Ivan Barbashev’s two goals stymy Flyers comeback attempt

It doesn’t matter about the process, it’s the results that matter in the NHL. The Flyers saw that firsthand against the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. But in the wake of admitting a rebuild is necessary, this is the kind of game some may be happy with. The Flyers played well for different parts of the game, surging in the final period as they tend to do. But it wouldn’t end up being enough.

Pavel Dorofeyev notched just his second career goal eight and a half minutes in as the Flyers lost a puck battle behind the net. The puck found Dorofeyev, who came around the side of the net and shot it over the shoulder of Felix Sandstrom.

Vegas increased their lead less than two minutes into the second period. A ticky-tack closing his hand over the puck penalty by Morgan Frost ended up costing the Flyers. After Scott Laughton’s clearing attempt was stopped at the line, Vegas went to work in the zone. The sequence ended with a Shea Theodore blast from the point that was tipped in by Ivan Barbashev.

The Flyers finally found the back of the net as goals have been hard to come by recently. Sometimes if you put the puck on the net, good things happen. Well this time, Travis Sanheim was actually looking to pass across the slot to James van Riemsdyk. A little bit of puck luck followed as Sanheim’s pass deflected off the stick of Nicolas Hague. Jonathan Quick got a piece of the shot but wasn’t able to get it all.

Vegas countered about two minutes later as the Flyers were caught puck-watching in front of Sandstrom. After making a huge glove save, Teddy Blueger took advantage and restored the Golden Knights’ two-goal lead.

Tyson Foerster, who was recalled once more prior to this game, had a golden chance to score his first NHL goal. With a wide-open net in front of him, Foerster ripped a shot. Unfortunately for him, it ended up going off the post and staying out. It would’ve been an important goal as it would’ve brought the Flyers back to within a goal. Not to mention it could’ve been an elusive power play goal.

But alas, it didn’t happen and the Knights increased their lead to 4-1 after Philadelphia was called for a pretty blatant too many men on the ice penalty. Apparently, someone forgot how to count. Vegas only needed 20 seconds to cash in. It was tic-tac-toe from Chandler Stephenson, to Jack Eichel, to Jonathan Marchessault for the easy tap in goal.

If you had to guess who would be able to dangle through Knights players and roof one over the shoulder of Quiick, who might you guess? I bet Nick Seeler wasn’t on your list at all. This one is just better to watch than describe, honestly. It was a huge energy boost and couldn’t have happened to a better guy.

“That was definitely a nice one, but like you said, not the result that we wanted. But there’s no quit in this group. I think you guys have seen that all year long. And I thought we played really well as a team and Sandy kept us in it the whole night.”

Give the Flyers credit, they just don’t give up as Seeler said That is what John Tortorella was brought in to fix. Morgan Frost cut the deficit to 4-3 with 9:45 remaining after Brendan Lemieux found him lurking at the side of the net. Good on Frost as well to call for the puck to let Lemieux know he was there.

“Kinda just saw Lemieux flying down the wing there, looked like he was gonna beat the D. Great play by Reemer. I was just trying to get to the back post as quickly as I could. Yeah, I think I tapped my stick or something there.”

It wouldn’t be enough, however, as Barbashev hit the empty net, grabbing his second on the night to end the Flyers’ comeback bid with 1:32 remaining. So it was another game where the Flyers tried to rally back in the third period only to fall behind. But it’s the effort they continue to show game in and game out that has John Tortorella feeling good despite the lack of results.

“We’re done, we’re not making the playoffs. But our guys continue to play hard…There haven’t been many nights in this season – this god forsaken season – that I’ve had to worry about effort.”

It won’t get any easier for the Flyers during this tough homestand. They’ll welcome in the Buffalo Sabres next as they will have to try and slow down the hot hand of Tage Thompson.