Devils 5, Flyers 4: Philly Blows Lead, Lose in Shootout

Updated: March 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm by Wes Herrmann

Taylor Hall played the spoiler as he tied the game late and Drew Stafford scored the lone shootout goal to earn the New Jersey Devils a comeback 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night.

The Flyers had three different leads in the game and didn’t trail until the final 1:21 of the game, but the team couldn’t put away the game and earned just one point in an important division game.

FIRST PERIOD

It took less than two minutes for Travis Konecny to get the Flyers on the board. Shayne Gostisbehere got the puck out from his end to Claude Giroux who hit Konecny with a long pass to send the winger on a breakaway. Konecny shot far side on Keith Kinkaid.

From that point on, the Flyers were led by Sean Couturier in the first stanza. The center had a couple chances on a power play in the middle of the period and a breakaway opportunity with four minutes left.

But Couturier wasn’t the only player putting on an offensive show. Taylor Hall deflected a shot off the post behind Michal Neuvirth and had two chances later in the period. Like Couturier, Hall couldn’t bury any of the chances.

Beyond the scoring, New Jersey’s Jimmy Hayes was injured when Robert Hagg cross checked him in the corner, forcing him to miss the rest of the period. He did return for the second. Also, Neuvirth was run into by Stefan Noeson, but was not fazed mentally or physically by the contact.

SECOND PERIOD

It was a back-and-forth affair in the second stanza, but the Flyers came away with the 4-3 lead.

Hall got the scoring started when he banked in the puck from the goal line along the boards, reminiscent of the 2010 Stanley Cup clinching goal against Michael Leighton. It was one of Neuvirth’s worst goals allowed of the year.

It wasn’t all good for New Jersey, though. Hall was injured on the play as Radko Gudas cleanly finished a check as he shot and didn’t return until the third period.

The Flyers answered 43 seconds later though when Scott Laughton shoveled a shot past Kinkaid in the slot off a spin pass from the corner courtesy of Michael Raffl.

About six minutes later, Gudas made another huge impact in the game; this time scoring on a blistering point shot. Fourth liners Valtteri Filppula and Dale Weise picked up assists.

Devil John Moore matched the point shot with one of his own later, blasting a shot past Neuvirth that he never saw, bringing the Devils within one again.

With the Flyers on their first man advantage of the period, Claude Giroux ripped a shot that deflected off Ben Lovejoy’s stick and slid under Kinkaid’s pads to regain the two-goal lead. Jake Voracek picked up his 54th assist on the goal.

But the Devils weren’t done there. On the faceoff after Giroux’s goal, Ivan Provorov turned the puck over in the neutral zone, sending Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier on a 2-on-1. Bratt hit Hischier perfectly for a one-timer that beat Neuvirth.

THIRD PERIOD

The Flyers never seem to have much luck when they have a one-goal lead in the third period. Unfortunately for the team, they couldn’t add to it and Hall made them pay for it with 1:21 left in the game.

Zajac tied up a Flyers defensive draw and got the puck into the corner. Hall followed it there and chipped a pass in front to Hischier, who shot. The rebound skitted to a quick-moving Hall and the former Oiler shot it past a sprawling Neuvirth.

Philly had a chance to go up by two just two minutes before the goal when they were awarded a power play on a Konecny breakaway. The man advantage was disorganized, though, and a scoring chance never materialized.

OVERTIME

Voracek and Giroux had the best two opportunities in the extra five minutes, but neither could score.

First, they had a 2-on-1 where Giroux tried to force a pass that he should have shot. Then, with just over a minute left, Voracek had a prime deflection chance, but Kinkaid made the save.

SHOOTOUT

Drew Stafford scored on the Devils’ second shot forcing the Flyers the need to score on their third. Like the other two, Voracek couldn’t beat Kinkaid.

QUICK-HITTERS

The Flyers announced Brian Elliott would miss five to six weeks earlier today and tonight was Neuvirth’s first test to see if he could handle the starting role. He had a so-so performance. The first goal was the epitome of his inconsistency on a shot that never should have gone in. He made some impressive saves, but it’s hard to say a goalie that let up four goals had a good game.

Philly killed all three of the Devils’ power plays, bending but not breaking on them. The unit seemed a bit more aggressive than usual, but that still led to some chances for New Jersey. That worked out okay, though because the missed shots usually led to turnovers that the Flyers were able to clear.

This can probably go without saying, but the Flyers cannot afford to give up any points against a Metropolitan Division opponent. Besides the Devils, the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes all won Tuesday night. The Flyers could have relaxed with two points, but left with just one.

NEXT GAME

Friday, at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 P.M.

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