Trailing the Washington Capitals by a handful of points for the first place spot in the NHL Metropolitan Division standings, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, who are near the very bottom of the NHL Pacific Division, have been a tough opponent for the Flyers in the last few seasons. After last night’s 4-2 regulation victory over San Jose, Philadelphia is a point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Metropolitan Division standings. Last night was also the debut of Nate Thompson and Derek Grant in Orange and Black, who were both acquired at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline. For the first time since 2017, the Flyers get the victory against the Sharks at home.
Almost immediately, the Philadelphia Flyers had their first opportunity to do damage on the powerplay. The Flyers got on the scoreboard early when Nicolas Aube-Kubel jammed the puck home with 18:28 to play in the first period. That would be NAK’s sixth goal of the season and second powerplay goal. The San Jose Sharks began to take control of the rest of the first period, tying the game when Joel Kellman scored during even-strength hockey with 13:30 remaining. At the end of the first period, the score was deadlocked at one, but the Sharks had the advantage in shots, 15-8.
Derek Grant began the second period in the penalty box, serving a slashing minor. Carter Hart came up huge on the penalty kill for the Philadelphia Flyers, getting the best of a good scoring opportunity by Evander Kane. With 16:09 left to play in the second period, Kevin Hayes scored his first goal of the night to give the Flyers the lead. The San Jose Sharks challenged the goal, but Philadelphia wasn’t offside and the goal stands. Unable to capitalize on the delay of game penalty, Travis Konecny scored after the powerplay expired to extend the Flyers lead, 3-1.
On the special teams, the powerplay finished 50% and the penalty kill finished 100%. Kevin Hayes finished with three points, including a goal in the third period with 16:17 remaining. His line, including Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny, was on fire against the San Jose Sharks. Noah Gregor cut the Philadelphia Flyers lead to two with 11:42 remaining in regulation after his shot snuck between Carter Hart and the post. The final score favored the Flyers, 4-2.
Your three stars of last night’s game from three to one were Matt Niskanen, Travis Konecny, and Kevin Hayes. Nisky has a +3 last night against the San Jose Sharks, notching an assist on Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s powerplay goal to start the game. TK finished as a +3, notching two assists and a goal. Both of his assists were shared with the first star of the game, “Hollywood” Hayes. Hayes finished as a +3 with two goals and one assist, providing the assist to Konecny’s goal.
Trade Acquisition Debuts
Of the two players acquired at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, Nate Thompson seemed to be the one that had his skating legs with him. He played a solid game on the ice in his debut. Through his eighteen shifts, Thompson had just under thirteen minutes of ice time. He finished as a -1 on the stat sheet when Joel Kellman scored in the first period. Seeing Thompson on the ice with Justin Braun and Robert Hagg provided the idea that the Philadelphia Flyers were bulking up the physicality on the deeper lines.
Our other acquisition at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline was Derek Grant. Grant caught the red-eye flight to Philadelphia for this game at home against the San Jose Sharks. He played an extra shift than Nate Thompson and saw just about the same amount of ice time. Grant made an impact at the faceoff circle, winning 60% of his draws. You want more noise in a debut from a player, but considering his lack of rest coming into a brand new team, we’ll take the win.
A couple of milestones were reached in two young careers last night in the win against the San Jose Sharks. First, Scott Laughton broke the 100 career point threshold last night when Kevin Hayes scored his first goal. By the end of regulation, Laughton totaled 101 points in his career. I was shocked to see that Laughton wasn’t the third star in last night’s victory. When Hayes goes “Hollywood,” everyone benefits.
The other player to reach a career milestone was the Philadephia Flyers 2020 All-Star, Travis Konecny. Deservingly so, Konecny was a second-star post-game. Again, on Kevin Hayes’ second goal, TK recorded his 100th career assist. Now, the magic number for Konecny is nineteen. He’s nineteen goals away from 100 and nineteen points away from 200.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are home at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA to host the New York Rangers. This game takes place on Friday, February 28th at 7 pm. Be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN and Philadelphia on Twitter!
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre