Flyers drop OT decision in Columbus, 5-4

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Flyers' Travis Konecny
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny, left, looks for an open shot as Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Philadelphia Flyers will leave Columbus with a point toward the NHL standings following an overtime loss, 5-4.

Johnny Gaudreau tempted the pace, generating scoring chances for his club. Sean Kuraly broke the ice, sneaking a strange bounce through Justin Braun and past Carter Hart. About the first period, John Tortorella had choice words regarding the forechecking in the offensive zone with Brian Boucher:

“We suck. We haven’t forechecked. We haven’t done anything as of right now.”

John Tortorella; 11/15/2022

The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their lead in the second period on the powerplay. It was the only penalty-kill opportunity for the Flyers, and Boone Jenner scored. Gaudreau notched the primary assist. In half of their games this season, Philadelphia trailed by two goals. Kevin Hayes got his team onto the board in the second period, then Noah Cates knotted the score, 2-2, before the next intermission.

Then, there was the start of the third period. Jenner scored his second of the game on an individual effort featuring a blocked shot turning into a breakaway conversion. Thirteen seconds later, Eric Robinson scored, making the Blue Jackets lead 4-2. The lead didn’t have much time to breathe before Nick Seeler chipped a puck past Joonas Korpisalo, using Joel Farabee and Max Willman as traffic.

Travis Konecny tied the game, 4-4, with a powerplay goal, ending a four-game drought for the Flyers. In overtime, Vladislav Gavrikov forced a turnover on a poor pass by Hayes, finishing with the 5-4 game-winner on the same sequence. Philadelphia dropped their first of this road trip in the extra period, their second loss in five days against the last-place club in the Metropolitan Division.

Powerplay (+)

Konecny broke an eight-day drought without a powerplay goal. Before his extra-man marker, the most recent was in the victory against the Ottawa Senators. Hayes had the powerplay goal against the Senators with Konecny on the assist. The critical goal that tied the game, 4-4, put Konecny in the team lead for powerplay goals with Owen Tippett and James van Riemsdyk.

Hayes tied Konecny for the team lead in powerplay assists. It cannot be any more obvious how vital these two veterans are to the man-advantage. Tortorella noted how vital scoring on the powerplay is to the success of the Flyers:

“Our powerplay was better tonight. Scored a goal to get us a point. As we’ve talked about during the year, it’s helped us get some points; getting at least one powerplay goal a game. We scored four tonight, and we still lose.”

John Tortorella; 11/15/2022

Without that late conversion, Philadelphia doesn’t leave Columbus with a point toward the NHL standings. Scoring four goals in a loss is wildly frustrating, but the silver lining here is one of the biggest struggles as of late improved.

Slow Starts (-)

A key trait of the Flyers is their resiliency. In half of their games, they’ve trailed by two goals to start a game. Of those games, Philadelphia won twice.

Playing from behind is never a recipe for stability. It is an easy way to surrender otherwise achievable points in the NHL standings. Tortorella didn’t believe his team began with the energy required to compete. Resiliency is a rose-colored way of looking at this problem the Flyers are growing accustomed to.

“We’ve done that all year long. We put ourselves in those situations quite a bit. We can’t live in that property; you can’t be there all the time.”

John Tortorella; 11/15/2022

When Philadelphia doesn’t allow the opposition to jump out to a 2-0 lead, they’ve amassed four regulation victories. In the last week, the Flyers allowed six first-period goals over five games.

Willman (+)

He got hit all around the ice tonight, but it’s okay. Making his 2022-2023 debut with the Flyers, he battled hard. Willman took seven hits and dished three. What impressed me was his hustle in the third period.

Willman shot a backhand attempt that missed but did a lot of work to keep the OZ possession alive when Philadelphia was reeling in the third period. He didn’t get credit for an assist but everything he said about his improvement at the AHL level shined just before Seeler scored:

“My overall compete level and battle level; I’m playing real hard down there. I don’t think points necessarily are showing that. Just doing the little things right, the stuff that doesn’t show up on the scoresheet all the time.”

Max Willman; 11/15/2022

His name might not show in the scoresheet, but his on-ice contribution was noticeable.

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)