PHILADELPHIA – Dave Hakstol might have been pleased with the effort but he wasn’t thrilled with the outcome.
Moments after the Flyers (2-3) lost a tense 1-0 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on a Sean Couturier turnover with 1:25 to play, Hakstol voiced his disappointment over the outcome, even though his team “played well.’’
“We played a hell of a game today,’’ the Flyers coach said in the press room at the Wells Fargo Center. “It stinks walking away with nothin’ to show for it.
“You don’t get moral points (or real points) for a loss. But there’s not much there I want to change.’’
Hakstol ran through a checklist of things his team did better, especially after giving up 19 goals in the first four games of the season.
“We wanted to start better in our own building and we did that,’’ Hakstol said, mindful of the four goals allowed in the first period in the home season-opening 8-2 loss to San Jose on Tuesday.
“We wanted to have little better starts at the beginning of the second and third periods. We did that.
“And we wanted to sustain that, keep our pace of play, stay on our toes, stay aggressive. Keep pushing. We did all of those things. They made a play late in the game and it hurts like hell to come out of here with nothing.’’
Couturier had the puck bobble near his feet and lost it to Ryan Carpenter, setting up Eakin for the winning shot, spoiling a gem by Flyers goalie Brian Elliott.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was lit up by the Flyers for five goals in the season opener at Vegas last week, stopped all 26 Philadelphia shots.
“I just got handcuffed,’’ Couturier explained. “The puck was kind of in my feet. I couldn’t get a good grip of it. Fanned on it, tried chipping it out, the next thing you know, (I’m) trying to find coverage and there was a guy (Eakin) open.’’
At least the Flyers played better in front of Elliott, who allowed the single marker on 21 shots. In the Sharks game, more than one Flyer said they left their goalie “out to dry.’’
“I thought we did what you basically need to do to win a hockey game,’’ Elliott said. “We had great blocked shots (17 in all), guys were putting their bodies on the line, great battle in the corners.
“It was a really good game, tough that it came down to a last-minute breakdown to a goal. We had our chances to tie it up and Fleury came up with a big save there (on Claude Giroux) at the end.’’
While the first two periods went scoreless, both teams had their chances.
Perhaps the Flyers’ best opportunity came in the closing minutes of the second period.
Giroux broke loose a few strides from the Vegas net and attempted to sweep past Fleury. But at the last instant, Fleury stuck out his glove and managed to trap the skimming puck beneath it.
The Flyers went into a defensive shell in the second half of the third period, not getting their first shot until the 10:22 mark.
Laughton’s scary moment
Scott Laughton crashed hard into the end boards after missing a breakaway late in the second period during a Flyers penalty kill.
Laughton needed a moment to get to his feet, limped off the ice and had to be assisted to the locker room. He returned to action about six minutes into the third period.
Asked if there was any doubt he would come back, Laughton said no.
A day of improvement for the penalty kill
Last year the Flyers finished a dismal 29th in the NHL on the penalty kill, the same rank with which they entered Saturday’s game. But the Flyers managed to kill off all three Golden Knight power plays, including one created by a Wayne Simmonds infraction with 4:15 to play in the third.
Travis Konecny, who left Friday’s practice early after it appeared he took a shot off his lower leg, was in the lineup and played on a line with Jordan Weal and Oskar Lindblom. . .Jake Voracek needs two assists to pass John LeClair for 12th place on the Flyers’ all-time list. LeClair has 310 assists. . .Giroux entered the game fourth in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 61.9 percent. . .The Flyers have an off-day Sunday and will resume practice on Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s home game against Florida.