The Philadelphia Flyers held a 2-1 lead and were less than eight minutes away from doing the unthinkable Tuesday: Beating defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas and handing the Golden Knights their first loss of the season.
In Vegas, no less.
But the Flyers, like the Phillies in a much more important game earlier in the night, blew a 2-1 lead and came home with a 3-2-1 overall record.
They lost, 3-2, as the Knights (7-0) scored two late goals, including Shea Theodore’s game-winner with 32.5 seconds left.
“That’s a real good team. Defending champs. We were all over them for most of the first two periods, and I thought we played really hard,” said goalie Carter Har, who played another strong game. “Unfortunate breaks at the end, and that’s the game.”
It’s still a nice start for a rebuilding team that has been competitive in five of six games, but the way they lost Tuesday is what irked coach John Tortorella.
“You just wish you’d get a point,” he said.
Defenseman Cam York made a miscue that led to Vegas’ winning goal. He turned the puck over in his own end as he tried to go around a player. The sequence led to Theodore’s goal, which he fired past a screened Hart from the left circle.
“It was not the time to be trying to dance somebody,” York said. “Should have just chipped it out.”
If he did, the teams probably would have gone into overtime.
“We just can’t try to beat someone” in that situation, Tortorella said. “That’s what starts the whole fiasco at the end.”
The Flyers were on their heels too much in the final period, getting outshot in the session, 14-8. Like the Phillies — who had a 2-1 lead and squandered a first-and-third, one-out chance to pad their cushion — they failed to have a killer instinct.
Call it growing pains for the Flyers, who had three defensemen 23 or younger in their starting lineup, partly because of injuries to Rasmus Ristolainen and Marc Staal.
“He made a good play, but I’ve got to make that save,” said Hart, who was being too hard on himself.
It also didn’t help that the Philadelphia Flyers were 0 for 2 on the power play and are now 1 for 20 (5%) on the season heading into Thursday’s game against Minnesota at the Wells Fargo Center.