Foerster, 21, did not look overmatched as he played on a line with Hayes and left winger Brendan Lemieux.
“He was a bright spot for me again tonight,” Tortorella said of Foerster.
Sanny doinks it.#VGKvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/VgSKL1mmSD
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 15, 2023
2. It wasn’t artistic, but Travis Sanheim will take it.
Sanheim, the Flyers’ 26-year-old defenseman, scored his first goal in his last 30 games.
The puck fluttered into the net after it deflected off Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague and past Jonathan Quick. That cut Vegas’ lead to 2-1 with 11:50 left in the second.
Less than three minutes later, however, uncovered fourth-line center Teddy Blueger scored on a rebound to restore the two-goal cushion at 3-1.
Early in the third period, the Knights made it 4-1 as Jonathan Marchessault was left alone in front and he scored the team’s second power-play goal of the night.
Indeed. And it belonged to defenseman Nick Seeler, who scored the seventh goal of his career. https://t.co/dlEqbfAN5m
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 15, 2023
3. Late flurry gets Flyers within striking distance.
Defenseman Nick Seeler (seventh career goal) and Morgan Frost scored 1:51 apart to cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 4-3 with 9:45 left in the third.
Seeler, of all people, scored the prettiest goal of the night (season?) as he deked around Shea Theodore from in close and beat Quick with 11:36 remaining in regulation.
“That’s a hell of a goal. That’s a three-on-three goal,” said Tortorella, referring to part of the Flyers’ practice sessions. ” … It couldn’t happen to a better guy, as far as what he’s done for the team this year. It gives us some juice, and gets us at least competing to the end.”
Frost (13th goal) than knocked in a pretty goal-mouth feed from Brendan Lemieux to make it 4-3.
But Ivan Barbashev iced the win with an empty-net goal with 1:32 left. It was his second goal of the night.
4. Blown coverage allows Vegas to take the lead.
In the opening period, Foerster lost a puck battle near the wall. That was the first problem.
Problem No. 2: The Flyers allowed rookie Pavel Dorofeyev to go behind the net and come out alone in front. Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov couldn’t contain him, and he beat Sandstrom high to the blocker side, giving the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead.
It was the second career goal for Dorofeyev, who has played in six games. He has scored in each of his last two games.
5. More mistakes lead to a Vegas power-play goal.
The Philadelphia Flyers paid for Frost’s closing-his-hand-on-the-puck penalty.
Barbashev deflected Theodore’s point shot past Sandstrom to make it 2-0 early in the second.
Scott Laughton’s failed clear led to the goal. So did a slick play by Vegas’ Chandler Stephenson, who lifted Provorov’s stick, preventing him from getting the puck and clearing it.
The Flyers’ penalty kill was just 9 for 14 on their recent 0-3 road trip.
Owen Tippett had 10 shot attempts (three on goal) and played more minutes (22:22) than any Flyers forward. … Joel Farabee, who was robbed by Quick in the first period, is goal-less in his last 26 games. … The Flyers’ power play was 0 for 2 and is in a 3 for 40 funk. … DeAngelo returned after missing the previous two games because of spearing. He played a game-high 24:03 and was plus-1. … Phil Kessel, Vegas’ fourth-line right winger, played in his 1,029th consecutive game, an ongoing NHL record that was once held by the Flyers’ Keith Yandle. … Former Flyers head coach John Stevens is a Vegas assistant. … The Flyers host Buffalo on Friday.