Flyers earn OT win in the Shark Tank, 4-3

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Flyers' Samuel Ersson
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) celebrates with teammates after the Flyers defeated the San Jose Sharks in an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022. The Flyers won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It was never going to be the Philadelphia Flyers’ season to compete for a Stanley Cup, but even this lineup can look back at a game and think, ‘that’s one we would like to have back.’

A telltale loss for the Flyers was the shutout versus the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center. In that loss, John Tortorella sat Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes for all of the third period. Additionally, James van Riemsdyk left with a broken finger.

The rematch didn’t disappoint. Carter Hart (concussion) couldn’t compete, meaning Samuel Ersson earned his second NHL start.

Philadelphia sustained some pressure with decent puck movement in the offensive zone. Tony DeAngelo and Travis Konecny, two recurring skaters who kept the visitors close to the Sharks, began rattling Kaapo Kahkonen. San Jose scored first, however. Tomas Hertl scored his first of the game, an even-strength goal on a hard cut in front of Rasmus Ristolainen in the slot. Konecny answered immediately, deflecting a shot off the faceoff by DeAngelo past Kahkonen, tying the game 1-1 at the end of the first period.

Without looking, did you know San Jose has the best penalty kill in the NHL despite being ranked the 29th overall team in the standings? They held the Flyers to a 0/1 evening with the extra man. Additionally, Hertl added another goal, this time on the powerplay. He beat Ersson on a deflection from Meier, providing the Sharks with a 2-1 lead. Ersson did help kill a powerplay before the end of the second period, doing wonders for his confidence.

San Jose continued to throttle Philadelphia in the third period. Kevin Labanc grew the lead to 3-1 after an entry pass from Erik Karlsson from the neutral zone. The show wasn’t over yet, however. Owen Tippett sniped a backdoor feed from van Riemsdyk to cut the deficit to 3-2. Konecny completed the comeback, scoring his second with traffic to knot the score, 3-3, before overtime.

In extra time, Philadelphia found a way to secure the victory. DeAngelo accepted an easy one-timer feed from Ivan Provorov, securing the win. By a final score of 4-3, Tortorella and his Flyers are 1-6 in overtime periods during 2022-2023.

An OT Win (+)

Philadelphia finally triumphs in overtime. Tortorella stuck to his guns when designing his trio. Two defensemen and a forward meant more puck control, his observation suggests.

Provorov set up DeAngelo for the game-winner. Kahkonen didn’t have a chance to make the save if the pass connected.

“I was getting ready to change, but Provy made a real good play to Tip, and I seen they were changing, so I said, ‘let me try to stay out here for a second.’ We catch them on our line change; that’s what three-on-three is all about, just trying to catch them cheating a little bit, and Provy made a great play.”

Tony DeAngelo; 12/29/2022

DeAngelo scored his first game-winning goal of the season in their only overtime victory of 2022-2023 on the road at the Shark Tank.

Travis Konecny (+) 

Mostly every Flyers skater has a price, but a line is forming at Konecny. It seems that he’s over the snakebitten phase. He has eight points (5G, 3A) in his last five games, including four multi-point performances.

Two seasons ago, his current 34 points (17G, 17A) matched his total output. Thus far, 2022-2023 is his most accurate season, scoring on 17.3% of his shots on goal.

“I’m honestly just trying to stay focused on working hard and playing the right way, and they’re just getting bounces right now and going in.”

Travis Konecny; 12/29/2022

With the game on the line on separate occasions, Konecny found a way to keep his team in the fight.

Samuel Ersson (+) 

Tortorella was headstrong about starting Ersson as soon as he could. Without Hart, Ersson got another chance between the pipes on the road. At the Shark Tank, he looked for his first win.

One of his finest moments on the road to victory in San Jose was his work between the pipes on the penalty kill. Travis Sanheim served a dodgy interference penalty, leaving Ersson to be the best penalty killer for Philadelphia.

Later, Ersson was rewarded with his first NHL victory, improving to a 1-0-0 record.

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)