The Flyers held ’90s Night at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, getting fans into a nostalgic mood as they showed video clips or photos of Austin Powers, Titantic, the Backstreet Boys, Saved by the Bell, pogs, and Full House, among others, on the scoreboard.
Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim got into the ’90s act.
He came disguised as Eric Desjardins.
Goal-less in 31 games dating back to last season, Sanheim jumped into the offense and scored two late goals in a 2 minute, 5 second span to tie the game at 3-3.
Defenseman Seth Jones scored 10 seconds into overtime to give Columbus a 4-3 win over the Flyers.
A poor ‘read’ by Ivan Provorov enabled Jones to be left alone, and he scored his second goal of the night after being set up by Cam Atkinson, who extended his point streak to 12 games.
“Obviously it was good resilience to battle back and tie the game up,” Sanheim said, “but there were a lot of areas that we’d like to be better in and wish didn’t have to get to that point.”
The Flyers, who are just 5-7-2 at home, were badly outplayed in the first two periods but salvaged a point, thanks to Sanheim.
With 5 minutes, 31 seconds left in regulation, Sanheim took a pass from Jake Voracek and scored from deep into the right circle, knocking a shot off the crossbar and into the net to knot the game at 3-all.
At 2:05 earlier, he got the Flyers to within 3-2. Taking a slick feed from Claude Giroux (goal, assist), Sanheim went in alone and beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a backhander.
Sanheim had two career goals in 74 games before Thursday, then scored twice in a little over two minutes.
For two-plus periods, the Flyers did little to impress Chuck Fletcher, watching his first game since he was named the eighth different general manager in franchise history.
They generated few quality scoring chances, were outshot, 25-11, in the first 40 minutes, and didn’t get into the flow because they committed five penalties in the first two periods.
“We got caught up in penalty troubles. You have to be more disciplined," Sean Couturier said. “Even though we killed those off, it takes the rhythm out of the game and it’s tough to get it back. We responded well in the third. We skated well and got pucks to the net. That’s what happens when you stay disciplined and play the right way."
The Flyers had a new GM watching, but they got off to the same lackluster start that has plagued their 11-12-3 season.
Columbus had a huge territorial edge, outshot the Flyers by a 12-5 margin, and built a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The Flyers have led after the opening period just nine times in 26 games.
Just 1:08 after Giroux had given the Flyers an early 1-0 lead, Jones tied it off the rush, whipping a shot through the legs of Anthony Stolarz. The rookie goalie made 26 saves -- many from in close -- but wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
“I feel like I’ve been making big saves, but at the end of the day there’s two, three goals I want back to change the momentum,” he said. “We score that first goal and I give that one up and it kind of deflates the team a little bit.”
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Stolarz made amends, steadying himself and making several difficult saves before Columbus capitalized late in the first period. A botched clearing attempt led to a point drive by Jones that Brandon Dubinsky tipped past Stolarz, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead with 1:52 remaining in the first.
The Flyers thought they had tied it with 1:12 to go in the first as Couturier’s shot from beyond the goal line bounced off Jones and past Bobrovsky, but Columbus challenged the call. It worked. The video showed the Flyers' Travis Konecny (two assists) was offside, so the goal was erased and the Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead into the second period.
The Flyers' much-maligned penalty kill continued to make strides. The unit killed three penalties in the second period, making the, 5 for 5 in the game and giving them 14 consecutive kills.
But the power play was out of sync. Again. It failed to capitalize on its three power plays, and is 0 for 8 in its last eight games.