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Flyers Cough Up Lead with 1.9 Seconds Left, Lose in Shootout, and Might’ve Lost Laughton in 5-4 Defeat to Canadiens

The Philadelphia Flyers fell for the 6th consecutive game and 9th time in their last 11 in a shootout after giving up the game-tying goal to Cole Caufield with 1.9 seconds left in regulation.

The Flyers entered this game without Travis Konecny and then left the game, not only with a heartbreaking defeat, but without Scott Laughton finishing the game as he left in the third period following a big collision with Kaiden Guhle.

Carter Hart stopped 28 of 32 shots, Jake Allen stopped 25 of 29 shots, Owen Tippett had 2 goals, Travis Sanheim had a goal and an assist, Zack MacEwen recorded 2 assists, and Kevin Hayes scored a goal as well. Cole Caufield scored 2 goals and recorded an assist and Nick Suzuki had 2 assists and the shootout winner as the Canadiens defeated the Flyers 5-4 and have recorded at least a point in 8 of their last 9 meetings.

The offensively challenged Flyers announced before the game that leading goal scorer and point getter in Travis Konecny would not be available and he was in fact sent back to Philadelphia for further evaluation. So with another injury comes more line changes as Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, and Owen Tippett represented the first line. Following them are Scott Laughton, Noah Cates, and Zack MacEwen. Kevin Hayes was centering the third line with Max Willman and Patrick Brown. Nicolas Deslauriers, Lukas Sedlak, and Kieffer Bellows rounded out the 12 forwards and 4 lines. Another interesting wrinkle ahead of the game was behind the bench as John Tortorella was set to face off against Montreal Canadiens’ head coach Martin St. Louis – a former member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Stanley Cup champion under Tortorella in 2004.

FIRST PERIOD

The Flyers needed only 39 seconds to open the scoring after jumping on a turnover in the neutral zone. Zack MacEwen sent a pass to Scott Laughton who was streaking towards the goal and as his shot was stopped, he followed his rebound below the goal-line, and then sent a quick backhand pass to Travis Sanheim who was making a beeline towards Jake Allen to open the scoring with his first goal of the season.

Then 2 minutes and 16 seconds later, Owen Tippett went from one end to the other and ripped a snap-shot through Joel Edmundson past a bewildered Allen to make it 2-0.

Then 1:12 later, the Canadiens cut the deficit in half after Arber Xhekaj’s shot from the point troubled Carter Hart with a mass of bodies in front of him. Brendan Gallagher was there making life difficult for both Hart and Ivan Provorov, which allowed Christian Dvorak to skate in and finish the rebound into an open net for his 4th of the season and first goal in 9 games after scoring a hat-trick on the 29th of October against the St. Louis Blues.

The goal awakened the Canadiens after stumbling out of the gates and the game was almost tied up after Cole Caufield was set up perfectly by Nick Suzuki after the Flyers were caught napping in the corner boards. Carter Hart met the young goal-scoring phenom and blockered aside his high snap-shot. A few minutes later, Sean Monahan was robbed by the pad of Hart after he snuck up the middle and deflected a pass from the slot.

With 4:07 remaining in the first period, Kieffer Bellows was called for a high sticking minor, bringing out a Flyers penalty killing unit that had allowed 7 goals in their last 11 opportunities. 26 seconds into the man advantage, Sean Monahan’ initial shot was stopped by the pad of Hart but the puck was stuck on the toe of his skate and Monahan started pushing at it.

The Canadiens thought they scored, the referees never made a goal signal, and they had a chat before going upstairs after it seemed very obvious that Monahan pushed the pad of Hart over the line, which is not allowed – even mentioned by the Canadiens’ CBC broadcast. The referees reviewed whether or not the puck was over the line and came back signaling a goal, allowing John Tortorella to challenge the call without hesitation. The challenge took only a few seconds as the referees came back and deemed that it was pushed in and therefore not a legal goal.

With 2:43 left in the period and 34 seconds left on Bellows’ minor penalty, Scott Laughton was called for an interference minor on a very unnecessary cross-check, giving the Canadiens an abbreviated 5 on 3 opportunity. With 3 seconds left on the 5-on-3, none other than Cole Caufield added to the misery of the Flyers’ penalty kill. The umbrella of the power play kept passing, passing, passing before Caufield unleashed a slap-shot with Nick Suzuki screening and then jumping out of the way of the shot, befuddling Hart as he got a piece of it but not enough.

The tying goal was Caufield’s 10th of the season and it also represented the 8th power play marker allowed in the last 12 kills.

With two seconds remaining on Laughton’s minor and 43 seconds remaining in the period, Kirby Dach was called for a tripping minor on Ivan Provorov. However, it was Montreal who got the best scoring chance in the last 40 seconds as Jake Evans followed his dump-and-chase and then centered a pass to Dvorak, who fumbled the shot opportunity. The Flyers were napping again and were making a very bad line change, and they didn’t follow the puck as Evans realized the opportunity a few seconds after sending the puck down the ice.

The Flyers came out of the gates firing with 6 shots on goal in the first 5 minutes to the Canadiens’ 3, all of which came on their first goal of the game with a few rebound opportunities, and then stumbled to the finish line as they trailed 11-9 after the first period.

SECOND PERIOD

Special teams have once again become one of the Flyers’ biggest hindrances as their power play was essentially a waste of two minutes with the Canadiens pressuring the Flyers, forcing turnovers, and even creating chances of their own while shorthanded. Luckily, the anemic power play didn’t kill their buzz as they started the second period the way they have all season with a lot of energy, pressure, forechecking, and therefore chances.

Unfortunately, they missed quite a bit but Jake Allen and Carter Hart were still tasked to make big saves in a very fast moving second period. With 12 minutes remaining in the middle frame, Owen Tippett made a handsome toe-drag move on a Canadiens defenseman and ripped a snap-shot off the post with the puck bouncing out to a streaking Farabee who couldn’t finish of the rebound.

Then four minutes later, Morgan Frost was robbed on a breakaway by the stick of Allen that was countered by an abbreviated breakaway chance for Evans that was stopped by the outstretched pad of Hart. After having to make another grandiose save on the Canadiens, Hart was left to fend for himself after Max Willman failed to clear the puck. Willman tried getting the puck out of the zone off the glass but it was kept in by Evans, he then sent the puck to Caufield who found Suzuki below the goal line.

Suzuki, who had been everywhere all night long, made an incredible turnaround backhand pass that went through 3-4 defenders and right onto the stick of Mike Matheson – who was making his Montreal Canadiens debut – in the slot as he ripped one glove-side past Hart, who came out aggressively trying to stop the puck.

Evgenii Dadonov was called for a delay of game minor with 7:01 remaining in the second period as the Flyers should’ve just been trying to get shots on their power play after having 1 in 4 chances against Boston on Thursday and then going for nought on their first chance of this game. They were credited with one shot on goal, which looked to have actually hit the side of the net, but other than that the Flyers looked lost, slow, and missing a beat on yet another man advantage opportunity.

Looking for a spark, Nicolas Deslauriers decided to drop the gloves with the mighty Arber Xhekaj after he delivered a big hit on Patrick Brown. The tilt ended in favour of #44 in Orange and White as the Flyers needed something to get back into the game.

As Deslauriers has provided all season, his fight seemingly worked to perfection as the Flyers tied the game right off the next faceoff. Owen Tippett – who had been the most noticeable Flyer – took a shot right off the draw that caught Jake Allen snoozing.

Tippett not being a centre makes that goal that much better, and later in the period they showed that right before the faceoff Tippett changed his hand placement on his stick, almost signaling that a shot was forthcoming. The goal represented his 2nd of the game and 6th of the season.

The Canadiens came in waves right after and forced Rasmus Ristolainen into taking a hooking minor with 3:25 remaining. Fortunately enough, the Flyers were able to kill the penalty even though they came inches away from giving up another power play goal and subsequently the go-ahead marker, but it was Hart once again providing the answer in the form of several big saves.

25 seconds after the penalty had come to an end, Matheson was called for a double-minor high-sticking infraction as he clipped Joel Farabee in the mouth, which had him feeling it for some time as he was on the ice for a bit and then went straight into the locker room.

The Canadiens had an amazing scoring chance with ten seconds left but had their stick lifted by Morgan Frost just in time as the Flyers attempted to counter back with an odd-man rush of their own. Frost tried to make a pass instead of taking the shot off the rush, which negated the opportunity, and ended the period.

The Flyers entered the second intermission tied up at 3, trailing in the shot department by a margin of 25-16, were outhitting Montreal 24-15, and had 2:57 of power play time to work with to start the third period.

An interesting note during the intermission is Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek had a segment discussing news surrounding the NHL and one of them had to do with Travis Konecny. Marek noted that the injury might take at least 2 weeks to heal, but it could be more like a month, and in that case, “don’t be surprised if the Flyers start rolling out with 7 Ds.”

THIRD PERIOD

The Flyers fired four shots on goal to start out the period, but the most pressing issue that came out of this power play was the hit that Scott Laughton absorbed from Kaiden Guhle. Farabee entered the zone and dropped a pass to Laughton on the blueline. Not expecting a big hit on the penalty kill, Laughton was dumped hard onto the ice and didn’t get up as the Flyers possessed the puck. The referee didn’t blow the whistle until the puck went out of play and Laughton went straight to the locker room escorted by medical help.

The Flyers forced the Canadiens into several icings and they were able to take full advantage just after the 8-minute mark after Kevin Hayes ripped a slap-shot past Jake Allen with several bodies in front to take a 4-3 lead.

During that specific shift, Hayes took the spot of Laughton on the second line with Zack MacEwen and Noah Cates, was able to find the loose puck after Nick Seeler’s initial slap-shot was blocked. MacEwen and Cates did all the dirty work behind the net and rimmed it around the boards to Seeler, whose blocked shot landed right into the wheelhouse of Hayes situated in the area below the faceoff dot.

With about eight minutes remaining in regulation, the Flyers came oh so close to doubling their lead as Deslauriers and MacEwen almost struck gold. Deslauriers blocked a shot and followed the trail as he was able to get the puck out of the zone and then set up MacEwen with a sneaky pass. Unfortunately it was just a little too far out of his reach as Allen was able to challenge the play by diving forward with his stick. The puck took a fortuitous bounce and Deslauriers had a chance at whacking it into the open net but Matheson was able to legally tie up his stick at the very last second, sending the shot wide.

The Canadiens pulled Allen with about two minutes to go for an extra attacker and the possessed the puck in the offensive zone the entire time. MacEwen, Cates, Brown, Provorov, and DeAngelo were pinned for over 70 seconds and were two seconds away from escaping with the victory, but Cole Caufield was able to tie things up with a one-timer that was set up by Suzuki.

MacEwen and Brown blocked several hard shots and MacEwen even lost his stick, but they failed to clear the puck on several occasions and the Canadiens stayed patient and took advantage of some tired and beaten down bodies. Suzuki from the other side of the zone ripped a perfect cross-seam whip of a pass to Caufield, who connected perfectly with a mass of bodies in the blue paint.

OVERTIME

Overtime settled nothing and in fact there was only one shot on goal, and that came off the stick of Caufield. There were only three faceoffs during the five minutes that included the opening draw and one after a late icing call on the Canadiens. The game went to a shootout that represented the first attempt of the season for the Flyers.

SHOOTOUT

Round 1:

Cole Caufield Miss
Owen Tippett Miss

Round 2:

Nick Suzuki Goal
Morgan Frost Miss (double doink)

Round 3:

Christian Dvorak Miss
Kevin Hayes Miss

Nick Suzuki was the only scorer in the shootout to give the Canadiens a 5-4 win and to hand the Flyers their sixth consecutive loss.

UP NEXT

The Flyers return home for a matchup with the Calgary Flames, who have won three of their last four games, on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation, living in Guelph

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