The Flyers erased a two-goal deficit late in the third period thanks to a pair of Travis Sanheim goals to force overtime, but Seth Jones scored the winner just 10 seconds into the extra frame to give Columbus the win and the extra point on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Anthony Stolarz made 26 saves on 30 shots in the losing effort, keeping the Flyers competitive for most of the game while the Blue Jackets piled up the shots and chances before Sanheim’s heroics. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist and Travis Konecny chipped in two assists to lead the Flyers, who didn’t get much help outside of the four men already mentioned.
The Chuck Fletcher era is off to an 0-1 start, folks.
Good couple chances early for each team, with Travis Konecny testing Sergei Bobrovsky first then Anthony Stolarz stoning Oliver Bjorkstrand at the other end.
On an ensuing Flyers power play it would Stolarz counted on to make another big save, this one on Cam Atkinson, armed with a partial breakaway.
That would prove to be a massive stop as Claude Giroux would give the Flyers the 1-0 lead, taking the shot on a 2-on-1 and beating his former teammate high to the glove side. It’s his 10th of the season with assists to Konecny and Sean Couturier.
What a snipe by the captain. pic.twitter.com/9bbuJTVtKJ— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 7, 2018
The lead would be short-lived, though, as Seth Jones would even things up at 1-1 just 1:08 later. The Blue Jackets had a quick developing rush and Jones’ shot seemed to fool Stolarz, who was expected a pass on the play.
With 10:09 left in the period Jori Lehtera would put the Blue Jackets on the power play with an illegal contact to the head penalty for using his elbow to try and decapitate Bjorkstrand near center ice. Thanks to a flashy glove save from Stolarz on Artemi Panarin, the Flyers would kill off their eighth-straight penalty.
With 1:52 left in the first the Blue Jackets would grab their first lead of the game at 2-1 thanks to a Brandon Dubinsky deflection. Scott Harrington put the point shot on net and Dubinsky got his stick on it and past Stolarz as the visitors were rewarded for carrying play following Giroux’s opening goal.
Sean Couturier nearly had a quick answer for the Flyers, getting a lucky bounce off Seth Jones’ stick and up and over Bobrovsky to nod things up at 1-1 with 1:12 left. But the play was ruled offsides after a challenge from John Tortorella and the Columbus bench.
After 20: BJ’s 2, Flyers 1
After a couple early chances to start the period without finding an equalizer, Scott Laughton would send the Flyers back to the penalty kill for a third time just under four minutes in.
On the ensuing penalty kill, Stolarz channeled his inner Roman Cechmanek, using his mask to send a Seth Jones shot up and over the glass to aid the kill. It was the Flyers’ 10th consecutive successful penalty kill, a once unthinkable feat.
Radko Gudas would continue the parade of Flyers to the penalty box, taking a slashing call with 11:30 left in the frame. The parade of penalties really stunted any momentum the Flyers built up early in the game before and after Giroux’s goal.
But while the team in front of him sagged, Stolarz continued to keep the Flyers in the game. This time it was a pair of stops on Riley Nash to keep the score at 2-1 just after halfway through the period.
Like clockwork, a few stops by Stolarz would be followed by what else —another Flyers penalty, this one to Laughton for roughing. With yet another successful Columbus power play, perhaps the refs would get around to giving the Flyers a few chances.
Giroux nearly potted the tying goal off a Blue Jackets turnover with 4:21 left in the frame, but the shot flipped just over the net and Bobrovsky’s glove. Not long after the captain would earn a power play for his club with Jones going to the box.
Though that power play wouldn’t result in much, Andrew MacDonald would earn the Flyers another one right after getting tripped after a nice keep at the blue line. There were just 30 seconds left in the second, so the Flyers would have 1:30 of carryover to the third on the man-advantage.
After 40: BJ’s 2, Flyers 1
The Flyers had a golden chance to even things up on the power play to start the third, but the refs blew the whistle early while the puck was loose in the Blue Jackets’ crease to deny Wayne Simmonds. Of course, nothing would be doing the rest of the way as the Flyers squandered yet another chance to even the game.
Giroux and Konecny would break in on another 2-on-1, but this time Giroux passed off to Konecny who was bested by Bobrovsky. A follow up chance on a Giroux should couldn’t be corralled for a rebound chance from Konecny as the Flyers pushed back to start the third.
But Columbus would be next on the scoreboard, as Boone Jenner picked up a loose puck around the right circle and fired one towards the net and off the stick of Josh Anderson to make it 3-1 Blue Jackets.
Travis Sanheim would bring the Flyers back within one, going to the backhand to beat Bobrovsky off a nice feed from Giroux to make it 3-2 with 7:35 remaining. The defenseman jumped into the play and slid the puck in the net like a seasoned goal scorer, though it’s his first of the season.
Sanheim strikes off the rush! pic.twitter.com/Wjsm5UCSOy— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 7, 2018
But Sanheim wasn’t done just yet! The defenseman joined the rush again and fired one over Bobrovsky’s shoulder to tie things up at 3-3 with 5:31 left. His two goals in just over two minutes brought the Flyers all the way back.
An absolute laser of a shot from Sanheim ties the game. pic.twitter.com/Is8aQbE2fc— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 7, 2018
Wayne Simmonds almost gave the Flyers the lead under two minutes left, but Bobrovsky came up with a point-blank save to preserve the tie. That would be the final chance as overtime would be needed to decide it.
After 60: Flyers 3, BJ’s 3
Just 10 seconds of extra time was needed as Seth Jones would jump on a Sean Couturier turnover in the Flyers’ zone to bury the game-winner and give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win and the extra point.
Final: BJ’s 4, Flyers 3