The Philadelphia Flyers dropped a 5-4 overtime decision in Dallas on Saturday, so why did it feel almost as good as a win?
Because the Flyers faced a late 4-2 deficit and scored two shorthanded goals on the same interference penalty against Cam York.
Because Dallas, now 3-0-1, is regarded as one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Because the Flyers thoroughly outplayed Dallas, marking the second straight game (they beat Edmonton on Thursday) they had a territorial and shots advantage against a Stanley Cup contender.
“You’d like to get both points,” Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella told reporters after Saturday’s defeat. “But we just stayed in the game, handled some of the momentum swings, and found a way to get back in it and tie it.”
The Flyers are 3-1-1 heading into Tuesday’s game in Vegas against the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights. They will be huge underdogs for the third straight game. That doesn’t seem to bother them.
“We want to prove everyone wrong,” center Sean Couturier said before the season, a mantra the team has backed up in the early going.
The Flyers outshot the host Dallas Stars, 40-25, and they scored three shorthanded goals — two by Travis Konecny — for the first time since 1996. It was the fourth time in franchise history that had scored three shorties in a game.
Konecny’s second shorty got the Flyers to within 4-3 with 8:02 left. He finished a slick passing sequence with Travis Sanheim and Scott Laughton. Just 47 seconds later, while the Flyers will killing the same penalty, Walker took a pass from Sanheim, skated down the right side, and scored from the right circle on a two-on-one.
Walker, 28, seemingly a throw-in as part of the three-team Ivan Provorov trade, has been better than advertised. The 28-year-old, righthanded-shooting defenseman became the third D-man in franchise history to score shorthanded goals in consecutive games. He joined Jimmy Watson (1979) and Mark Howe (1982) and 1986), per NHL Stats.
Oddly, the Flyers now have four shorthanded goals and just one goal on the power play.
Even with the power play just 1 for 18, they have points in four of their five games.
Can all the Flyers’ good vibes continue?
Well, if they manage to get a point in Vegas against the loaded Golden Knights, it would go a long way toward making the Flyers relevant. On Saturday, Vegas defeated Chicago, 5-3, and became the first team to start 6-0 after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season.