After completely escaping a chaotic game against Anaheim over the weekend, the Flyers quickly turned around and ran right after the Cup-bound Carolina Hurricanes, but ultimately fell short with a 3-2 loss full of good chances they just had couldn’t put it down Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
They are now 4-4-1 this season and have lost their last two home games after getting off to a 3-0 start in games in South Philly.
“We need to keep a level head when we don’t get the results we want and take care of our business day by day,” head coach John Tortorella said after the game. “You can’t get too high when you win a few games. You can’t get too deep if you lose them. I know that’s a rule that everyone uses, but that’s so important to us this year in what we’re trying to do with this organization as we go about our business.”
Moving on to the Buffalo Sabers, who next come to town on Wednesday night, but before that, here are five thoughts on the performance against Carolina and a note on the tragic story from the weekend that rocked the hockey world. .
Matching the pace
In eight games, with a few exceptions, the Flyers have managed remarkably well to keep up with their opponents’ pace.
But Carolina? They have been a contender for the cup for years. They are full of talent and experience and you could see the difference between the two on Monday night.
The Hurricanes’ tempo was faster and their puck movement was more fluid. But the Flyers deserve a lot of credit here. They held on late into the night – even if it wasn’t always pretty – with a 2-1 lead in the first game and a 2-2 draw in the second until Tuevo Teravainen scored the game-winning goal just before the end.
It certainly took a few strokes of luck – the Canes got into the box five times – a reversed goal call on an offside call after a Philadelphia tackle and more consistent goaltending from Carter Hart as Carolina won the shootout with two goals, 23-16, but Die Flyers chased and took advantage of their chances as often as they could, generating a number of quality chances that just couldn’t find a way through.
“You’re just… I’m sitting behind the bench and we have these chances and we don’t take advantage of them,” Tortorella reflected after the game. “You know, sooner or later we’re just going to have to bury one of them against a really good hockey team. It comes back and bites us.”
And some of that was generated by Morgan Frost, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy substitute in the previous six games.
Frost formed the middle line with Travis Konecny and Tyson Foerster to start Monday, with Tortorella hoping he would help dictate the tempo against Carolina and provide some offense.
Konecny’s had no problems in that regard, with an eight-goal, 11-point lead entering the evening, but Foerster has struggled to perform so far and Frost simply hasn’t had a chance in recent weeks.
They nearly converted a pass that Frost passed through to Foerster at the top on a power play late in the second period, then scored on a hooking call in the third after Foerster took a shot off the boards through the neutral zone, giving Frost catapulted into the offensive zone with a header in a one-on-one with Jordan Staal.
Staal tied him up with his stick as he attempted the wrap-around attempt, putting the Flyers back on a power play that ultimately had no effect once again – they went 0-5.
Since being cut two games into the season, Frost has found himself in a strange situation and stayed that way for quite a while, but he seemed to handle his time off the ice with aplomb overall and showed what he can do offensively on Monday night into the lineup, even late, when he, Foerster and Konecny kept trying to push for the game-winning goal.
Kudos to Tortorella too. He knew he had to find a strong offensive role for Frost to get back into the lineup, and that’s what he did – having him on the fourth line wouldn’t do anyone any favors – although it came at the expense of Ryan Poehling, who had done that, but with reason.
The target in the fourth row
The PHD line of Poehling, Garnet Hathaway and Nic Deslauriers had become the Flyers’ established and physically experienced fourth line, but as Tortorella noted after Monday’s morning skate, every line in the modern NHL has to contribute offensively.
And while that line created some of their own chances, they didn’t finish any of them.
When Poehling went to change that, he was scratched and Scott Laughton fell to the middle of the fourth line, creating the opportunity for Frost further up the lineup.
And the fourth line finally scored when Deslauriers stormed all the way up the ice through everyone in white and red until he distributed the ball to Hathaway at the tip for the tuck home, you know, just like everyone thought it would be.
Jokes aside, it was a really great performance and gave the Flyers the lead for a while.
Hard in his 200th start
Carter Hart made his 200th NHL start on Monday night and gave the Flyers another outstanding performance between the goals, but 31 of 34 shots saved weren’t enough to get the job done this time.
However, he has given the Flyers a chance in almost every game so far this season, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask of your No. 1 goaltender.
That save against Carolina’s Martin Necas midway through the third period to keep the score tied was huge:
But he probably wants that back: And Terevainen’s game-winning goal late in the evening simply left him stuck in no man’s land after the puck slipped out in front. It’s hard to save.
But he helped keep it a game until the end, against one of the best clubs in the NHL in recent years. This is not an easy task.
A quick bonus before we have to get heavy here.
Bryce Harper was present in the front row.
And Wally too! The Wells Fargo center let him in!
He was even a guest of honor!
Some context on what an alligator does in a sports arena HERE.
A moment for Adam
WARNING FOR DESCRIPTION OF GRAPHIC CONTENT
Before the puck dropped Monday night, the Flyers observed a moment of silence for Adam Johnson, who died Saturday after his throat was slashed by a skate a freak accident while playing for the Nottingham Panthers of the EIHL in England. He was 29.
Johnson played for the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, during the 2021-22 season, but his sudden death sent a devastating shockwave throughout the hockey world and now appears to be sparking discussions about mandatory neck guards in all leagues everywhere, including the NHL.
On Sunday, several players for the Providence Bruins of the AHL took the ice with neck protection, The EIHL made it mandatory on Monday, effective December 31st in the wake of Johnson’s death (with the strong recommendation to begin wearing immediately) and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported that several NHL players she has spoken to are also considering wearing neck guards.
And as someone who has played my entire life but hasn’t worn a neck brace in years, I personally ordered one on Sunday evening. Johnson was my age. It was an extremely sobering wake-up call.
Ice hockey is a beautiful game, but I think we often lose sight of how incredibly dangerous it actually is, and the risk only increases as the level increases and the speed increases.
The sport doesn’t get safer as you get older, but the equipment requirements become less severe – neck guards tend to no longer be mandatory once you reach high school, and by the time you’re out of college there’s a face cage, a half guard or nothing else but the helmet becomes your reputation.
And if you step away from that for a moment, it’s crazy to think about, considering there are ten people out there (plus two goalkeepers and the referees) flying around at once with knives at their feet.
I love hockey. This game is great, but it shouldn’t cost anyone their lives.
I don’t know what happens next. Historically, hockey has been slow to respond to many things.
However, the immediate precedent that comes to mind is that neck guards follow the same path as the half shield.
They become mandatory for all junior, amateur and minor leagues and then are adopted into the NHL where after a few years every player wears them because it just becomes the norm.
At least that’s my bet.
Is that the correct answer? I don’t know at the moment.
What I do know is this: This is the topic that has crossed every single hockey player’s mind more than once, but in reality they have never wanted to have a serious conversation about it.
But now we are here. It’s serious. And it’s tragic.
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