The Hat Trick: Flyers lose to Canucks in shootout

Flyers Canucks Hockey
Philadelphia Flyers’ Carsen Twarynski (81) celebrates his goal with Scott Laughton (21) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Ben Nelms/The Canadian Press via AP)

History has a way of repeating itself. It’s specifically a great way to analyze the probability of an outcome of a game in specific scenarios. The Philadelphia Flyers have a stomach-wrenching history when games boil down to a shootout. Bleeding orange and black, the fanbase stayed up until just about one o’clock in the morning on Sunday to see if the Flyers could keep their winning ways alive as they traveled to battle the Vancouver Canucks. In the end, the final score would be the predicted 3-2 that I noted in my previous article, just that the shoe was on the wrong foot.

Early into the first period, the Vancouver Canucks were setting up a forecheck on offense in the attacking zone. Chris Tanev took the shot from the blue line in traffic, which allowed Elias Pettersson to follow up with a second effort shot on goal. Carter Hart made the save, but was unable to control the rebound, leaving the left side of the net open for Brock Boeser to slide in and shoot the puck home to score the first goal of the game. Within the first five minutes of the game, the Canucks had the Philadelphia Flyers back on their heels, which is unfamiliar territory for them this season.

After the first intermission and into the second period, the Philadelphia Flyers found a way to get themselves back into the game relatively early. Carsen Twarynski scores his first career NHL goal, flashing down the left-wing and shooting a wrist shot past Jacob Markstrom. As he got the shot away, Twarynski was knocked down and the boards stopped his momentum, but that wasn’t going to stop the rookie from celebrating his career milestone. One minute and thirteen seconds later, the Vancouver Canucks reclaimed the lead when Tanner Pearson deflected a shot from the blue line from Chris Tanev. That would account for Tanev’s second assist of the game and Pearson’s first goal of the night.

Late into the third period, the Philadelphia Flyers went on the powerplay after Jordie Benn was sent to the penalty box for a two-minute minor interference penalty. This was detrimental to the Vancouver Canucks in regulation because for the third game this season, the Flyers found a way to make the powerplay unit count. Travis Konecny was handling the puck in the slot but used his great vision to find Oskar Lindblom stationed and ready to deploy a shot on net. Off a beautiful pass, Lindblom pulled the trigger on the one-timer and tied the game, 2-2.

Now Sunday at this point in the evening in Philadelphia, this game was headed to a three-on-three overtime period. The tension was high and I’m wired, thinking that not only could the Philadelphia Flyers get the win, but I could be right on the money with my score prediction. The penalty kill came up big in the overtime period for the Flyers when Sean Couturier was penalized for throwing his stick, which was a two-minute minor. I thought this call was one that wasn’t intentional, considering that fell to the ice, attempting to slow down a breakaway. As Couturier made an impact with the ice, the stick did come out of his hand, but it didn’t appear that there was a throwing motion.

It all came down to a shootout, the Philadelphia Flyers kryptonite. Both Jacob Markstrom and Carter Hart avoided being scored on with the first set of shooters that they faced. Next, Elias Pettersson changed speeds and snuck a wrist shot on the left side of Hart for the first goal. Second for the Flyers was Claude Giroux, who converted his opportunity against Markstrom. In the third and final pair of shooters, Tanner Pearson would pot his second goal of the game, which would be the game-winner, right through Hart’s five-hole. Markstrom stacked his pads when he laid out to save the potential tying goal from Kevin Hayes. I have to think that Philadelphia should have used Travis Konecny is their top three rotation for shootouts.

The Philadelphia Flyers Special Teams Are Remarkable

Plain and simple, the reason why the Philadelphia Flyers were able to escape this game with a point towards the overall standings is because of the play from the powerplay unit in the late stages of the third period. Matt Niskanen, Travis Konecny, and Oskar Lindblom are proving that the powerplay isn’t dead in Philadelphia this season. The Flyers were playing in a one-goal hole for the entire game until Lindblom’s equalizer goal on Jordie Benn’s penalty.

The penalty kill for the Philadelphia Flyers shined tonight, killing any penalty against the Flyers. The Vancouver Canucks had a golden opportunity to win the game in the overtime period when they were on a four-on-three powerplay, but Philadelphia was able to clear the puck and Carter Hart came up big. During that penalty kill, there was a time when one of the three Flyers players on the penalty kill was without a stick!

The Veterans Need To Show Up

I’ve been singing the praises of Carter Hart, Travis Konecny, Carsen Twarynski, and Oskar Lindblom a lot after this game tonight. One of the glaring observations that I had was the lack of presence that playmakers and scorers, such as Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, provided in these first few games this season. In previewing games this season, I haven’t brought up Giroux and Voracek specifically for a reason. That reason is that they are being out-produced by their younger teammates.

I don’t think for a moment that Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are fading, because I know that they can score and make the same plays like anyone else on the ice. It’s simply that we have yet to see much of that from those two, in particular, this season. Yes, it’s only been three games. However, looking at how the rookies and youth are playing on this Philadelphia Flyers roster, one can only think how much more dangerous this team could be with the veterans mixing in on that production. That will bring the Flyers to new heights.

Shootouts Are Not Philadelphia’s Friend

To think that if Travis Sanheim’s shot in the final couple minutes of regulation went a couple of inches to the left, the Philadelphia Flyers would have won will make me lose more sleep than I already am early this morning. Jacob Markstrom was as advertised this game. As I highlighted in my previous piece previewing this matchup, I knew that Markstrom was going to keep this game close against the Flyers. His save percentage said so when comparing his skill to Carter Hart.

That being said, I’m not sure if the Philadelphia Flyers are just downright cursed when it comes to the shootout or if it isn’t a practiced scenario. If it isn’t a practiced scenario, it needs to start being one. Each season, the Flyers lose out on more than a handful of points that add up in the overall standings. Imagine if Philadelphia could be on the right side of history more often in shootouts. I know that I would feel better watching rather than holding my breath.

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are away against the Calgary Flames. This game takes place on Tuesday, October 15th at 9:00 pm live from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Ben Nelms/The Canadian Press via AP