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Jets 3, Flyers 2: Observations from Philly's shootout loss

The Flyers let one slip away, losing in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets despite holding a 2-1 lead most of the way through the third period.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) stops a shot by Flyers Nolan Patrick (19) during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, Nov. 16.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) stops a shot by Flyers Nolan Patrick (19) during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thursday, Nov. 16.Read moreJOHN WOODS / AP

A tough night for Scott Laughton. He took two penalties, one a completely unnecessary pile-on boarding call that led to Winnipeg's first goal. And on the excruciating tying goal in the last minute of the third period, he allowed the dangerous Mark Scheifele to slip behind him  and finally pump one past Brian Elliott, wrecking a spectacular effort from Brian Elliott in goal.

A tough one for Travis Konecny too. Travis Konecny has had choice chances.  Wayne Simmonds is getting chances, The fourth line continues to keep the puck in the opponents end, with nothing to show for it. They will tell you that if they keep playing the way their playing, they'll go in eventually. But this is not always the case, and all you have to do is go back a season to see that. The Flyers had the NHL's fifth highest shot average last season (31.5), but were tied for 20th in total goals scored.

Here's what has been different on most nights: The missed opportunities of their secondary players have come, more often, in the more dangerous scoring zones. Konecny alone created a slew of them last night, including a point blank shot in overtime that he sailed high and wide. He then added to his sins by jumping over the boards and accepting a scoring-chance pass with Jake Voracek still on the ice, leading to an overtime power play.

Still, the origins of the shots suggest the secondary potency at the start of this season was not a mirage.But no doubt, the jury's still out.

Subtly smart. Did you notice that Claude Giroux appeared to purposely allow Jake Voracek's pass to pass through him as he was double-teamed in the middle of the ice on the Flyers' first goal? Giroux actually pulled his stick away while using his body to draw two defenders with him, allowing Sean Couturier to tee up a clean shot on net that created Jake Voracek's rebound goal.  Nice.

Boos and integrity. Radko Gudas deserved his major penalty for his hack to the head of Mathieu Perrault, and maybe the ejection too. Just not the way it happened. A replay above the stands, followed by resounding boos from the Winnipeg crowd induced a powwow and the ejection. Gudas could have done the exact same thing in Philadelphia and there would have been no above-ice replay and no cascade of boos and no powwow. We are only 19 games into this season and already the NHL's sometimes-its-a-rule, sometimes-it-is-not nuances have left you with the feeling you are watching the WWE and not one of the four major professional sports of North America.

That said, Radko Gudas is too old, too experienced, to get suckered into that penalty and ejection. There's a reason he suffers unjustly from reputation. If he has any chance of being part of this team when it becomes legitimate Cup contenders, he needs to change that. Period.

Normally, it's goalies who have the nightmares. But Winnipeg's Bryan Little was in danger of being haunted in his sleep by the specter of Brian Elliott until he finally got through him, winning the game with the Jets fourth shot of Thursday night's 4-3 shootout win. Twice last night Little appeared to have the whole side of a net to shoot at. Twice Elliott sprawled to somehow stop him. Little also had a point blank shot, taken in full stride, gloved by the Flyers goaltender, who is officially in a groove right now.

Elliott also had great saves on Patrick Laine, Andrew Copp and, with about eight minutes remaining, on Kyle Connor, who had a step on everyone as he bore in and aimed 5-hole. Winnipeg, which entered the game with the NHL's sixth best power play (22.8 percent), had six power plays in the gritty game, including a brief 4-on-3 that was followed shortly by three minutes of man advantage due to the major issued to Gudas.

No matter how talented, the unavoidable aspect of a defense dominated by rookies and second-year players is mistakes. And a great example of that came on Winnipeg's power play goal that put the Jets on the board at 13:05 of the second period. Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim — playing on the kill only due to the absence of Gudas – took the kind of high-risk, low reward chance that impeded his path to the NHL, and the result was a 2-on-1 that Perrault converted into a goal on the other end. Sanheim fanned on a half-hearted keep attempt along the offensive halfboards, completely eliminating any chance of rallying back to correct his error. Lesson learned. In a later shorthanded situation, Sanheim won a tough puck battle behind his own net and deftly cleared it past two Jets.