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Golden Knights Fend Off Flyers’ Late Third Period Comeback, Defeat Philadelphia 5-3

The Philadelphia Flyers have now lost 4 straight games and 16 of their last 20 after falling on home-ice to the Vegas Golden Knights, 5-3.

The Golden Knights, who have now won 4 straight games and 13 of their last 17, started the scoring midway through the first period after Pavel Dorofeyev walked in from behind the net and beat Felix Sandström in tight. Ivan Barbashev then scored an early power play goal to start the second period before Travis Sanheim responded back with his 5th of the season. Another newcomer from the trade deadline in Teddy Blueger then lit the lamp to give Vegas a 3-1 lead going into the third period.

Jonathan Marchessault scored early in the third period – the eventual game-winner – before a late flurry by the Flyers cut the deficit back to 1 with goals from Nick Seeler and Morgan Frost less than 2 minutes apart. Barbashev scored his second of the game in the empty net, sealing the victory for Jonathan Quick who is now tied for 2nd-most wins amongst American born netminders. He made 27 saves for his 4th win in as many games for Vegas and Sandström made 28 saves in a hard-fought loss.

With the Montreal Canadiens snapping their 7-game losing streak tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they jumped ahead of the Flyers in the standings, occupying the 26th spot with 60 points. The Flyers – now 27th – are tied with the Arizona Coyotes with 59 points but Arizona has played one less game as of right now as they take on Calgary tonight.

The Philadelphia Flyers entered tonight’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first of a 7-game homestand that will go all the way until the 28th of March. The Flyers had lost 3 straight games before tonight’s season series-ending tilt against the Golden Knights, who have won 12 of their last 16 games and have taken the Pacific Division by storm over the past month.

Brendan Lemieux returned to the lineup after a 2-game absence but Wade Allison remained out with an upper-body injury and Tony DeAngelo was reinstated after his 2-game suspension, which meant Justin Braun was the odd man out. The Flyers once again went with a 12/6 formation with Tyson Foerster being recalled on an emergency basis but with Lemieux back in the lineup, that meant that Elliot Desnoyers remained with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Felix Sandstöm returned in goal with Carter Hart dealing with an illness and Samuel Ersson served as his backup – also called up on an emergency basis, allowing the Flyers to keep their 4 remaining recalls post-trade deadline intact.

The Golden Knights, on the other hand, had won 3 straight before tonight, 7 of their last 10, and 12 of their last 16. Jonathan Quick got his 4th start as a Golden Knight, coming in with a perfect 3-0-0 record with a .939 SV% and 1.97 GAA, including a shutout, and was 1 win shy of tying former Flyer John Vanbiesbrouck for 2nd most wins for an American-born net-minder. The Knights’ offense is paced by Chandler Stephenson with 52 points, Jack Eichel with 50 points (in just 54 games), and Reilly Smith with 46 points. They were without 4 goaltenders, Mark Stone, Nicolas Roy, and William Carrier.


4:48 into the first period, Nicolas Hague was called for a tripping minor after getting his stick underneath Noah Cates, sending the 32nd-ranked power play onto the ice for the first time in the game.

The Flyers actually won an offensive zone faceoff and it led to a scoring chance with Rasmus Ristolainen causing damage in front of the net after he deflected an Owen Tippett slap-shot and then tried jamming home the loose puck. That was all she wrote for the first man advantage as the exciting parts took place within the first 8 seconds before the eventual lull.

With 11:24 remaining in the first period, Pavel Dorofeyev got the scoring started for the game and the Golden Knights after he walked in from behind the goal-line and snuck a hard shot underneath the arm of Felix Sandström for his 2nd goal of the season, 2nd in as many games, and in just his 7th career game.

The Flyers were caught napping in their own zone as Reilly Smith was able to get the puck off of Ivan Provorov behind the net, before Dorofeyev corralled the loose puck and was able to walk in on Sandström with 3 Orange jerseys watching him make the move and score.

The Flyers responded well but once again were not able to finish off some quality chances. The Golden Knights were held off the shot clock for over 10 minutes after scoring the first goal of the game with a simple point shot from Jack Eichel reaching Felix Sandström with 58 seconds left in the first period – they finished the final minute of the period with 4 more shots.

Nevertheless, the Flyers were putting the pressure on Vegas, they were cycling well, and were being very aggressive – without making mistakes – and chances came from sources that are looking for goals like Owen Tippett, Joel Farabee, and Tony DeAngelo. Unfortunately they headed into the intermission down by a goal.


To start the second period, Morgan Frost was whistled down for a closing his hand on the puck minor penalty, only 37 seconds in.

1:21 into the man advantage, the Golden Knights finally capitalized on a very strong effort with the man advantage after Shea Theodore ripped a one-timer from the point that was set up by Jonathan Marchessault. The puck deflected off of Ivan Provorov and Ivan Barbashev in front of Felix Sandström for his 13th of the season and 3rd as a member of the Golden Knights since the trade deadline.

Jack Eichel didn’t record an assist on the goal but he kept the puck in after the Flyers failed to clear it out of the zone.

8:10 into the second period, Travis Sanheim cut the deficit in half after his shot from the faceoff dot double-doinked off the sticks of Mike Amadio and Nicolas Hague and then over the reaching glove of Jonathan Quick for his 5th goal of the season, his 2nd point in his last 25 games, and his 2nd goal and 4th point in his last 32 games.

The play started from their own end after a near-icing attempt went in on Sandström, so DeAngelo picked it up and sent a slap-shot pass attempt from well below the red-line that bounced off the boards and onto Quick, to which the Flyers corralled, cycled, and then eventually scored.

8:54 into the period and 2:54 after Sanheim had cut the deficit in half, Paul Cotter made a move on Sanheim along the boards that had him lose his footing, which allowed the Knights to walk in the slot, fired several shots towards Sandström, hacked away at the rebounds in the form of dangerous scoring chances, and eventually Teddy Blueger – another newcomer after the trade deadline – finally finished off the play with his 3rd of the season, 3rd point in his last 4 games, and assists went to Phil Kessel and Paul Cotter.

1:06 after the Blueger tally, Jonathan Marchessault was whistled down for a hooking minor, giving the Flyers‘ dastardly anemic power play another opportunity to claw their way back into a game – 3 for their last 39 attempts in a span of 18 games.

The snakebitten Flyers welcomed a new member to their club in Tyson Foerster, who was literally inches away from scoring his first career goal in his first career home game but he clanged one off the post.

They spent most of the power play in the offensive zone but their shots either didn’t make it on Quick or they were forced to pass on the outskirts of the slot.

With 2.7 seconds remaining in the second period, Scott Laughton was called for a slashing minor, sending the Golden Knights’ man advantage onto the ice for the second time. The Knights entered the second intermission with a 3-1 lead, outshot the Flyers 14-8 in the second period and held a 25-17 edge after 40, and while the Flyers had a lot of offensive zone time, they were unable to shoot, find shooting lanes, and cycled around with no results.


After killing the penalty, Brendan Lemieux set up Laughton for an in-close opportunity that was stopped by Quick before Sanheim tried depositing the rebound from behind Laughton, but Quick was up to the task as well.

The Flyers were then called for too many men, going back to the penalty kill for the third time tonight. It took Vegas 20 seconds to tally their 2nd power play marker of the night and 4th goal overall after Eichel’s fake-shot-pass to reached Marchessault with an open cage at the other side of the net for his 22nd of the season with 16:59 remaining in the final period of regulation.

With 11:34 remaining, Nick Seeler cut the deficit in half after he danced around Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, and Jonathan Quick. Seeler probably scored the goal of the year for the Flyers as he dipsy-doodled from the boards into the slot, nutmegged Theodore, before getting around the stick of McNabb, before depositing it high over Quick’s glove in tight.

Then 1:50 later, Morgan Frost finished off a one-time attempt from Brendan Lemieux to get the Flyers to within 1 goal.

James van Riemsdyk set up Lemieux as he entered the zone with speed, the pesky forward then made a move into a dangerous area before setting up Frost with a backhand pass for his 13th of the season and 5th goal in his last 29 games.

A few shifts later, Owen Tippett came in on Quick with another power move but his opportunity bounced off the post before Alec Martinez swatted it out of the blue paint.

With 2:23 remaining in regulation, John Tortorella pulled Felix Sandström for an extra attacker, but Ivan Barbashev extended their lead back to 2 with 92 seconds left for his 2nd goal of the game, 14th of the season, and 4th as a member of the Golden Knights with the empty net goal.

Sandström was pulled again with 42 seconds left as the Flyers took their timeout, but of course it was too little too late as Vegas sealed the victory after a late comeback attempt from Philadelphia. Kevin Hayes was also whistled down for a tripping minor with less than a second left.


The Flyers continue their homestand on Friday night (7:00pm ET, NBCSP) against the playoff-hopeful Buffalo Sabres.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

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