The Philadelphia Flyers penalty kill has long been under scrutiny. Enter Brad Shaw last season and this newly dubbed “power kill” has given the Flyers a new look when shorthanded. The aggressive unit isn’t afraid to take chances when they see fit. And they played a huge role in allowing Philadelphia to earn a point despite eventually losing 5-4 to the Dallas Stars in overtime.
Travis Konecny has continued his hot start as he had two of the Flyers’ three shorthanded goals. Sean Walker grabbed the third and has shorthanded goals in back to back games, his first two goals of the season. The penalty kill’s ability to turn the pressure up capped off an impressive effort to make multiple comebacks in this game. A different Flyers team might’ve fallen apart once the Stars went out to the 4-2 lead, especially once the Flyers took a penalty almost immediately after that. That has been the biggest difference between this Flyers team and those of the past.
It often doesn’t feel like this team is out of a game. Their tenacity and overall ability to outwork other teams have been what’s allowed them to earn points in four of their first five games. Their seven points is best in the Metropolitan and while it is early, this Flyers team has been fun to watch. They’re getting contributions from important players as well. Joel Farabee scored his third goal of the season to cut an early Stars lead to 2-1. Konecny’s first shorthanded goal was his fourth of the season and tied the game 2-2 late in the first.
Another two goal deficit wasn’t a problem after Roope Hintz scored early in the second and Jamie Benn increased the lead to two goals again with a third period goal. Konecny made it five goals in five games while Walker added his second of the season on the same penalty kill. It was a game of different runs for each team. Dallas had a surge in the opening ten minutes of the game while the Flyers turned things up after that. It ended in another game in which Philadelphia largely outplayed their opponent as they outshot the Stars 40-25.
It took five different Stars players getting on the scoresheet to beat Philadelphia in overtime. Wyatt Johnson, who scored the game’s opening goal, had three points in the victory, including the assist on Joe Pavelski’s overtime winner. Speaking of Pavelski, he now has goals in three straight games and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down despite entering his 18th season in the NHL. Dallas seemed to be exploiting the goaltending positioning of Sam Ersson, who was appearing in his first game of the season. Targeting his far right side, it was clear the Stars saw something they could use to their advantage. They did that on Hintz’s second period goal and again on Benn’s third period tally. But overall, Ersson settled down and made some big saves to allow the Flyers to come back and take the game to overtime in the first place.
It goes down as a loss for the Flyers, but it feels like there was plenty to like from what they did. Maybe it’s too early to talk about any expectations from this team. But they are certainly showing that they won’t go down without a fight. They will have to show plenty of it when they visit the 6-0-0 Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.