Flyers fall in shootout to Blue Jackets, Sergei Bobrovsky

Flyers fall in shootout to Blue Jackets, Sergei Bobrovsky

COLUMBUS, Ohio  — Coach Dave Hakstol, unhappy with his team’s play the previous night, changed all four lines and two of his three defensive pairings Saturday, trying to help the Flyers end a 12-year losing streak in Columbus.

It didn’t work, but the Flyers salvaged a hard-earned point.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the only goal in the shootout as the Blue Jackets defeated the Flyers, 2-1, at reverberating Nationwide Arena. It was Columbus’ 11th straight home win over the Flyers since 2005.

Despite the loss, the Flyers (15-13-8) go into their holiday break feeling fairly good about themselves thanks to an 7-2-1 run that followed a 10-game losing streak. They are four points out of a wild-card spot.

Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovksy made 30 saves and stopped all three in the shootout to key the win.

After playing two strong periods, the Flyers looked fatigued and they sagged in the third. Playing on back-to-back nights and having their flight delayed 2 1/2 hours in Buffalo late Friday didn’t help.

But they gained some momentum by killing a high-sticking penalty on Nolan Patrick late in the game, getting four clears and allowing no shots.

Sean Couturier nearly won it with 18 seconds left, making a deft move to get inside two defenders before whipping a shot off the left post.

Columbus had a 15-6 shots domination in the third period.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov, who had a puck bounce off him for Columbus’ first goal, tied the game at 1-1 on a point drive with 16:04 left in the second. It was his fifth goal and his first in 14 games.

The Flyers, who played much better than they did in a 4-2 loss in Buffalo on Friday, peppered goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the rest of the second period, but their ex-teammate made numerous quality saves to keep the game tied at 1-all. He stopped Claude Giroux on a breakaway, denied Wayne Simmonds after he took a slick pass from Jake Voracek at the doorstep on a power play, and turned aside Scott Laughton after he made a power move to get inside a defender.

Bobrovksy, a two-time Vezina winner as the NHL’s best goalie, also stopped Voracek from in close after the goalie made a bad clearing pass.

Voracek set up a score with 1:39 left in the second, but the goal was disallowed after a review showed Taylor Leier knocked in the puck with a high stick after it deflected off Columbus’ Jordan Schroeder.

Earlier, Columbus had taken a 1-0 lead 31 seconds after a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty on the Flyers. Seth Jones scored when his long-range wrist shot deflected off the leg of Provorov and past startled goalie Brian Elliott with 2:52 left in the first. Elliott made his 11th straight start and again was sharp.

Less than a minute earlier, Columbus’ Matt Calvert fired a shot off the post on a shorthanded breakaway. The Flyers had no shots on the power play, and they struggled all night when they had an extra attacker.

Coming off Friday’s loss in Buffalo, home of the Eastern Conference’s worst team, Hakstol shook up his lineup.

Jordan Weal, who has three goals in 30 games, was benched. Travis Konecny, who had a strong game, joined Giroux and Couturier on the top line. Simmonds dropped from the first line to left wing on the third line, alongside Val Filppula and Dale Weise. Patrick moved between Voracek and Michael Raffl.

Leier returned to the lineup and replaced Weal on the fourth line.

Hakstol broke up the top pairing, dropping Andrew MacDonald to the second pairing and putting Provorov with Shayne Gostisbehere. MacDonald was paired with Robert Hagg.

The only pairing or line that was untouched: the defensive duo of Radko Gudas and Travis Sanheim.

The Blue Jackets have won 11 straight over the Flyers in Columbus since Dec. 13, 2005, when Peter Forsberg, rookie Jeff Carter, and Sami Kapanen scored in a 3-1 victory. Robert Esche made 23 saves and Ben Eager and Matt Ellison had assists.

Yeah, it has been a while.

Columbus was without some key injured players, including high-scoring defenseman Zach Werenski and centers Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg.


Giroux played in his 692nd game with the Flyers, moving past Simon Gagne and into 10th place on the franchise’s all-time list….Left winger Oskar Lindblom, who is on the Flyers’ radar, had a career-high three points Saturday in the Phantoms’ 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He has five goals in the last nine games.…Hakstol coached in his 200th NHL game Saturday….The Flyers don’t play again until Thursday in Florida.

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Published at Sun, 24 Dec 2017 03:08:28 +0000

Categories: Flyers

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