Las Vegas has the best chance early as a quick transition from the Knights required a dandy save from Carter Hart on Shea Theodore just under five minutes in. Vegas’ speed —their calling card—was evident early on in transition.
At the other end Marc-Andre Fleury would top Hart with multiple saves off a Flyers rush, denying James van Riemsdyk point-blank to keep things scoreless with just over 12 minutes left in the first. The puck was loose, but somehow Fleury recovered before Kevin Hayes could find the rebound in the crease.
Not long after that chance the Flyers would breakthrough against the man they call Flower.
Claude Giroux found the open area in front of the crease and Jakub Voracek hit him with a perfect pass to make it 1-0 Flyers with 12:27 left.
Giroux puts the Flyers up early! pic.twitter.com/wqiitiUi80— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 3, 2020
Vegas would provide a response with Theodore beating Hart to tie things right up at 1-1 about a minute after Giroux’s opener.
Not only would they tie things up, they’d grab a 2-1 lead with Sean Couturier in the box for slashing as Max Pacioretty scored 1:26 later. That’s now four-consecutive power play goals given up by the Flyers’ once-solid penalty kill.
The Golden Knights just kept coming at the Flyers, and the result was another puck behind Hart as Jon Merrill stuffed one home to make it 3-1 with 8:33 left.
Scott Laughton’s hustle would earn him a penalty shot with 6:37 remaining, but Fleury wasn’t buying what Scoot’s was selling on the deke to keep the Flyers down by two.
But what Laughton couldn’t do Travis Konecny, sure could, as he turned around Nate Schmidt and beat Fleury to pull the Flyers within one at 3-2. The first-time NHL All-Star’s 12th of the season was a beauty, too.
Travis "All-Star" Konecny with a great individual effort for the goal! pic.twitter.com/uvLXyE4xc0— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 3, 2020
Vegas would get it right back though, as Pacioretty cruised in and beat Hart five-hole to push the lead to 4-2 late in the first as the Flyers’ defense could not deal with the speed and aggressiveness of the Knights.
The Flyers seemed to find their skating legs a bit during the start of the second, a small feat considering how the back end of the first period went.
But the momentum would be short-lived as the Knights would extend their lead midway through the period as Cody Glass beat Hart to make it 5-2. Not ideal, folks.
Couturier would get one back, pouncing on a Fleury rebound out in front to pull the Flyers back within two at 5-3 with plenty of time left in a wide-open affair from Sin City.
Couturier capitalizes on the rebound. pic.twitter.com/Ava6dSnyAU— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 3, 2020
Down to headed to the third, the Flyers needed a big effort to try and earn some points even with a few ticks left on a carryover power play.
They’d get right to it, though, as Couturier potted his second of the night just 15 seconds in to pull the Flyers within one at 5-4. It’s his 12th of the season as well, with helpers to Giroux and Ivan Provorov.
Couturier gets his second of the night! pic.twitter.com/g9v2z7mHYS— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 3, 2020
Needing some saves to aid the comeback, Hart came up with a pair of dandies as the Knights began to push back after Couturier’s tally early in the period. He’d flash the glove hand on Reilly Smith a little after, showing a nice bounce back from his earlier struggles.
Carter Hart flashes the leather on Reilly Smith. pic.twitter.com/nkQA2tQNIe— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 3, 2020
Giroux had a rising wrist shot with reservations for his second of the night, but Fleury’s glove hand was there to deny the captain with a little over six minutes renaming.
With 2:46 left the Flyers would get a gift with Smith off for a delay of game and a power play to try and nod things up late. Fleury would deny Giroux again, coming across the crease to get a piece of another scoring chance.
Hart would depart to the bench with 1:54 left as the Flyers went for the two-man advantage with an offensive zone draw. Vegas would pickup another penalty, giving the Flyers a three-man advantage with 1:29 left.
The three-man advantage wouldn’t work as the Flyers wouldn’t find an equalizer, falling by a final of 5-4 in Vegas.