Before they could blink, the Flyers found themselves in a 3-0 hole against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. As they have done throughout the season, the Flyers didn’t quit and clawed their way back into the game.
But after making it a 3-3 game early in the third, the Jets took over with the go-ahead goal with 11:16 to play. That proved to be the difference in a 5-3 Flyers loss to the Jets at Wells Fargo Center.
The Jets got off to a hot start, taking advantage of transition plays and using physicality from the beginning. At 4:53, they opened the scoring as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby deflected a Brenden Dillon shot to make it 1-0.
The Jets made it 2-0 at 6:14. The Flyers got caught with a pinching defenseman, leading to a two-on-one. Cole Perfetti fed Kyle Connor for the goal, his 24th of the season, to extend the lead.
Just over two minutes later, Mark Scheifele took advantage of a bounce to the side of the net, burying it for his 29th goal of the season at 8:31 to make it 3-0.
The Flyers showed signs of life in the second half of the period, and got the lead back down to two with a late goal. The Jets were caught in a change as Cam York furthered the puck to Owen Tippett, who out-waited the coverage and set up Ivan Provorov for his third goal of the season.
Through 20 minutes, the Flyers had a 14-10 lead in shots.
The Jets had the better of the play throughout the second period, getting two power-play chances and out-shooting the Flyers, 12-8. But in the final two minutes of the period, the Flyers once again cashed in on an opportunity.
On a power play, Noah Cates set up Kevin Hayes for the one-timer from a nearly impossible angle. Hayes, playing in his 600th NHL game, scored his 14th of the season to cut the lead to one with 1:33 remaining in the second.
Through two periods, shots were even, 22-22.
The Flyers got the game tied early in the third on another power play. It was Hayes again, picking up a rebound to make it 3-3 at 2:35 with his second of the game and 15th of the season.
Midway through the period, the Flyers faced a challenge with 28 seconds of 5-on-3 time for Winnipeg. The Flyers killed off both penalties, but surrendered the go-ahead goal seconds later as Karson Kuhlman got space and was able to leak one through Felix Sandstrom at 8:44 to make it 4-3 Winnipeg.
The Flyers got a power play with just under 11 minutes to play, but could not score. In the final minute, Winnipeg iced the game with an empty-netter by Kevin Stenlund.
David Rittich made 28 saves on 31 shots in the win. Sandstrom made 25 saves on 29 shots in the loss.
Hayes and Tony DeAngelo had multi-point games for the Flyers. Dillon had two assists for Winnipeg.
The Flyers get back in action on Tuesday night to take on the Los Angeles Kings at 7 p.m.