Golden Knights 3, Flyers 2: One heartbreak after another

Why couldn’t we have gotten 2012 playoffs Marc-Andre Fleury?

1st Period

The Flyers had many of the early chances in this one, taking the puck off of the Golden Knights almost as soon as they entered the Flyers’ zone and breaking the puck out cleanly. Vegas would however get the first power play of the game with a too many men penalty issued to the Flyers. Dave Hakstol actually showed emotion with the call, how about that!

Petr Mrazek and crew did a phenomenal job for much of the penalty kill, until Erik Haula fired a sharp angle shot that deflected off of Mrazek’s stick and in the net, womp womp, Vegas leads 1-0.

After a few miscues in their own zone, the Flyers were able to draw a penalty as Shea Theodore hooked Claude Giroux en route to the net, giving the Flyers their first man advantage of the game.

The Flyers would not score, however, seemingly not being able to truly set up the entire two minutes. There was also, uh ... whatever the hell you would like to call this sequence.

The chances continued to pile up for the Flyers in the first period and many coming from the second line. Oskar Lindblom may just be the most snakebitten player in the NHL right now, and he’s on the same team as Sean Couturier. Sean, get your 30th, and Oskar would you please just score your first already? Lindblom has been so close with deflections and rebounds in front, sooner or later playing with Patrick and Voracek he’s gonna get one.

Something that was especially noticeable in the first was the goalies’ aggressiveness in playing the puck, which ended up almost hurting them more often than helping them. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that there’s going to be a goal off of a goalie misplay at some point?

Well, that’ll have to wait for the last two periods. Vegas holds onto their 1-0 lead after one. The Flyers held the edge in CF by a mark of 18-12. The Patrick line stood out as the best line of the period, wouldn’t be surprised to see them get on the scoresheet tonight. Something the Flyers will need to work on for the second is generating more offense down low. Their point shots have been fairly effective with getting traffic in front, and while Vegas’ goal was a fluke, they scored it by getting a shot from down low.

1st Period Gameflow / Heatmap

2nd Period

Alright solid start to the second period nice shift from the Filppula line that’s a surprise—OH MY LORD WHAT A SNIPE FROM GIROUX.

Valtteri Filppula’s line (mostly Raffl and Simmonds) did a great job hemming the Golden Knights’ defense in their own zone and then the first line stepped out. Claude Giroux came storming down the wing and fired one by Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game at one.

So then Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put this hit on Nolan Patrick.

Patrick would stay on the bench for a moment but would shortly head down the tunnel presumedly for concussion protocol. Needless to say all of us are holding our collective breaths and trying not to freak out. (We’re freaking out)

The Flyers would then head to the power play yet again looking to take the lead and NOLAN IS BACK (/deep exhale).

Unfortunately, the Flyers were yet again unable to take advantage of the power play and the game remains tied at one. The power play going dry as they continue to push towards the playoffs is less than ideal. Absolutely a must for the Flyers to fix over the remaining few weeks.

Neither team would really control play throughout the second. Even when the Flyers were unable to get much going on offense, Vegas wasn’t exactly dominating them.

The Flyers began to gain more control later in the period and ... man, what does Oskar Lindblom have to do for a goal? With just under three minutes remaining a rebound popped right to Lindblom, point blank scoring chance, and Fleury made the save. Puck luck is very much so not on his side right now.

After another late surge by the Flyers, the second period ends with the game tied at one. They still hold a convincing lead in CF with a margin of 37-26. They had a strong period in generating scoring chances leading Vegas 11-6 and high danger chances, 5-1. As seen by the heatmap below, they improved their shot selection a lot in the second. Patrick’s line continues to dominate, and the pairing of Travis Sanheim and Andrew MacDonald lead the way on defense.

2nd Period Gameflow / Heatmap

3rd Period

Travis Sanheim got the final period’s first good scoring chance after a beautiful pass by Sean Couturier. Couturier found the rookie defenseman in the slot and Fleury absolutely robbed Sanheim with the glove. Of course afterwards, Sanheim took a high sticking penalty and Vegas would go back to the power play.

Giroux would get a partial shorthanded breakaway, but two Golden Knights were able to impede the captain enough to force a weak shot that was stopped by Fleury. After a big rebound given up by Mrazek, William “Wild Bill” Karlsson would bury it into basically an empty net to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.

Shortly after Jake Voracek would draw a hooking penalty as he danced to the slot, setting the Flyers up for a huge power play and a chance to tie the game right back up and that’s exactly what they did. Voracek found Wayne Simmonds down low and The Best Wayne to Ever Play Hockey does what he does best, score on the power play. Game tied with just over 12 minutes to play in the final period.

Then the man who gave Vegas the lead tripped Shayne Gostisbehere, giving the Flyers another huge opportunity to take the lead now. Despite spending most of the power play in the offensive zone, the Flyers were unable to capitalize on the man advantage and Vegas came away with a huge penalty kill.

After chances from both teams for most of the period, Vegas was able to do what they’ve done all year, win puck battles. The Flyers were unable to clear as they seemingly always struggle with, and Ryan Carpenter (who??) beat Mrazek as Andrew MacDonald screened his own goalie.

For some reason, as the Flyers got the extra attacker on their method of getting the puck into the zone was ... dumping it in? This is something that’s been frustrating while they’re on the power play but wow is it even more frustrating when you’re trying to tie the game late. Vegas would go on to hold on despite some solid chances late, another heartbreaking loss.

Final Gameflow / Heatmap