DALLAS — It was a weird way to earn a power play. Just 5:31 into Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center, Flyers captain Claude Giroux was tripped by goaltender Kari Lehtonen behind the net.
However, that was one of the few mistakes Lehtonen would make the entire evening, one in which he finished with 31 saves.
The Flyers managed a shot on that power play, but not converting that early opportunity set an ominous tone for the rest of the night.
Sure, the Flyers did get a goal from Travis Konecny late in the first and from Ivan Provorov early in the second period, but the story of this game for the visitors was the multitude of missed high-quality scoring chances, opportunities for the Flyers to leave Texas with a full two points instead of the one they earned in a 3-2 overtime loss (see observations). Now, the Flyers have lost three of their last four games, with all three defeats coming after regulation.
Prior to scoring his 23rd goal of the season, Konecny had been turned away by Lehtonen with seven minutes remaining in the first with a pad save following a Stars' turnover. Konecny then fired the ensuing rebound wide of the net.
“He made some unbelievable saves to keep them in it and I think that gave them just that little bit of momentum and kept them in the game,” Konecny said.
But it wasn’t just Konecny who failed to capitalize. Wayne Simmonds also had two prime scoring chances slip through his fingers. Late in the first period, Simmonds pounced on another Stars' turnover, but was denied by Lehtonen and the game remained 1-1.
And about five minutes after Provorov gave what proved to be the Flyers’ only lead of the game at 2-1 early in the middle frame, Simmonds had another prime chance, but again Lehtonen turned him away, this time doing so at close range.
“Yeah, got to put one in the net," Simmonds said. "Guess he made some good saves though."
Both Stars' goals in regulation came under somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Radek Faksa’s goal with 9:10 remaining in the first period came when he scored off a carom after a slap shot by John Klingberg deflected off the end boards and fell to him at the far post.
And the Stars’ game-tying power-play goal in the second came when Brett Ritchie gained a little space on Radko Gudas at the far post, enough space to redirect Alexander Radulov’s shot into the net to make it 2-2. Radulov then went on to net the game-winner 40 seconds into overtime.
Flyers goaltender Petr Mrazek made 20 saves in a losing effort and feels luck was simply not on the Flyers’ side in this overtime defeat.
“We had lots of chances, lots of opportunities,” Mrazek said. “I think this time of the year, we have to get those bounces on our side. I feel today the first and the second goal, those were the bounces on their end.”
The Flyers, who remain in the first wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 90 points, return to action Wednesday at Colorado (10 p.m./NBCSP+).