Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers (5-2-1) dropped the overtime decision to the Carolina Hurricanes (5-2-1) on home ice, 4-3.
Despite a stout effort in the final two periods, the Flyers couldn’t hold onto the lead in the last two minutes of regulation. They earned a point on home ice against one of the most stubborn opponents they’ll encounter.
Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook were a matchup nightmare for Philadelphia. On a line with Jesper Fast, Martinook was already an opposing player of interest. The Hurricanes’ third line accounted for two goals in the first period, setting the stage for a comeback.
Then, the Flyers breathed life in the second period. Nicolas Deslauriers, who continuously provides pace-changing minutes, was rewarded with his first goal on Broad Street. A powerplay goal followed his efforts when Owen Tippett attacked the net with Travis Konecny. Earlier in the week, Tortorella challenged Tippett to improve his play away from the puck, evolving away from being a scorer. Tippett played his game, but Tortorella liked what he saw against a formidable test:
“The next step for Tip is he has to learn to play quicker. It’s a good lesson against that team. That’s a team that’s on you all the time. At times he wasn’t really anticipating the next play, but I like where he’s going.”John Tortorella; 10/29/2022
Wade Allison and Martin Necas traded late goals in the third period. Philadelphia and Carolina each highlighted a forward line that carried the bulk of the load. The bottom six moved the needle for both clubs during regulation. In overtime, Brent Burns scored the game-winner. On the tail end of a back-to-back, Carter Hart received his first blemish of the 2022-2023 season, 4-3.
“Half-full. Not half-empty.”
That was the message Tortorella had for the media. The Flyers lost a tightly contested game, but he was very proud of the response from his roster. There are more positives to take away from this overtime loss than negatives.
One of the first things Tortorella mentioned is that he believed the second and third periods last night were some of the best played by Philadelphia “in quite a while.”
During the second period, the script flipped in favor of the Flyers. Instead of committing penalties and using the valuable regulation time to kill the man-down disadvantage, they went on the powerplay and converted. Turnovers were limited, which dug a hole in the first period. More importantly, special teams created scoring chances, which were few and far between during the opening period.
All seemed smooth sailing in observing the intensity Philadelphia maintained. It took one lapse of judgment with the puck on Necas’ stick, scoring on Hart while in a poke check reach of Konecny and Travis Sanheim.
What makes the Flyers dangerous are all the Tortorella teachings. They likely won’t out-possess or outshoot many opponents. They will be the best-conditioned skaters on the ice, however. In the second half of regulation play, Philadelphia began to craft more scoring chances, dictating the pace. The interesting question becomes; at what point do the players’ personalities and mental tenacity become as valuable as superstar talent?
The amount of minutes, or lack thereof, provides a context clue of the trust level Tortorella has in a few of his players. Shortening the bench is already a bold statement made. He did as much to Konecny and Kevin Hayes versus the San Jose Sharks. Recently, Wade Allison saw his ice time diminish versus the Florida Panthers. Last night, he was on the ice for 6:13, the shortest of any skater.
“When you get out there, do your best. Stay ready because you never know when you’re going to go out there.”Wade Allison; 10/29/2022
Allison was active during the tilt. During his limited sample size, he notched a goal and an assist, acted on rebounds by Antti Raanta, forced a takeaway, and landed three hits. He maximized his minutes, especially with Lukas Sedlak. Still, Tortorella sees Allison is trying to find who he is in the NHL:
“He still has to learn who he is. He makes way too many lateral plays, which causes turnovers and momentum swings in games. I’m happy he did some things below the hash mark; that’s where he should be.”John Tortorella; 10/29/2022
Officially, Allison did not find the stat sheet with a giveaway to his credit. The praise he received for winning a board battle and securing the secondary assist on the Deslauriers’ goal cast a light on what Tortorella expects of Allison. Below the hash marks is where he belongs.
In his career, Allison averages 12:53 of on-ice time per game. In 2022-2023, he averages 13:27, which generates a reasonable cause for concern when he is on the ice for less than half of those average minutes.
Following tonight’s performance, he should see an uptick against the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia Flyers begin a three-game road trip, starting with a back-to-back against the Rangers, followed by the Toronto Maples Leafs on Wednesday. They’ll finish a short tour of Canada against the Ottawa Senators and former captain Claude Giroux.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)