The result wasn’t what the Flyers wanted but the effort against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night certainly was encouraging.
Philadelphia held its own against a Western Conference powerhouse before dropping a 5-4 overtime decision at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The Stars’ Joe Pavelski beat Sean Couturier on a faceoff, then went to the net and scored the game-winner at 2:12 of overtime. The Flyers did come away with a hard-earned point.
The Flyers (3-1-1) scored an amazing three shorthanded goals in this game, two on the same power play in the third period which tied the score at 4-4. Travis Konecny had two of the shorthanded goals; defenseman Sean Walker added the other (the second straight game he has scored shorthanded).
Trailing 4-2, Konecny scored at 11:58 off an assist from Travis Sanheim. Then Walker dashed in and buried a shot just 47 seconds later.
The Flyers showed some fortitude with their late comeback.
“I think as a group we stuck with it,” said Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim. “We found a way to get a point, a pretty big point. We battled hard.”
Coach John Tortorella acknowledged his team showed some grit with the two shorthanded-goal comeback.
“We stayed with it,” he said. “I would have liked to get both points but at the end of the game we handled some momentum swings, found a way to get back in the game and tie it.
“Some of our young guys, we play Edmonton, Dallas and (next) Vegas. Those are probably three of the best teams in the league. So they’re getting some good looks at the National Hockey League. We were coming back all night long, never really had the lead. I really like the way our team handled itself.”
After falling behind by a 2-0 score, the Flyers came alive in the second half of the first period and managed to get to the first intermission with a 2-2 tie.
The comeback started with a goal from Joel Farabee by way of another creative pass from Bobby Brink. Noah Cates fired a shot on Dallas goalie Scott Wedgewood and Brink jumped on the rebound. Instead of shooting, Brink passed to Farabee for a putaway goal at 10:12.
In four career games against Wedgewood, Farabee has four goals.
The Flyers tied it on a shorthanded goal by Konecny. Again, Cates figured in the play. He intercepted a pass and sent Konecny free for a breakaway goal at 16:36. It was the second straight game the Flyers scored shorthanded. Walker had one against Edmonton on Thursday night.
The tie didn’t last long. The Stars needed just a half-minute into the second period to retake the lead. Roope Hintz skated into the right circle and beat goalie Sam Ersson far side.
Dallas raced to its two-goal lead on a goal by Wyatt Johnston connected from the left circle at 4:02. Then the Stars scored again at 7:52. Tyler Seguin had a shot hit him while standing near Ersson. The puck fell to the ice and the Star beat the goalie to the puck, sending it in from just a few feet away.
That’s when there was some regrouping to do as the Flyers relied on their leadership to reinforce the message to keep playing their game.
“I think it was the leaders on our team,” Farabee said during a first intermission televised interview. “It was ‘Coots’ (Sean Couturier), ‘Laughts’ (Scott Laughton) just told everyone to calm down and get back to our game. That’s really what we did. We had a couple good shifts five-on-five, got some pucks to the net and created some chaos and got a goal there.”
Brink continues to impress with his solid play.
“Dog,” Farabee said with a laugh in describing Brink’s play. Presumably he was alluding to “dogged.”
“I just think that last 10 minutes was really good,” Farabee said. “Getting a goal on the PK gives us a little bit of momentum. I just think we have to keep playing below the goal line.”
The three shorthanded goals by the Flyers were an NHL first since 2013. The last time the Flyers scored three shorthanded goals was 1996.
Morgan Frost was benched for a third straight game. . .Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen sat out his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . .Due to Marc Staal’s injury on Thursday night, he was scratched. Egor Zamula returned to the lineup in his place. . .The Flyers are off until Tuesday when they visit the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights. Break out the coffee because it’s an 11 p.m. Eastern time start. . ..Regular starting goalie Carter Hart was given a complete night off. Ersson was backed up by Felix Sandstrom. . .Scott Laughton liked the way the Flyers approached this game. “We were hungry on pucks,” Laughton said during the second intermission. “Winning a lot of board battles. They scored on the first shift (of the second period) but we didn’t stray away from our game. That’s been kind of our theme this year – don’t get too high or too low.” … Couturier entered the game leading the NHL in plus/minus statistics with a plus-7. . .After giving up the early two goals, Ersson settled down and played much better, turning away a handful of Dallas quality chances.