Flyers rally late but lose to Tampa Bay in shootout

Claude Giroux

PHILADELPHIA – If you are going to beat the best, you have to play your best for the full 60 minutes. . .and then some. The Flyers did that.

Claude Giroux’s goal with 8.1 seconds to play tied Thursday night’s game at 3-3 but the Flyers went on to lose a 4-3 shootout verdict to defending champion Tampa Bay at the Wells Fargo Center.

Tampa’s Steven Stamkos scored on a wide-angle shot past Carter Hart with 1:56 to play to put Tampa ahead. But Giroux countered to send the game to OT. Tampa took the shootout, 2-0.

The Flyers held the Bolts to just one shot for the first 18 minutes of the third period so there were some positives to take from this game.

Travis Konecny saw the one point as a positive one.

“By the way it finished it was definitely a point game,’’ Konecny said. “The game was pretty much over until ‘G’ made that play. A point is a point. They are a good team but we played a good game.’’

Coach Alain Vigneault liked the way his team battled in the third.

Game on the line our best period was the third,’’ he said. “We played extremely well, had some great looks. It was a great faceoff play and ‘G’ was able to find the back of the net.’’

Giroux was satisfied with his team’s effort against the reigning champs.

“I think the third was our best period,’’ he said. “We were on our toes. Getting that one point was pretty big. I think we just had that feeling that we were finding our game. When you play a team like Tampa you know you have to be responsible. For us, it was minimizing their chances.’’

Despite getting outshot in the first period by a 13-5 margin, the Flyers took a 2-0 lead on goals by Giroux and Travis Konecny.

Before the game, coach Alain Vigneault had to make some adjustments to his lineup. Kevin Hayes, who was banged up in Tuesday night’s game against Calgary, was scratched. Hayes is dealing with the aftermath of preseason abdominal surgery.

“I’ll probably know more in 48 to 72 hours,’’ Vigneault said.

So the Flyers called up Max Willman from the Phantoms and he played on the fourth line with Nate Thompson and Zach MacEwen.

Giroux scored just 1:28 into the game. Derick Brassard spotted Giroux breaking up the middle and the captain deked his way past goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for his sixth goal of the season.

Konecny made it 2-0 at 10:21 on an unassisted goal. He picked up a loose puck at center ice, broke down the right side and scored from the circle.

“I think a lot of times, on any goalie, it’s those areas where it’s hard to get to which is usually above the pad,’’ Konecny said. “It’s pretty cliché where you hear everybody say it’s a hard spot to shoot but it is. For a big guy like him, he’s so tall and it’s hard for him to get down. Honestly I was trying to shoot for a little bit of a rebound and it worked out.’’

Tampa cut the lead in half on a power-play goal by Brayden Point at 1:51 of the second period. Later, Mathieu Joseph connected on a tap-in to tie the score at 2-2.

On the Stamkos goal, Hart said he was a victim of equipment failure.

“I wouldn’t play that any different, kind of an equipment malfunction there,’’ he said. “I was on my post, not leaning over too far. Those pads are new, you expect that (failure) from an older set. Kind of fluky and something I will look into.’’


>Shootouts still a disaster


The Flyers shootout loss dropped their alltime record to 53-94 for a lousy percentage of .361. That’s the worst in NHL history. Florida is 30th at .418.



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About Wayne Fish 2473 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.