Flyers rally late but shootout loss ends 8-game win streak

Jakub Voracek
      PHILADELPHIA – At least they didn’t go down without a fight.
      Even though the Flyers’ eight-game winning streak came to an end in a shootout on Thursday night, they did manage to rally late to salvage a point.
      Jake Voracek tied the score at 2-2 with 17.6 seconds to play.
      With the Philadelphia net empty, Claude Giroux set up Voracek in the slot and his shot from the left hash marks beat Jonathan Quick short side.
      In the shootout, the Flyers got goals from Giroux and Nolan Patrick but came up short by a 3-2 margin. Tyler Toffoli scored the winning goal for the Kings, who won by a final score of 3-2 at the Wells Fargo Center.
      Before that, the Flyers actually thought for a moment they had the shootout won, 2-1, in the third round. It looked like Adrian Kempe’s shot hit the crossbar.
      But upon video replay, the shot counted as officials ruled the puck went in and struck the inside top of the net.
      Philadelphia had not lost a game since a regulation-time defeat at New Jersey on Jan. 12.
      The Flyers had been allowing plenty of shots in recent games but they had rookie goaltender Carter Hart playing at an elite level.
      In last night’s game against Los Angeles, goalie Anthony Stolarz played well, too.
      That said, the Flyers gave up far too many chances, especially in the first period. Philadelphia allowed numerous odd-man rushes and only a handful of exceptional saves by Stolarz kept the Flyers in it.
      Voracek, for one, thought the Flyers didn’t exactly play well enough to take home another “W.’’
      “We had opportunities to win,’’ he said. “But to be honest, I don’t think we even deserved a point today. I think it was our worst game out of those last nine. We were lucky to get that one point.
      “We were reaching for the puck instead of taking one more step. Swinging at the pucks and kind of turning them over, instead of taking one more step and making the hard play. I think that was our problem in the first period. Throughout the game we were so sloppy. . .good point for us. But we have to make sure we’re way better.’’
      The Flyers fell behind by a 1-0 score at 8:46 of the first period. Shayne Gostisbehere got left at the blue line as the Kings entered the zone. Kyle Clifford set up Austin Wagner for a 20-footer past Stolarz.
      Outshot by an 18-11 margin in the first period, the Flyers came out with more energy in the second period.
      They finally broke through against Quick at the seven-minute mark.
      Giroux dove to his knees to chip the puck to Sean Couturier, who backhanded a short shot under Quick before the goalie could get set.
      But the Kings came back to regain the lead at 12:33.
      Again, Gostisbehere was left in the dust, forcing Radko Gudas to face Brendan Leipsic and Kempe in a two-on-one situation. The Kings hit the line with speed and Stolarz couldn’t get over to stop Kempe’s shot.
      The Flyers nearly tied it in the closing seconds during a power play but Couturier’s shot went past Quick a split-second after the horn sounded.
      Couturier said the Flyers should feel fortunate to get something out of this game.
      “We didn’t play our best game,’’ he said. “Stolie was there to shut the door and gave us a chance to win. But we have to be better in front of him.’’
      Stolarz hadn’t played since a 1-0 shutout win at Madison Square Garden 10 days ago but managed to allow only two goals in regulation time.
      “At this stage, we’re going to need two-point games,’’ he said. “We’re going to start playing in our division and there are going to be four-point swings. We’re just going to have to bear down. We got the point, we’re happy with that but at the end of the day we’re not totally satisfied.’’
      Coach Scott Gordon said his team didn’t show enough at the start to really justify a better ending.
      “I don’t think anybody liked the first period, obviously,’’ he said. “I thought the first half of it was OK. Then the last half, we started playing slowly. Just real sloppy play.’’
      Added Gostisbehere: “It’s tough. It wasn’t our best game tonight. Stolie really kept us in it for sure. We still got a point out of it, we’re still moving forward.’’
      >Short shots
      The Flyers resume action on Saturday when they host the Anaheim Ducks in an afternoon game. . .Over the past nine games, the Flyers have been outshot eight times. Their only exception was last Thursday’s win at Boston. . .The Flyers are only the fourth team in this century to have both an eight-game winning streak and an eight-game winless streak in the same season. The others: Jackets, 2015; Sharks, 2006; Capitals, 2001. . .The Flyers did not take a penalty, the second time this season (and fifth time in history) they managed to stay out of the box the entire game.

 

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 629 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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