Flyers hulk smashed in 2-1 overtime loss to Predators

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Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, right, reacts after giving up the game winning goal scored by Nashville Predators’ Matt Duchene (95) during overtime of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

It was Marvel Theme Night here at the Wells Fargo Center, and the Philadelphia Flyers wanted to send the Nashville Predators back to (Hulk) Smashville with a loss. However, despite a defensive performance to rival the Avengers, the Flyers fell short just 34 seconds into overtime 2-1. Yet it was still thrilling as the Guardians of Wells Fargo Center put up a complete performance, and Hollywood Hayes got a chance to be back in the spotlight.

Opening up the movie

Not a ton of offensive play here from the Flyers in the first phase (it’s a Marvel thing), and Carter Hart already had Nashville put up slightly more of a try here. Three shots on goal within the first 10 minutes of play, but thankfully, Philly’s defense was there to help him out. I know we’re all shocked Hart wasn’t left blowing in the wind like an air sock. It’s a scary change, but change is good.

Faceoffs continued to be a bit of an issue for the Flyers, winning just 33.3 percent of them in the first stanza. Compared with Nashville’s 66.7, there’s no doubt that the Predators had the better time with puck possession. Philadelphia, though made it tough for Nashville to capitalize on any of that. Despite leading in possession, the Preds were unable to make it through the layers of Philly’s defense. Isn’t that a nice change? 10 minutes into the first frame, there were five TOTAL shots on goal.

Five. From both squads. F-I-V-E.

But like any good Marvel movie, both teams though clearly waited until the final 90 seconds to bring out the excitement of the period. Travis Sanheim, with a bad misplay, allowed Yakov Trenin a chance, but Hart stuffed it. The defensive play turned into end-on-end action but a big moment for injury for Nashville in the final seconds. Filip Forsberg took a clean hit from Rasmus Ristolainen, but he went down in an awkward fashion. Forsberg hit his head and needed help to get off the ice.

The plot thickens

Gloves came off right away, just 13 seconds into the second stanza, as Tanner Jeannot and Nicholas Deslauriers just dropped gloves, likely due to the Risto hit at the end of the first period. Both men were sent off to the Bad Boy Box for a five-minute major.

We had a four-on-four situation to start the second.

But hey, leave it to the catfish club to score first, right? Nashville strikes first about two minutes into the second stanza. Preds’ Nino Niederreiter with the opening goal of the game and his 14th of the season, assisted by Matt Duchene.

Oh but those pesky penalties came back to rear their ugly head. Cam York was sent to the box for two minutes for holding. First power play of the game for Nashville. Yet thankfully, the Flyers’ penalty kill unit doing the lord’s (read: John Tortorella’s) work here.

The Flyers (and also, I assume, Torts as well) always seem to have an answer. Philadelphia equalized about halfway through the frame thanks to a backhanded dangle by our own star, Hollywood Kevin Hayes. Joel Farabee and Patrick Brown were credited with the assist.

Really good feed from Farabee in the neutral zone to spring Hayesy too. Farabee’s really scuttling recently, and that was a welcome jolt of creativity from him. ANOTHER lovely little fight between Farabee and Nashville’s Juuso Parssinen, both with five minutes for fighting. Bad Boys, what are you going to do? Farabee had Noah Cates‘s back after the hit by Parssinen.

Nice way to end the frame tied at one goal a piece.

The (not quite yet) final fight

The third and (not quite final) part of this Nashville-Philadelphia movie was…moderately eventful. Some decent shots were taken at Hart and Nashville’s Juuse Saro during the first 40 minutes of play. Nothing about that changed in the third. Both of them handled a total of 24 shots each in the 60 minutes of regulation.

James van Riemsdyk with a solid snapshot around at the 15-minute mark, and Saro initially made the glove save. Yet it bobbled around and dropped, but the Nashville defenders cleared it out. Not before van Riemsdyk is against the boards being restrained to not fight.

van Riemsdyk was awfully chippy in this game. Hollywood clearly took the “please score goals” to heart and fired a banger of a shot at Saro with five minutes left. It was just way too high, but it came in hot. Philadelphia is not shying away from taking any shots they can on Saro. Nashville’s defense is a bit Swiss-cheese-like, and there was a more sustained effort by both squads in the frame.

Tied at one goal each, this thriller headed to a briefly cinematic overtime.

Avengers (Flyers) assemble!

Well, if this was a movie, it would have one very quick ending. That was a quick way to end that game. Nashville’s Matt Duchene beat Hart with a nifty shot just 34 seconds into overtime. He sent it home the high slot, and the Flyers fell to Nashville 2-1 in overtime.

To the surprise of some, Tortorella was overall satisfied, at least with the play in this game. Defensively, the Flyers have typically struggled, but Torts recognized this is more how he wants the team to function:

Our guys are going out of the way to make sure they defend the proper way, and a lot of them did that.

John Tortorella, 2/11/23

Gina’s Gem of the Game

This one might be surprising, but the Diamond of the Tilt is going to Joel Farabee. The man is not known for typically dropping gloves, and yet he arose to the occasion when needed. After a hit to Cates in the second period, Farabee took to the offense and defended his teammate. Not a typical action many in the press or fans see out of Farabee. Yet Tortorella was happy with the fact this was becoming a factor in Joel’s skill set.

He’s sneaky tough, Joel…and that’s what the team’s developed into.

John Tortorella on Joel Farabee, 2/11/23

Next game

The Philadelphia Flyers will face off against the Seattle Kraken on Super Bowl Sunday at 12:30 pm at Wells Fargo Center.