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Flyers Blow Lead With 0.3 Seconds Left, Lose Another Overtime Game as Aho Completes Hat-Trick

The Carolina Hurricanes were less than a second away from losing back-to-back games in back-to-back nights, and the Philadelphia Flyers were less than a second away from their first winning streak since January 14th.

However, for the second time in as many nights, the Flyers allowed a power play goal with less than a second remaining, and unfortunately this time around it cost them dearly.

Martin Necas’ game-tying goal sent the game to overtime before Sebastian Aho completed his hat-trick only 28 seconds later, delivering the Flyers their 11th 3-on-3 overtime loss in 12 attempts. Carolina won the faceoff and went end to end before Sebastian Aho dangled Tony DeAngelo for a beauty of a winner.

The Flyers were down 2-0 after the first period after Aho and Brady Skjei scored 2 goals in 1:59. Tyson Foerster then scored his first career goal to cut the deficit in half but then Aho scored his second goal 9 minutes later. Down 3-1 late in the period, Noah Cates scored a power play goal, and that was followed up by Joel Farabee and Brendan Lemieux who scored 2 goals in 2:17 in the early parts of the third period. With the game essentially done, Scott Laughton was called for a minor penalty in the neutral zone with 7 seconds left, which was all the time Carolina needed to tie the game.

Felix Sandström played very well up until that point and stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced before allowing 2 goals on consecutive shots. Frederik Andersen made 29 saves as well for his 18th win of the season in just 26 games.

The Philadelphia Flyers faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third game of a seven-game home-stand and are coming off the heels of a complete team-effort last night after dispatching the Buffalo Sabres, 5-2. Owen Tippett scored his first career hat-trick, Carter Hart made 34 saves, and Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk snapped lengthy goal droughts. The Flyers, who were 2-10-0 in the second game of a back-to-back entering this game – Carolina was the second best with a 7-2-1 record – returned with the same lineup as last night with the sole change coming in net with Felix Sandström getting the start.

The Hurricanes were coming off a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs as they fell on the road last night, 5-2. They currently head the Metropolitan Division and are 2nd best in the NHL behind only the Boston Bruins, but are without Andrei Svechnikov and his 55 points for the foreseeable future. They were paced by Martin Necas with 26 goals and 62 points, Sebastian Aho behind him with a team-leading 27 goals and 55 points in 60 games, and Brent Burns on the back end with 51 points. Frederik Andersen also received the start after Pyotr Kochetkov got the nod last night.

FIRST PERIOD

It was a tentative start to this game but that was somewhat expected with the Hurricanes not only possessing one of the best defensive units in the league, but also being hit by several key injuries to their offensive unit.

There were some chances albeit a slow start: Martin Necas had an odd-man rush early in the period that was stopped by the pad of Felix Sandström, Tony DeAngelo then finished off a set of nifty passes in the slot but his shot was gobbled up by Frederik Andersen, and then Tyson Foerster set up Morgan Frost on an abbreviated breakaway with a nice alley-oop pass.

With 6:04 remaining in the first period, Jalen Chatfield walked into the slot with time and space and let loose a cannon of a wrist shot but fortunately for the Flyers and Felix Sandström, the shot clanged off the post and out.

Coming out of the commercial break, Sebastian Aho fired a hard shot from the slot past Sandström after a great offensive zone shift with 5:08 remaining. After a few cycles around the net, Necas who was behind the net, found Aho all alone before he scored and extended his team-lead in goal with 28.

1:59 later, Brady Skjei took advantage of a sloppy turnover by the Flyers defense, giving them an unassailable 2-goal lead. Ivan Provorov dumped a pass behind his back to Wade Allison who failed to get it out of the zone. Skjei corralled the puck, walked in a little bit, and then fired a shot with traffic in front of Sandström for his 15th of the season.

A little over 30 seconds later, Necas almost made it 3-0 in short order with a breakaway attempt that was swatted away by the back-check of Nick Seeler.

The Flyers were the only winless team in the NHL when trailing by 2 goals with an 0-35-1 record. The Hurricanes had an NHL-best 34 wins after scoring the first goal, a +29 goal differential after the first period, and 28-2-4 when leading after the first period; a tall task for the Flyers to come back after what looked like a decent-to-good start. The Hurricanes scored 2 late goals in quick order to put a damper on tonight’s festivities. Carolina also led the period with a 12-8 shot advantage.

SECOND PERIOD

4:56 into the second period, Tyson Foerster scored his first NHL goal after ripping a snap-shot low blocker-side on Andersen to cut the deficit in half. John Tortorella juggled the lines after the first period and this makeshift line jettisoned out of their own zone with speed after Brendan Lemieux got the puck to Morgan Frost in the neutral zone before setting up Foerster for his second point in as many nights.

Carolina’s first real tester in the second period came with about 8:10 remaining after Seth Jarvis split the defense and found himself all alone with Sandstrom, but the young goaltender was able to shut down the opportunity for his 13th save of the game.

Unfortunately, a few minutes later and with a delayed penalty on the way, Aho scored his second goal of the game after he ripped a seed of a shot from the faceoff dot. The Hurricanes entered the zone with speed, and Shayne Gostisbehere and Stefan Noesen set Aho up with more nifty but quick passes while also getting Sandström to bite early.

With 3:23 remaining, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was whistled down for the first penalty of the game, a tripping minor. It was a David vs. Goliath situation in terms of special teams as the 32nd-ranked power play – 4 for 41 in their last 20 games – went toe to toe with the 2nd-best penalty killing unit – 28 for 29 over their last 13 games.

With 31 seconds left on Kotkaniemi’s minor and 1:54 left in the period, Brady Skjei was called for a tripping minor on Tony DeAngelo at the point. The Flyers won the offensive zone face-off and connected 12 seconds into the 5-on-3 man advantage in large part because of Foerster’s shoot-first mentality. Noah Cates scored his 11th goal of the season after Foerster’s shot was stopped, he jumped on the rebound as he was positioned right in front of the goaltender. Owen Tippett recorded the secondary assist after his pass set up Foerster’s point shot.

The period ended with the Hurricanes up 3-2, but the Flyers responded well to both goals scored by Carolina. The power play connected for the second time in as many nights, the Flyers outshot Carolina 13-4 in the period, and Foerster recorded 2 points to add to his assist from last night.

THIRD PERIOD

3:33 into the third period and with the Flyers continuing to control the pace of the game, Joel Farabee scored his second goal in as many nights after enduring a 27-game goalless drought after finishing off a rebound in the dirty areas. Owen Tippett took a simple turnaround shot from the faceoff dot and Farabee, who was positioned at the front of the net, corralled the rebound and finished it past Andersen for his 11th of the season.

Another makeshift line that Tortorella formed in the second period connected for a goal, this time in Cates, Farabee, and Tippett.

The Flyers continued to pour it on as Brendan Lemieux joined in on the fun after Frederik Andersen misplayed the puck behind the net. He tried to shoot it around the boards, but Morgan Frost made a wise play by getting in the way and knocking it down before quickly corralling the puck and setting up Lemieux in front of the net with an open cage to shoot at for his 2nd as a Flyer – and second of the season.

Lemieux’s tally was the 2nd goal in 2:17 for the Flyers – and technically their 3rd goal in 7:32 of game time going back to Cates’ late second period tally – who now led for the first time with 14:10 remaining in regulation. The Flyers also had an 8-2 shot advantage in the first 6 minutes of the period, adding to their 13-4 edge from the middle frame.

With 10:22 left in the third period, Felix Sandström made his biggest save of the game after Brett Pesce was absolutely robbed in and around the slot on his one-time opportunity, unmarked and all alone. With the Hurricanes piling it on with chance after chance, Carolina got a little too aggressive in the Flyers’ zone and Kotkaniemi was called for an offensive zone penalty – his second minor of the game – with 7:22 remaining.

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour was not happy with the officiating as they had yet to receive a power play, especially after he felt a few questionable plays weren’t called with the Flyers starting to deliver the body. With the game hanging in the balance, this was a true test for both special teams units, but it was Carolina who prevailed with the penalty kill and did not allow the Flyers to create much of anything, however it did kill 2 minutes off the clock.

With the penalty having just expired, Owen Tippett had a net-front opportunity but the rebound opportunity went just high as it rang the post. Then coming out of the final commercial break and with 5:06 left in the period, Sebastian Aho was whistled for a hooking minor, sending the Flyers on their 4th man advantage of the night. It was as a better power play than their previous attempt but once again they were unable to put the icing on the cake late in the third period.

With 2:15 remaining in the third period and with an offensive zone faceoff, Brind’Amour took a timeout and subsequently pulled Andersen for the extra attacker. The Flyers were called for their first penalty of the game after Scott Laughton was nailed down for a holding minor in the neutral zone with 7 seconds left.

Off the faceoff, Shayne Gostisbehere ripped a one-timer that was handled by Sandström but then a few seconds later they threw the puck towards the side of the net to Martin Necas, who scored with 0.3 seconds left – the second time in as many nights that the Flyers allowed a power play goal with less than a second remaining.

Gostisbehere retrieved the puck in the corner and threw it in a mass crowd, it hit Rasmus Ristolainen before Teuvo Teravainen launched it to the side of the net with almost no time left. Fortunately for he and the Canes, it missed Aho’s stick in the middle, but it reached Necas who scored his 27th of the season.

OVERTIME

The Flyers held the worst overtime record in the league with a 1-10 showing in the 3-on-3 festivities, compared to Carolina’s 7-6 record. 28 seconds into overtime, Sebastian Aho completed the hat-trick with his 30th of the season.

He went end to end after the Canes won the faceoff, he then dangled Tony DeAngelo with some nifty moves through his legs, and then beat Felix Sandström blocker-side. What a way to lose a game.

UP NEXT

The Flyers will welcome the surging Florida Panthers to Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night (7:00pm ET, NBCSP) for game number three of their seven-game homestand.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

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