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Jets 3, Flyers 2: Shootout blues continue

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Flyers can’t hold two-goal lead, lose in dreaded skills competition.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers’ scoring drought would end, but their losing streak would not as they fell to the Jets by a 3-2 final in a shootout on Thursday night in Winnipeg.

Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier potted early first period goals, but the Flyers were unable to make the 2-0 lead count as the Jets would tie things up with under a minute left to force extra time and eventually win on the strength of a Bryan Little goal in the fourth round of the shootout.

Both goalies were the story in this one as Brian Elliott stopped 31 of 33 shots for the Flyers and Connor Hellebuyck was just as good for the Jets in stopping 30 of 32 shots to get the win.

The Flyers’ scoring drought would end early as Jake Voracek would light the lamp for the first time in seven periods just 2:27 into the first. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier picked up the assists on Voracek’s fifth of the year.

Suddenly an offensive juggernaut after nearly two games of scoreless hockey, Sean Couturier would stuff home a rebound in front on the power play to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. It was also the Flyers’ first power play goal in three games.

The top power play unit set up after a Dustin Byfuglien penalty and worked the puck around down low to Wayne Simmonds, who was stopped only to see Couturier pound home the rebound for his 11th goal of the season.

Staked a 2-0 lead, Brian Elliott would be called on as the potent Jets power play got a chance with Scott Laughton in the box with 11 minutes left. The veteran would help the penalty kill with a pair of dandy saves on Patrik Laine and Joel Armia.

On the same penalty kill Radko Gudas would be assessed a game misconduct for slashing Mathieu Perreault, leaving the Flyers with five defenseman for the final two and a half periods. It also put the Jets on a more than three minute power play that they could score at will on due to the major.

With 40 seconds left in the major Brian Elliott would come up with a huge stop on Bryan Little, coming across right to left to keep the Flyers ahead 2-0. It was just the latest in a run of great saves from Elliott in the past few games.

The Flyers would go to an early power play to start the second looking for another goal, but were turned away as Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside a couple good scoring from Couturier as the first unit again buzzed.

An ensuing power play at the 5:12 mark for the Jets turned up a pair of good chances that were again turned away by the Flyers netminder. First it Tyler Myers, then it was Little, as Elliott was at the center of the Flyers’ fourth successful penalty kill of the game.

With 6:55 left in the second a quick-developing two-on-one for the Jets ended with a Mathieu Perreault goal to cut the Flyers’ lead to 2-1. It was Perreault’s second goal of the season and assisted by Joel Armia and Tyler Myers. Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim was unable to get the puck deep off a face off and the puck ended up in the Flyers net at the other end.

Brian Elliott came up with another huge save as he robbed Mark Scheifele in close with just 1:10 left in the second to preserve the Flyers’ 2-1 lead heading to the intermission. The Jets’ leading goal scorer got free in front of the Flyers crease but was unable to beat Elliott.

A sleepy start to the third was highlighted by another sprawling save from Elliott as he took a sure goal away from Andrew Copp as the Jets searched for an equalizer.

Wayne Simmonds would put the Jets’ dangerous power play on with 14:19 left after he cross-checked Nikolaj Ehlers at center ice. The Flyers would kill it off thanks to a couple shot blocks and active sticks deflecting away Jets passes to setup a chance to protect a lead with 12 minutes left in regulation.

With the Flyers back on the power play just after the Couturier chance it was Hellebuyck surviving a shooting gallery, starting with a nice pad save on Giroux and then watching his defense block a pair of Shayne Gostisbehere howitzers from the point.

Then it was Brian Elliott’s turn at the other end to come up with a massive save, again robbing Copp in tight with a glove save with 4:26 remaining. Safe to say that Copp will be seeing the Flyers’ goalie in his nightmares as Elliott made a highlight reel of saves on Copp in this one.

With the net empty and 48 seconds left the Jets would finally tie things up at 2-2 on a Mark Scheifele goal off a beautiful feed from Blake Wheeler. The Flyers had done a nice job keeping the Jets from being able to pull their goalie, but Winnipeg was able to gain zone control and setup behind the goal line to create the tying goal.

In the always entertaining three-on-three overtime session play was helter-skelter as both the Jets and Flyers traded early chances to no avail through the first few minutes. The best of those chances for the Jets came with 2:28 left as Wheeler broke in pas the defense but wasn’t able to slip the puck past Elliott. At the other end it was Wayne Simmonds breaking in and nearly ending it for the Flyers, but again it was stellar goaltending preventing an ending.

The Flyers would then take a too many men on the ice penalty with 1:05 left in the extra session to setup the Jets with a golden chance to end things. Instead, the Jets would take a penalty of their own with 18 seconds left to push things to even strength and eventually to a shootout.

In the shootout it was the Jets who would prevail in four rounds on the weight of a Bryan Little goal that Brian Elliott got a piece of. Travis Konecny was unable to answer for the Flyers to push the shootout to a fifth round as the Jets took this one by a 3-2 final.