After a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, the Philadelphia Flyers traveled up the turnpike to face the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Saturday.
Before the puck dropped, it was announced that Cam York and James van Riemsdyk would be sitting out. John Tortorella wanted to give York a day to reset after a rough go of games, and van Riemsdyk was given a maintenance day.
The Flyers were going to need to find an extra gear to keep up with the Devils. Unfortunately, one wasn’t found, and the Flyers were dominated for the second night in a row. At the hands of the Devils, the Flyers were thrashed, 7-0. Philadelphia has been shutout for the fourth time in 2022-2023. In February, the Flyers finished 2-7-1. In their previous two games, they’ve been outscored 12-2.
Flyers lose momentum early, a breakdown
In a scoreless first period, Philly appeared to have a jump in them. They led the Devils in shots and were generating chances. Unsuccessful on the power play in the first, momentum was starting to appear.
In the second period, the Devils started to take over. Jonas Siegenthaler broke the goalless seal. With traffic in front of Samuel Ersson, Siegenthaler’s shot from the point had eyes and ended up in the back of the net.
Next, Jack Hughes doubled the lead. After Scott Laughton was stripped of the puck in the offensive zone, Hughes found himself on a breakaway and beat Ersson five-hole. With his 36th goal of the year, Hughes continues to take the league by storm in 2022-2023.
Nick Seeler and Michael McLeod dropped the gloves with 9:15 remaining in the second. An even tilt, Seeler tried to spark a momentum swing for his team, but one was never found.
Continuing his hot streak, Dawson Mercer scored in his sixth straight game. Again, poor puck control by the Flyers in the neutral zone caused a turnover. Nico Hischier beat Rasmus Ristolainen to the puck and dished a pass to a wide-open Mercer who beat Ersson.
Within the first five minutes of the third period, the goals kept coming from the Devils. Hischier entered the offensive zone and sniped a shot from the right faceoff dot, beating Ersson.
Dougie Hamilton was next to join the goal-scoring party. Making it 5-0, Hamilton zipped a shot through traffic, beating Ersson.
With 6:11 remaining, Jesper Bratt made it 6-0. A beautiful spinning pass from Hughes found Bratt on the right side of Ersson, who tapped the puck home.
Just over two minutes later, Nathan Bastian added to New Jersey’s blowout. Redirecting a shot from Kevin Bahl, Bastian scored in his first game back from injury, 7-0.
First loss for Ersson
Entering Saturday, Ersson was perfect in all six of his previous starts, 6-0-0. Now, Ersson is 6-1-0. A poor game all-around from the Flyers, it will need to be brushed off as the team continues to handle adversity.
“You got to take it on the chin. This is never fun. You never want to lose a game like this, but got to be able to handle it when it happens.”
Samuel Ersson; 2/25/2023
More than once throughout the 60 minutes, turnovers costed the Flyers. They struggled in the neutral zone and the Devils applied constant pressure.
“We’re not there with that team. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s not a criticism of our team, but we’re not anywhere near there right now. This was probably them a few years ago, Jersey, when they were going through their process.”
John Tortorella; 2/25/2023
Elliot Desnoyers debut (+)
After Travis Konecny was placed on injured reserve Saturday morning, Elliot Desnoyers was called up and made his NHL debut. Desnoyers recorded 14:53 of ice time, two shots, and received praise from Tortorella afterward. A promising prospect in the system, Desnoyers impressed in a dismal game.
“I thought he was terrific. He was involved; he banged. He wasn’t intimidated by anything.”
John Tortorella; 2/25/2023
The schedule does not get any easier for the Flyers. Next Wednesday, they host the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center. The puck drops at 7:30pm.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Adam Hunger