Kevin Hayes gets revenge, Jordan Binnington steals one over Flyers

Kevin Hayes broke a 19-game goalless drop to help the Blues to a much needed win over the Flyers.
Kevin Hayes broke a 19-game goalless drop to help the Blues to a much needed win over the Flyers. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Did the Flyers deserve to win on Monday night? Most likely, but hockey doesn’t always go by who deserves the win the most. A player can take over a game and steal it for the team that may have not been playing the best.

That’s exactly what Jordan Binnington did for the Blues against the Flyers. He made 40 saves and many of them were of the high danger variety. He was dialed in front the beginning of the game. He has only lost to the Flyers twice in his career, going 5-1-1 in his seven games against them. Binnington owns a 2.11 GAA and a .927 SV% against Philadelphia.

The only thing that beat him was a puck that bounced off Scott Laughton in the blue paint and went in. It was a 2-on-1 with Ryan Poehling where the puck was knocked around in front of the net before hitting Laughton on the way in. It capped off a dominating period for the Flyers in which they outshot the Blues 11-6. 

Laughton has five goals and 12 points in his last 11 games. It’s becoming unlikely he will be traded at the deadline, but he has been improving his value if so.

The Blues didn’t generate much in the opening period, though they missed on a golden opportunity to score the first goal of the game. Coming into the offensive zone off an odd-man rush, Pavel Buchnevich had a wide open net after taking the return from Jordan Kyrou. Going for the shot, the puck appeared to slide off his stick and hit between the skates of Sam Ersson. It kicked out to Robert Thomas, who was robbed off the block by Cam York.

The Blues found their game in the second period, outshooting the Flyers 13-10. It didn’t start that way as Philadelphia turned up the pressure to start the period, controlling the play in the offensive zone. But Binnington kept the Blues in it, allowing them to find their game. They rewarded him with under five minutes remaining in the second period. And it was former Flyer Kevin Hayes that got the equalizer. Joel Farabee lost the puck in the offensive zone as Kasperi Kapanen found Hayes at the opposing blue line for the breakaway. Hayes lost the puck going in on Ersson, but the goaltender’s pads opened up and the puck slid through as Hayes went down.

It broke a 19-game goalless drop for Hayes and was just his 11th goal of the season. He had just two points in his last 19 games coming in as well.

It set the teams up for an exciting third period. It was evident that both goaltenders weren’t going to allow anything to pass them. The Flyers were buzzing during an offensive zone shift when Owen Tippett kept the puck in the zone at least three times. The Blues were running around, trying to clear the puck. But they didn’t allow a shot to make it to Binnington, either blocking them or watching them go wide. They did end up taking a penalty, but the Flyers failed to convert.

The same happened when Marc Staal was called for tripping with less than five minutes remaining. The Flyers penalty kill continued their recent success, killing off their last 25 in a row over their recent seven games. The PK leads the league over that span of time as the unit is atop the league overall as well. The Flyers outshot the Blues 14-5, but again failed to capitalize on their chances. Binnington had plenty to do with that.

Overtime was a lot of the same, despite the Blues controlling play to start. Even though they held the puck for the first bit of overtime, they never challenged Ersson. It was more skating around the zone and bringing the puck out to the neutral zone. Once the Flyers got possession, they sent plenty Binnington’s way. Their best chance came when Brayden Schenn tried to stretch a pass up to Jordan Kyrou. It was stolen and set up Cam York for a wide open shot from the slot. It may have hit Binnington on the way, but rang off the crossbar and out of play. 

Travis Sanheim was stopped on a breakaway attempt while Owen Tippett was robbed earlier in the period as well. The Flyers had six of the seven shots taken in overtime. That set up the shootout, a place Ersson and the Flyers have performed surprisingly well in. It was their seventh shootout of the season, the most in the NHL. Ersson came in having won four of his five games in the shootout.

It was a stalemate at first as Sean Couturier, Robert Thomas, and Tyson Foerster all failed to score. Jake Neighbours put the Blues up in the second round. With the game on the line, Morgan Frost scored to keep it going. Brayden Schenn failed on his shot, setting the Flyers up to put the pressure on. Owen Tippett was unable to do so as his shot went wide. Buchnevich would pull off the backhander in tight to give the Blues their much needed second point.

The Flyers still took an important point, but it was a game they likely should’ve won. They may have to do that without Nick Seeler, who blocked a Colton Parayko shot off his left foot/ankle. He was down in serious pain and hobbled off the ice and down the tunnel. He returned for the third period, but would eventually leave for the final 9:22 of regulation. He would not return. The Flyers value his willingness to jump in front of pucks and look at him as someone they want to keep past the deadline. If he’s hurt in any capacity, they may get their wish. Just not in the way they hoped for.

The Flyers will head out on what is going to be their toughest stretch of the season. They will face playoff-bound teams in nine of their next 10 games. That includes two against the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s gut check time for a Flyers team that has defied expectations.