Flyers rally late but fall in overtime, 3-2

The Flyers' Zack MacEwen
       It’s tough enough defeating a good team such as the Minnesota Wild with a full complement of 12 forwards.
      But when two of those position players are lost barely halfway through the game, it makes the task that much more challenging.
      Such was the dilemma facing the Flyers on Thursday night in the Twin Cities.
      The Flyers had to play a good portion of the game without the services of Zack MacEwen, who was injured in a fight, and Wade Allison (blocking a shot with his leg), leaving Philadelphia with only 10 forwards.
      Even with a depleted line-up, the Flyers managed to tie the score at 2-2 on Tony DeAngelo’s goal with 1:28 to play in regulation time.
      But in overtime, Mats Zuccarello zoomed past Travis Konecny and scored at 2:08 to hand the Flyers their third straight loss, a 3-2 decision at Xcel Energy Center. The Flyers fell to 1-8 in overtime for the season.
      Matt Boldy’s second goal of the game at 4:48 of the third period gave the Wild a 2-1 lead.
      With Scott Laughton in the penalty box, Boldy finished off a feed from Kirill Kaprizov, lifting a shot past Flyers netminder Carter Hart.
      DeAngelo tied it after the Flyers pulled Hart. The defenseman took a feed from Kevin Hayes and scored from close range.
      Philadelphia reached the scoreboard first in this one, with Stillwater, Minnesota native Noah Cates exciting about 50 family members and friends in attendance.
      Minnesota couldn’t clear the puck along the half-wall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen fired from the point. The puck deflected off Cates and under goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 5:14.
      “Obviously it’s pretty special, having grown up playing here, through high school and college,’’ Cates said at the first intermission in an interview broadcast by ESPN. “Last year, my first game here we counted over 150. A little less than the debut but still something special.”
      Although the Flyers and Wild don’t even play in the same conference, they acted like they reside in the same division in the first 23 minutes of this affair.
      Three fights in the first period and another early in the second made it feel like there was some unlikely bad blood between the two teams.
      It started early with the Flyers’ Nick Deslauriers and Minnesota’s Ryan Reaves trading some heavyweight punches (although few landed) at 9:56.
      Just 15 seconds later, Allison took on the Wild’s Mason Shaw. That one ended quickly with both players tumbling to the ice.
      On the ensuing faceoff, MacEwen and Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno went to blows. At 2:45 of the second period, Patrick Brown of the Flyers held his own against the home team’s Brandon Duhaime.
      The multiple skirmishes took their toll on the Flyers. MacEwen appeared to have suffered an injury to his jaw in the fight with Foligno and did not return to action.
      Also, Allison left the game midway through the second period after getting in the way of a Minnesota blast.
      Boldy tied the score at 3:39. Cam York nearly blocked Foligno’s feed but the puck slid across the slot and Boldy poked a shot past Hart.
      >Short shots
      The Flyers head to Winnipeg for a Saturday night game against the Jets, a team they just lost to last Sunday night in Philadelphia. After that comes a week off for the league’s winter break and the NHL All-Star Game. . .Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny rank #1 and 2 in the NHL in shorthanded points. Laughton has seven, Konecny six. It’s the first time since the 2010-11 season that Flyers teammates have has as many as five shorthanded points in a season (Claude Giroux, 7; Mike Richards, 6).
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About Wayne Fish 2446 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.