“There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ 1939
The Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Winnipeg Jets. After finding themselves down early, Kevin Hayes had a big night in his 600th NHL game.
A few times recently, the Flyers were on the cusp of a winning record, clawing to stay in the hunt for the second wildcard spot. The Jets had other reservations, downing the Boys on Broad at the Wells Fargo Center, 5-3.
A Jet Fueled First
Winnipeg didn’t waste time, proving why they’re second in the NHL Central Division. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby put the Jets ahead, scoring blocker side on Felix Sandstrom. Defensively, Sandstrom was out to dry at the start of the first period.
Less than two minutes later, Kyle Connor made it back-to-back goals on a one-timer set up by Cole Perfetti. Then, just over two minutes later, Mark Scheifele finished a quick pass from Nikolaj Ehlers to the crease, completing an early 3-0 rout of the Flyers in the first ten minutes of action.
“I don’t think we played bad in the first period. We have two mistakes. A tip-in goal is a tip-in goal, we have two mistakes in our net. I still think we played a good first period.”John Tortorella; 1/22/2023
David Rittich stopped all nine shots taken by Philadelphia in the first fifteen minutes. In the final minute, Owen Tippett showed his patience before crossing the puck to Ivan Provorov, who crashed the net to score. The Flyers were down, 3-1, but not out.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
Rittich faced a taller task in the second period. The Flyers were holding off the Jets on the powerplay while converting their man advantage opportunities.
Defensively, and between the pipes, Sandstrom and the Flyers seemed to find their groove. Nate Schmidt put the Flyers on their second powerplay of the contest. Hayes cut the deficit to one goal after scoring on the powerplay. Cates slid a slick pass to Hayes, who ripped a tight angle shot past Rittich, 3-2.
Through the Five-Hole
Winnipeg looked like they were losing steam. Jonsson-Fjallby went to the box, putting the Flyers back to the powerplay. Hayes made the Jets pay, sinking the rebound after Morgan Frost put a shot on goal, 3-3. He completed the double-feature, scoring twice in his 600th NHL game.
As soon as the game was tied, Tony DeAngelo and Travis Konecny found themselves in the box, giving Winnipeg a five-on-three advantage. Philadelphia killed the powerplay, going 5/5 on the penalty kill.
A little over a minute before the halfway point of the third period, Karson Kuhlman drove in hard on Scott Laughton, but the puck managed to weakly pass through the five-hole for the eventual game-winner, putting Winnipeg up 4-3.
Konecny and DeAngelo had creative chances on offense, nearly tying the game with a six-on-five run, but the Jets closed out the victory with a shorthanded goal. Kevin Stenlund made it 5-3.
Kevin Hayes (15G, 28A) is the ‘Diamond of the Tilt.’ In his 600th NHL game, he scored two powerplay goals to give his team a chance. He proved effective on the powerplay unit, notching his 152nd career goal and eleventh point (6G, 5A) in his last ten games.
“It’s just another game, honestly. It’s a milestone I’ve reached, but [I] went about my business pretty much the same as every other game. It’s a cool milestone, but it would’ve been better if we got the win.”Kevin Hayes; 1/22/2023
These two goals were against his former team, and the second best penalty kill in the NHL before the puck dropped.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023. The pucks drops at the Wells Fargo Center at 7pm.
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)