Crazy comeback offer thwarted in season-opener shootout loss – NBC10 Philadelphia
The Flyers welcomed their fans back to full force on Friday night. They gave them a good show in the first period and a crazy one in the last moments of the third.
But a nightmarish second period ultimately spiked the season’s opening festivities in Philadelphia.
And that was caused in large part by the Flyers themselves. Despite a furious comeback offer, the club abandoned their 2021-22 regular season opener, 5-4, to the Canucks in a shootout.
Elias Pettersson and JT Miller called off the Flyers rally for good with scorers in the skills competition. Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux were refused during the Flyers’ two attempts.
Travis Konecny (power play) and Giroux (6 against 5) erased a 4-2 deficit with less than three minutes to play in regulation to force overtime, causing a frenzy among the 19,338 registered spectators.
But the Canucks controlled overtime and escaped in a shootout.
Prior to the loss, the Flyers had won five straight season opener. Friday night marked their first opening game at Wells Fargo Center with fans in the building since 2013-14. It was the club’s first game in front of a full-capacity crowd since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic put the sports world on hiatus.
Vancouver, who lost in a shootout Wednesday night in Edmonton, jumped on the Flyers’ mistakes and hurt Alain Vigneault’s club with his speed in space.
• The Flyers fed off the energy of the crowd and held a 1-0 lead in the opening intermission. The lead was quickly erased and forgotten towards the end of the second period.
The Flyers shot themselves in the foot with four penalties in the middle stanza: Konecny for high stick, Ivan Provorov for delay in play (pallet on the glass), a minor bench for too many men on the ice and Max Willman for double check.
The Canucks capitalized with a 5-to-4 goal and another 5-to-3 goal. Overall, Vancouver lost four points in the second period to the Flyers.
The Flyers were 30th on the penalty kill last season. They’ve made a number of off-season acquisitions to correct that ranking, but staying out of the box is one of the easiest remedies for a leaky PK.
• Giroux, Konecny, Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee scored for the Flyers.
Carter Hart rebounded from the difficult second period, making a total of 21 saves in the third period and overtime.
The Flyers managed to steal a point because of it. Konecny and Giroux were tremendously late.
• In his first start of what Hart and the Flyers believe was a rebounding season, the 23-year-old conceded all four goals on 39 shots.
The fourth goal seemed grueling to me. Hart will want to get it back. He came on a clear shot from Miller at a side angle and he sort of squeaked in front of Hart. Less than five minutes earlier, Atkinson reduced the Canucks’ lead to 3-2 with his first goal for a team other than the Blue Jackets.
Overall, however, Hart was not a problem. An unlucky rebound beat him on Vancouver’s first power-play goal. Hart almost denied the 5-on-3 goal, which was on the gate.
Once again, the Flyers got hurt.
• Provorov played 29:23 minutes and the popular offseason acquisition Ryan Ellis played 28:20. They combined for three assists. They’ll eat minutes for the Flyers this season.
• Willman, ahead of his family and friends in Barnstable, Mass., Made his NHL debut at 26. Less than two years ago, Willman was playing in the ECHL for the Reading Royals.
True to hockey tradition, the Flyers gave him his solo turn during warm-ups. Willman finished with 9:30 minutes on the Flyers’ fourth line. Recently claimed attackers Patrick Brown and Zack MacEwen should be available in the next few daysWillman is therefore likely to return to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley soon.
But credit the guy for gain your opportunity. If he plays well with the Phantoms, he could have more of them down the line.
• With the first game on the books, the Flyers continue their first four-game home game on Monday when they host Dave Hakstol and the Kraken Extension (7 p.m. ET / NBCSP).
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