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POSTGAME 5: The House Wins

Flyers rally falls just short as Golden Knights take 5-4 win in Vegas

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
The Philadelphia Flyers came two-thirds of the way back from a cavernous 5-2 deficit but were unable to find an equalizer in a 5-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night. 

For the second straight game, the Flyers gave up four goals in the first period. Max Pacioretty had even strength and power play goals for Vegas, as did Sean Couturier for the Flyers. Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny also scored in a losing cause, while Shea Theodore and Jon Merrill scored in Vegas' four-goal deluge in the opening frame.

This was not a night where any goalie was going to leave with a nice-looking stat line. However, both Marc-Andre Fleury (34 saves on 38 shots) and Carter Hart (28 saves on 33 shots) stepped up big at times over the final 40 minutes of the game after a wild first period.

Three Stars:
1st: Max Pacioretty (2g)
2nd: Jon Merrill (1g)
3rd: Brayden McNabb (5 hits)

TURNING POINT
The span of 4:41 over the first period that saw the Golden Knights score a pair of even strength goals, a power play goal and Fleury to stuff Scott Laughton's penalty shot attempt was was put the Flyers into "chase-the-game" mode the rest of the night.

MELTZER'S TAKE
* The Flyers got the start they wanted, scoring first as Claude Giroux got open in the slot to finish off a Jakub Voracek feed. Beyond that, it was yet another road period where Philadelphia did itself no favors. They lost too many battles in their own zone and gave up too much space. 

* Scott Laughton ran out of room -- and into Fleury -- on his penalty shot attempt. One had to wonder if the complexion of the rest of the first period would have changed had it been successful. This one didn't come close. Konecny's subsequent highlight-reel goal was a huge strike for the Flyers, but one final breakdown ended up in the Philly net.Video: PHI@VGK: Konecny finishes for beautiful goal

* The second period had a different tone than the first; more under control from a Flyers standpoint as the period moved along. However, all the Flyers could do was cut a 3-goal gap back to two after Couturier had a tap-in goal after a nice play by Matt Niskanen to get the puck to the net.

* The Flyers top two lines both generated plenty of push in this game, especially Sean Couturier's line. The bottom six got dominated at times, especially in the first period. Given the score of the game, Alain Vigneault was going to have to shorten the bench, anyway, but it wasn't a tough decision.

* After Couturier scored on a well-executed power play puck movement sequence as he find soft ice and ripped home a Giroux feed, the Golden Knights swarmed the puck for much of the remainder of the game. Hart had to made four or five tough saves to keep the deficit to a single goal. The night ended in frustration as Philly's 6-on-3 power play push fell short with Hart pulled for an extra attacker. Two blocks by Brayden McNabb were crucial.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
* Claude Giroux had two points (1g-1a) and scored his 13th goal of the year, which leads the Flyers... It also extended his point streak to five straight games (2g-4a).

* Sean Couturier had a three-point night with two goals and an assist... It was his 14th three-point game of his career. Video: PHI@VGK: Couturier buries one-time blast for PPG

* Ivan Provorov had one assist to give him 24 points halfway through the season (41 games)... He is two points shy of matching his total from last year (26) in 82 games.

* Jake Voracek posted two assists for the third straight game... He also has assists in six of his last seven games with nine helpers and 11 points in that stretch.

* The Flyers continue their road trip when they head to Arizona to take on the Coyotes on Saturday in Glendale. Puck drop is 8 p.m. on the east coast on NBCSP & 97.5 The Fanatic. 

THEY SAID IT
Video: Hear from Hart, Provorov and Couturier following lossVideo: Hear from Flyers coach following loss to VGK

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