Despite Kevin Hayes doing what he does best, Flyers lose to Lightning (and a cocky fan) in NHL 20


The Flyers were set for a huge showdown March 12 against the Lightning at Amalie Arena before the NHL season was suspended that afternoon because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Both clubs were in the top six of the NHL standings prior to the league's stoppage. How would that matchup have played out?

We gave it a virtual whirl Thursday night as NBC Sports Philadelphia aired an NHL 20 simulation of the game with the dynamic trio of Jim Jackson, Keith Jones and Taryn Hatcher on the call.

After picking up victories over the Penguins and Rangers in the first two simulations, the Flyers finally dropped one with a 5-4 decision to the Lightning.

The Flyers had problems with Mikhail Sergachev (one goal, two assists) and Nikita Kucherov (one goal, one assist). They also had to deal with this rather cocky Tampa Bay fan.

Did this guy bring a whiteboard to the arena or 18 signs for every Flyers skater to possibly go to the box? It's kind of funny to see him telling Philippe Myers, a 23-year-old rookie, to retire.

"That's not very nice," Jones said of the JVR sign during the second period.

"He just held one up to you and I," Jones said later to Jackson.

Now that's crossing the line.

The Flyers had this gentleman pretty quiet when they raced out to a 2-0 lead during the first period behind goals from Ivan Provorov (power play) and Scott Laughton (shorthanded).

This season, Provorov leads all NHL defensemen with seven power play goals. Provorov even did his signature fist pump here, while this one Flyers fan clearly travels well.

To no surprise, Kevin Hayes led the shorthanded charge. Since 2016-17, Hayes owns 16 shorthanded points. Only one NHL player has more in that span — Brad Marchand with 19.

Hayes fed Laughton to cushion the Flyers' advantage. Laughton's teammates mobbed him in celebration.

With a second-period goal from Tyler Pitlick, the Flyers grabbed a 3-1 advantage but then Tampa Bay turned it on in a hurry.

Carter Verhaeghe trimmed the Flyers' lead to 3-2 before the Lightning stole the advantage in a 23-second span. Kucherov knotted the score on a nasty move and Alex Killorn handed Tampa Bay the lead with a tip-in tally.

Also, what is this thing?

Kucherov and Sergachev connected for a third-period dagger as the Lightning put 47 shots overall on Carter Hart.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored a greasy goal to pull the Flyers within one but they could never net the equalizer.

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