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Flyers Fall to The Panthers: Observations - Insights - Highlights & More


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David McLeod
October 20, 2022  (0:22)
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The Philadelphia Flyers finally ran out of gas on the back end of their double header, falling to the Panthers 4-3. A key breakdown in the third period, with the game tied 2-2, lead to Felix Sandstrom being hung out to dry on a great finish by Rudolf Balcers.

1. Key Matchup - The Battle of the Titans:
Alexander Barkov stands 6'3» 215lbs and was the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 entry draft for the Florida Panthers. The Finnish born beast, with Russian heritage, was a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2019 and the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2021, as the leagues top defensive forward.
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Kevin Hayes is an imposing 6'5» 216lbs tank, who was a 2010 first round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks - 24th overall.
NHL.com describes Hayes as a, «physical presence in a checking roll, a complementary wing in a top-six role and a power-play presence because of his shot. He also has the size to play in the corners and the skill to set up in the slot.»
That is probably the most underwhelming description of a player on NHL.com, as Kevin Hayes possess the skill set and hockey IQ to dominate on the ice.
Barkov was instrumental on the Panthers first two goals by Carter Verhaeghe, with a primary and secondary assist.
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Hayes landed the primary assistant on Nick Seeler's backhand wedge shot, that slipped under Bobrovsky's catching arm. The assist marked Hayes' 200th apple in the NHL.
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Hayes showed off his elite vision late in the game, locating Konecny on a cross-ice feed. Konecny had a yawning cage to deposit his team leading 4th goal of the year.
2. Was The Pursuit of Tkachuk Detrimental to the Panthers?
The Florida Panthers were without three of their top defensemen from last season. Aaron Ekblad was placed on the LTIR with a lower body injury this morning and will miss a minimum of 10 games.
Brandon Montour also found himself in the press box, with an upper body injury, missing his second straight game. Montour had 37 points, 153 shots, 64 hits, and 65 blocked shots last season
MacKenzie Weegar is a notable absence from last years Presidents Trophy winning lineup, as he was shipped off to Calgary in the Matthew Tkachuk trade. Weegar played in the shadows of Ekblad in Florida, but there is no denying the Panthers miss him on their blue line. The Panthers will find it difficult to replace Weegar's 44 points, 203 shots, 179 shots, and 156 blocks, as a 1B or #2 D and that was evident against the Flyers. The Panthers created a void on the backend and potentially disrupted the teams chemistry by moving Jonathan Hubredeau and Weegar, for the agitating Matthew Tkachuk.
There is one familiar face on the Panthers blue line however; The Butcher!
Did Florida mortgage too much of their lineup to acquire Tkachuk?
3. $12 Million vs $775 000
Felix Sandstorm started his first game of the season, giving Carter Hart a much deserved rest. Sandstrom faced off against former Flyers goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is currently the highest paid netminder in the NHL, making $12 million this season, with a $10 million cap hit.
Carter Verhaeghe buried two quick goals, in a span of 2:32, on Sandstrom in the first period. Verhaeghe took advantage of some loose play by Sandstrom, who neglected to standup and challenge him on the first goal. Sandstrom managed a highlight reel stop prior to Verhaeghe's second goal; a short side snipe that was altered by Justin Braun.
A miscommunication by a Egor Zamula and Nick Seeler on a simple two on two rush, quickly sprung Rudolfs Balcers, who made no mistake on the finish.
Balcers tally was quickly followed up on a soft knuckler by Josh Mahura, which proved to be the game winner.
Felix Sandstrom faced 35 on the night, stopping 31. Sandstrom showed off what made him noticeable in the preseason, battling to make several big saves, but the Panthers pressure in the third eventually overwhelmed. Sandstrom will definitely be thinking about 2 of the 4 goals he surrendered, but his debut is an encouraging sign for the Flyers future in net.
Sergei Bobrovsky saw one less shot on the night saving 31 of 34, making a key save on a Morgan Frost breakaway, to solidify the win. Bobrovsky surrendered an inconsequential late tally to Travis Konecny, with 2 seconds left on the clock.
It will be interesting to monitor the Panthers goalie situation this year, with Spencer Knight laying in wait.
4. The Junkyard Dogs:
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to get contributions from unheralded players, or members of the «Dog Pound» as Noah Cates proclaimed his teammates as.
Nick Seeler saw an opportunity on the rush and occupied the lane, driving the net and receiving a sweet little dish from Kevin Hayes.
And where there are dogs; there's dog waste. And who else but James Van Riemsdyk would be lurking around the net to clean up the mess.
Ivan Provorov filtered a shot towards the net, which was blocked. Konecny scrambled to keep the play alive and the magnet on JVR's stick magically attracted the puck, something it has done his entire career. Bobrovsky was perplexed as to how JVR beat him.
The Philadelphia Flyers didn't show any quit again tonight, battling to the bitter end on some burnt out legs.
Beating the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions from 2020 and 2021 and then losing by a single goal the following night, to the 2022 Presidents Trophy winning Panthers, has to be seen as encouraging and a positive.
The Flyers are back in action against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, where Carter Hart will likely have the opportunity to go 4 and 0 on the season.
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Flyers Fall to The Panthers: Observations - Insights - Highlights & More

What Flyer Impressed The Most In The Flyers Loss?

Scott Laughton720 %
Travis Konecny2262.9 %
Joel Farabee38.6 %
Kevin Hayes38.6 %
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