Flyers and Wild throw hands; Philadelphia falls in OT

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Flyers' Noah Cates
Philadelphia Flyers left wing Noah Cates (49) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Minnesota Wild during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Looking to avoid a three-game losing streak, the Philadelphia Flyers visited the Minnesota Wild. A point was earned for the Flyers, but they couldn’t escape a loss, falling in overtime, 3-2.

Noah Cates lit the lamp first in his home state. A shot from the point by Rasmus Ristolainen deflected off of Cates, and the puck trickled across the goal line for the 1-0 lead. Cates made his NHL debut in Minnesota last season and now has an NHL goal in the state he grew up in.

“Obviously pretty special. Growing up playing here, you know for high school and college, to score with my buddies right on the glass right there was super special.”

Noah Cates; 1/26/2023

Three fights popped off during the first period. Nicolas Deslauriers began it all with a heavyweight matchup against Ryan Reaves. Wade Allison followed with a tilt against Mason Shaw. Finally, Zack MacEwen put on the finale against Marcus Foligno. Allison was the only Flyer victorious, and momentum was gained from each showdown.

The second period began with another donnybrook. This time, Patrick Brown dropped the gloves with Brandon Duhaime, and Duhaime was victorious. Matt Boldy equalized the game for the Wild shortly after. Boldy broke through the Flyers’ defense, sticking with a pass from Foligno, beating Carter Hart; 1-1.

The Flyers failed to convert on two powerplay opportunities in the second period. Hart and Marc-Andre Fleury faced pressure as momentum swung while heavy scoring chances were denied.

Early in the third, the Flyers failed to convert another powerplay. Scott Laughton nearly scored, but the puck stayed out of the net. Laughton received a penalty for roughing, where the Wild took advantage. Boldy scored his second to give his team a lead, 2-1

Tony DeAngelo tied the game with 1:28 remaining. Kevin Hayes found DeAngelo alone at the face-off dot, and DeAngelo used pinpoint accuracy to beat Fleury on his glove side, sending the game to overtime, 2-2.

“I didn’t know it went in to be totally honest with you, that’s why I was skating back towards the puck to see if I could slap it in again.”

Tony DeAngelo; 1/26/2023

Konecny nearly won the game off an odd-man rush, but Fleury made another vital save. Mats Zuccarello scored the overtime game-winner for the Wild. Zuccarello blazed through the neutral zone, shaking Konecny and finishing his effort by beating Hart; 3-2.

“It was a game of two willing teams. That’s a hard team, a hard building to play in. I’m happy to get a point but it leaves you wanting more. Same type of situation; we go down, have a great chance, we don’t score, they come right down and score on us. We’re trying; I respect how we played, I respect how they played. It was a hard fought game.”

John Tortorella; 1/26/2023

Fleury vs. Hart

Both Hart and Fleury stood on their heads in a defensive game. Fleury, the 38-year-old veteran, is aging like fine wine. He stopped 21/23 shots and withstood heavy pressure from the Flyers during the third period. Hart stopped 27/30 shots. Holding his ground, another win could have been stolen by the 24-year-old, but the Flyers’ offense fell short on crucial chances.

35 For Fighting

Both the Flyers and Wild have heavy hitters on their rosters. Physicality, along with fisticuffs, was displayed in the North Star State. An ode to old-time hockey, both teams combined for 35 minutes of fighting majors.

“It’s two willing teams. We can play that way, they certainly can play that way. It’s part of the game. The building here gets that team ramped up. We knew they were going to come hard. They haven’t been as consistent as they would like to be. We knew it was going to be one of those games. If that’s the way it happens, that’s the way it happens. It’s a part of hockey and we’re ready to do it.”

John Tortorella; 1/26/2023

Up Next

The Philadelphia Flyers will journey to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to face the Jets on Saturday at 7pm. It will be the final game for the Flyers before the NHL All-Star break begins.

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)