Flyers fall 3-2 at home against red-hot Devils

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Flyers Devils Hockey
New Jersey Devils’ Dawson Mercer (91) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers’ Tony DeAngelo (77) and Carter Hart (79) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Make it twelve losses in the last thirteen games. It’s never a way any team wants to continue a season. The Philadelphia Flyers hoped they could rebound against the league-leading New Jersey Devils. For the majority of the game, there was hope and optimism. Philadelphia sealed their fate with bad turnovers behind the net in their own zone.

Who’s afraid of the big, bad Devils?

In the first period, the brand of hockey everyone wanted all season was showcased by the Flyers. There were a few turnovers in the neutral zone by the Flyers in the opening minutes, but it wasn’t all in vain. Carter Hart blanked the Devils through the first twenty minutes.

Konecny contributed to the Flyers’ attack. He nearly snuck a puck glove side on Akira Schmid, but the save was made. New Jersey didn’t seem like they were playing their game in the first, on their heels against the Flyers, who had the first powerplay opportunity of the evening when Erik Haula served for hooking.

The Flyers’ powerplay is the worst in the NHL. “Life finds a way,” as Jeff Goldblum would say. Kevin Hayes dinged a puck off the post but would help create later. No conversion on the first extra-man opportunity.

Rasmus Ristolainen gave the Devils their first powerplay, serving for tripping. The Flyers answered with a stellar penalty kill by Nicolas Deslauriers, Scott Laughton, and Owen Tippett. At the end of one, the Flyers outshot the Devils, 12-4, without a score.

Powerplay finds a way

Who are these Flyers and can they stay? A minute into the second stanza, Ristolainen fed a chance to Joel Farabee, but the puck zipped just between him and Schmid. If the pass connected, it could’ve resulted in the first point of the season for Ristolainen. Schmid fended off an onslaught afterward from Hayes and Tony DeAngelo.

Despite the difference in the number of shots on goal, the Devils were the first to capitalize. Miles Wood centered the puck for Fabian Zutterlund after a turnover by Ivan Provorov, leaving a shot through the five-hole; a 1-0 lead.

Soon after, the Flyers went on their second powerplay when Brendan Smith served for hooking. With a chance to equalize with a five-on-four advantage, they did! Noah Cates and Hayes set up Travis Konecny to tie the game, 1-1. A tic-tac-Travis, if you will.

Next, Alexander Holtz visits the penalty box for slashing. Nothing came of the third powerplay attempt, where the Flyers finished 1/3 with the extra man. Justin Braun gave the Devils a chance to take back the lead, but Philadelphia shut down New Jersey with another penalty kill.

Turning over the game

Everything came back down to Earth in the third. The Devils scored less than two minutes into the period. Hart went to play the puck behind the net and turned it over. Dawson Mercer scored on an open net, while Wood got another assist. Hart commented on this after the game:

“We played a great game, the whole sixty. It just comes down to goaltending at the end of the night. I got to be better, I got to make a few more saves, make some better plays.”

Carter Hart; 12/3/2022

Things went from bad to worse. Jack Hughes battled with Provorov, shaking him off before breaking towards the net. His first shot attempt was saved by Hart, but the rebound snuck through the blocker side. New Jersey took a 3-1 lead.

It ain’t over in Philadelphia until the last cheesesteak is made. Lukas Sedlak turned quickly and shot while Schmid was screened. It was the third goal of the season for Sedlak, bringing the Flyers within one.

For a moment, it seemed the Flyers tied the game late. Morgan Frost and Schmid made incidental contact, calling off the goal. Farabee would’ve scored the equalizer if it stood. The fans at the Wells Fargo Center voraciously opposed the call, but it was the right decision. The Devils outlasted the Flyers, 3-2.

Tortorella answered questions for less than a minute after the game. Here’s what was shown by the Philadelphia Flyers’ social media account, omitting some extra as he left the podium:

Gina’s Gem of the Game

As you’ve noticed, Lady Hockey Whistledown makes goaltenders her gem often. This time, the ‘Diamond of the Tilt’ goes to Rasmus Ristolainen. He helped Hart in the crease and used his physicality to do his part in mitigating the Devils. He’s yet to notch a point this season in seventeen games, but he’s steadily improving in his role with the Flyers’ defense.

Up Next

The Philadelphia Flyers host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, December 5th. The puck drops at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)