Flyers dominated and swept by the Kraken, 6-2

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Kraken's Oliver Bjorkstrand
Seattle Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Last night, the Seattle Kraken had their way with the Philadelphia Flyers, sweeping the 2022-2023 season series.

John Tortorella stressed offensive and defensive structure to his lineup since their last loss on home ice to the Kraken. He summarized the 4-3 defeat on Super Bowl Sunday as a poor performance, likely one of the worst the Flyers had all season.

“That’s probably as bad as we’ve played all year long, other than the first few minutes.”

John Tortorella; 2/15/2023

At Climate Pledge Arena, Philadelphia proved that Tortorella might’ve spoken too soon. Seattle dominated every aspect of a hockey game.

“They [Kraken] were just playing better in all the areas. They just wanted it more. They’re a fast team, and we knew that coming in, and we just let them do their thing.”

Travis Konecny; 2/17/2023

The bottom fell out in this game, starting with a costly turnover in the first period by Kevin Hayes. Jared McCann took the puck away from Hayes, turned defense into a two-on-one rush, and elected to shoot on Carter Hart to lead 1-0. After eleven minutes in the first period, Nicolas Deslauriers fought Jamie Oleksiak. The Flyers had as many fights as they did shots on goal in the first. Before the end of the period, Yanni Gourde deflected a puck past Hart to extend the lead, 2-0, meaning the Kraken had more goals than Philadelphia had shots.

A total lack of discipline and structure fed into an even worse period than the first. Justin Schultz powered a one-timer past Hart after Scott Laughton served for hooking; 3-0. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored on a breakaway set up by Gourde for a 4-0 lead, where Tortorella decided to pull Hart. Samuel Ersson took over, but Gourde scored his second, extending the lead to 5-0 with a powerplay goal while Patrick Brown served for tripping. The only positive of the second period was the Flyers accumulating six shots instead of just one.

“I took an [offensive zone] hooking penalty. [The puck] ends up in the back of the net. Stuff like that you can’t do, especially against a quick team who moves the puck.”

Scott Laughton; 2/17/2023

Travis Konecny and Noah Cates were the only two skaters that broke through for Philadelphia in an otherwise crushing defeat. A turn-and-shoot by Cates first deflected off of Konecny to get them on the board, spoiling a shutout for Philipp Grubauer, 5-1. Matthew Beniers did force a takeaway on Konecny, scoring on a two-on-one rush similar to McCann in the first period; 6-1. Bouncing back, Konecny took advantage of another incoming puck from Cates that bounced wide of the net, forcing Grubauer out of position to stop Konecny from slipping the rebound, 6-2. Seattle cruised to a victory.

“There wasn’t a response. It was terrible. That’s all I got for you. It was bad.”

Travis Konecny; 2/17/2023

Structural Collapse (-)

Following the game, James van Riemsdyk cited the performance as “the worst game of the year.” The Kraken took advantage of every misfire, stripping the Flyers of their spirit.

More alarming to the state of the locker room was Tortorella. Giana Han pressed for answers from the head coach following the loss, which Tortorella mostly refused. He did drop an interesting nugget:

“It doesn’t do any good to tell you what’s going on in the room right now.”

John Tortorella; 2/17/2023

From the perspective of a head coach, that much is fair. It does point a finger to the locker room, however. Tortorella is keeping all of that close to his chest; what needs resolution behind closed doors remains behind closed doors. His answer is uniform to what was said earlier this season and what he reiterated before the end of his short scrum; Tortorella will not comment on his team after such a performance.

In a season that already featured a ten-game losing streak, this 6-2 loss is another low point.

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)