Flyers hit power-play jackpot in a 4-3 OT win vs. the Golden Knights
Entering Saturday’s matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights, some wondered if the Flyers could decline a power play.
Instead, they finally hit the power-play jackpot ina 4-3 overtime win against the defending Stanley Cup champion at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have now won four straight.
“I think for us right now, we’re just taking things one day at a time, one game at a time, not looking too far ahead, not looking back,” goalie Carter Hart said. “Everybody’s working hard, everybody’s doing their job and everybody’s supporting each other.”
Before Sean Couturier scored the game-winner 1 minute into the extra session, Owen Tippett scored on a power play in the opening frame with a snipe in the slot after a point shot by Travis Sanheim inadvertently went off Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb in front. Tyson Foerster then added one in the opening minute of the second period after another Sanheim point shot went off the end boards and back to him in front.
Maybe what the power play needed was a guy who entered the game red-hot and another who was doing everything right but scoring.
“Finally,” Couturier said about the power play breaking through. “But we just got to keep building on that. We had some good looks; we finished plays. I thought we were a little hungrier than maybe last couple of games. We just have to have that hungry mentality and killer instinct.”
Tippett has scored in four straight games, including a two-goal effort in a 6-3 win against the Ducks on Nov. 10. Saturday marked his first power-play goal this season after notching eight in 2022-23.
Foerster entered the game still looking for his first goal of the season and finally cashed in. He nicked the puck as it zinged past him in front before he scored off the inside of the far post.
“It’s huge, but I don’t think it’s necessarily all about the score sheet and stuff,” Foerster said. “We’ve been winning the last couple of games because we’re playing hard.”
Eight games. A big 0-for-26 in power plays. But then there were two.
Getting off the schneid was a big relief, but it didn’t solve all the Flyers woes.
They got five shots on goal but couldn’t bury anything during a five-minute major that was assessed to Golden Knights’ Chandler Stephenson for cross-checking Garnet Hathaway up high. Hathaway bumped Mark Stone into the net after the whistle in the second period and Stephenson took exception. He also was given a game misconduct.
They also had a chance to take a 4-3 lead late in the third when winger Paul Cotter was called for tripping at 17:17. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
On the flip side, the penalty kill got its work in too. After Sean Walker, who scored to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead, took a minor for holding at 17:05 in the second period, Travis Konecny added his own holding minor 48 seconds later. And 42 seconds later, Scott Laughton got called for cross-checking.
The Flyers held the Golden Knights to one power-play goal despite Vegas’ almost four-minute two-man advantage. Vegas entered the game tied for ninth in the NHL on the power play and scored on the 5-on-3, a shot by Jonathan Marchessault from the left circle with Stone standing on the doorstep. It was Marchessault’s second of the game after he scored on a nifty spinning backhander that beat Hart in the five-hole at even strength.
Entering the game, the Orange and Black were 41 for 51 (80.4%) on the penalty kill. They went 3-for-4 on Saturday, including killing two penalties in the third.
“Special teams were really big tonight,” Hart said. “Our power play has been working hard in practice and found a way to get a couple of big goals. Then on the other side, on the PK, obviously, they get the 5-on-3 goal and make a good play but we take a couple more penalties even after that, and our kill does a really good job of not letting them establish their power play and get set up.”
Ace in the hole
Head coach John Tortorella has talked about his team needing to weather storms and deal with momentum swings. It doesn’t hurt when you have a hot goalie. In the opening frame, Hart came up big as his teammates started off the matinee a little sluggish. Vegas had six high-danger chances in the first period, according to Natural Stat Trick.
“He definitely gives us a chance at the beginning of the game,” Tortorella said. “That’s two games in a row he’s let us get settled. He’s been outstanding. ... But Carter, third period, he makes a couple of huge saves to get us the point, to get us to where we can play some 3-on-3. He’s done it all year.”
Hart stoned Ivan Barbashev on a breakaway just 74 seconds into the game. Then, 42 seconds later, he stopped Brett Howden streaking down the left side after a neutral zone turnover before making another save on the 25-year-old forward when he was open inside the top of the left circle and ripped a quick shot. Hart also was locked in late, stopping William Karlsson — who already had a goal in the game — while shorthanded in the third and Jack Eichel in overtime.
Hart missed five games — three with a back injury and two with food poisoning — but has shown zero rust. He made 31 saves in a 3-1 win against the Hurricanes in Carolina on Wednesday and another 28 on Saturday.
“They came out hard; we responded well,” Couturier said. “Hartsy was there when we needed him, even on the kills there, made some big saves. It was a full team effort.”
Couturier said he was actually trying to pass the puck to an open Konecny in front on his OT goal. He has a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists). ... The Flyers now have 24 first-period goals this season. ... Nick Seeler made a big-time block late in the third but appeared to take it off his left arm. He skated to the bench hunched over and got a couple of helmet taps after the whistle from Hart, Tippett, and Egor Zamula. Seeler stayed on the bench and finished with a team-high five blocks. The Flyers had 26. ... Cam Atkinson, Konecny, and Sanheim wore neck guards for the first time in a game. ... Forward Bobby Brink took part in warm-up but, as Tortorella said on Friday, did not dress. ... Defenseman Marc Staal, who Tortorella said was good to go on Friday, did not dress. He could slot in on Sunday.
The Flyers finish off a weekend set on Sunday against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets (5:30 p.m., NBCSP+).