Once again, the Philadelphia Flyers stunned a Stanley Cup contender.
Sean Couturier scored one minute into the overtime as the Flyers jolted the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3, in a Saturday matinee at the Wells Fargo Center.
Couturier, Owen Tippett and Travis Sanheim each had two points, and Carter Hart made 28 saves for the Flyers. Tyson Foerster scored his first goal of the season.
The Flyers (9-7-1) have won four straight. Vegas (13-3-2) salvaged a point as it overcame a 2-0 deficit.
Hart opened the game with a breakaway save on Ivan Barbashev, and it wouldn’t be the last he’d face. Hart would also rob Mark Stone later on, and with the help of a few Golden Knights misfires, kept the Flyers in the game all day long.
The Flyers finally scored a power play goal. With less than five minutes remaining in the first period, Sanheim’s one-timer rebound fell to Tippett in the slot. No. 74 made no bones about it and cashed in. With his goal, Tippett now has goals in each of his last four games.
The power play goal was the Flyers’ first since an Oct. 28 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, and they had scored twice with the man advantage on Oct. 26 against the Minnesota Wild. During this four-week period, the Flyers had gone a whopping 0-for-26 on the power play. It’s been something that’s held back their true potential as a team and as a group.
“Finally!” Sean Couturier exclaimed after the game.
“Yeah, we talked about before the game,” Cam Atkinson said. “We need our power play to be a difference maker and keep it simple with the puck, do the work and have that attack mentality. We got rewarded.”
After committing several turnovers to start the period, Philadelphia eventually found its legs in their own end and in Vegas’s end. By the end of the first frame, the Flyers led the Golden Knights in shots by a 16-8 margin.
After blocking 30 shots in Carolina against the Hurricanes on Wednesday, the Flyers started their game on Saturday with another 12 through 2o minutes. They finished with 26 blocks, spearheaded by Nick Seeler (five) and Morgan Frost (four).
Flyers Power Play is Back?
Foerster got the party started less than a minute into the second period, scoring the Flyers’ second (yes, you’re reading that correctly) power-play goal of the game. The 21-year-old finally got the monkey off his back, scoring his first of the year after going goalless in his previous 15 games.
“[My goal was] huge, but like I just said, I don’t think it’s necessarily all about the scoresheet and stuff,” the humble-as-ever Foerster shared. “I think we’ve been winning the last couple of games because we’ve been playing hard. It’s great”.
Less than four minutes later, William Karlsson beat Hart in transition to cut the Flyers’ lead in half. What seemed like a relatively harmless shot from the left circle got through and found twine.
Any momentum Vegas might have had at that point evaporated after a selfish play from Chandler Stephenson. Halfway through the first period, the former Washington Capital cross-checked Garnet Hathaway twice after the whistle, following a light collision with Mark Stone. For his transgressions, Stephenson was assessed a five-minute major for cross-checking and received a match penalty.
The Flyers had used up their luck on their two previous power plays, coming up empty-handed after five minutes. They created a few decent looks, but nothing menacing enough to threaten for a third goal. Head coach John Tortorella was quick to ascertain that no, the Philadelphia Flyers power play is not back – yet.
Almost immediately after the failed power play, Jonathan Marchessault tied the game at 2-2. And then immediately after that, Sean Walker’s seeing-eye shot from the point beat Logan Thompson’s glove, thanks to some moving traffic in front from Travis Konecny.
Lack of Composure and Discipline
To finish the period, Konecny and Walker were called for two successive holding penalties, giving Vegas a 5-on-3 to virtually finish the middle frame. No sooner did the refs then call Scott Laughton for cross-checking, in addition to the previous two penalties.
Marchessault then beat Hart once again, knotting the game at 3-3. The Flyers closed the period with a 33-21 advantage in shots, and their lack of discipline in a crucial moment fully reflected the wide open nature of the game.
Naturally, Philadelphia refused to make things easy for themselves. Less than three minutes into the third period, and after Vegas had tied the game, Morgan Frost took a silly tripping penalty.
Play settled down pretty significantly after that, though Hathaway and Alex Pietrangelo would pay visits to the sin bin for too much hugging near the benches.
Paul Cotter’s tripping penalty late in the third period gave the Philadelphia Flyers a chance to atone for their sloppy moments. Once again, the Flyers came up short.
The Flyers should be happy with a point, especially after wins against the Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings this past week. On three different – recent – occasions, Philadelphia proved they could match up with contenders.
Fortunately, they can be happy with two points, and not one. Konecny and Couturier combined for a botched overtime winner on a pass attempt, and it beat Thompson. After the game, Couturier confirmed that he absolutely tried a pass to Konecny, with a laugh.
“That was supposed to go right on TK’s blade, I don’t know what happened there,” Couturier joked. “It was just bouncing around. But no, that was a pass”.
The Flyers, who didn’t get much respect at the start of the season, have now won four in a row. How about that?