Flyers make costly mistakes, give up seven to Ducks in loss

Flyers' Konecny, Foerster, Belpedio, and Laughton
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny, center left, looks on with his teammates after losing their first home game of the season following the NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Ducks won 7-4. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

A team that scores four goals usually wins. The Philadelphia Flyers gave it all away. A lack of execution and turnovers were the culprits, and Sam Ersson didn’t receive much help when he needed it.

“It’s easy to look at the goaltender and throw it all on him. Not a chance. That’s a team effort, tonight.”

John Tortorella; 10/28/2023

The Anaheim Ducks were more opportunistic, and they didn’t miss many chances. Throughout the game, they were the fastest team, generating many high-danger scoring chances.

Here’s how it all happened at the Wells Fargo Center:

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Anaheim Ducks

Travis Sanheim, in the defensive zone, fanned on a pass on the transition exit early in the first period. Despite a solid opening shift by the Flyers, this was the first of a handful of costly errors. Mason McTavish recovered the puck and fanned on a pass, too. Unfortunately for Ersson, the errant puck bounced off his pads, and Ryan Strome scored on the rebound, 0-1, with 19:02 remaining in the first period.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Nicolas Deslauriers, left, gets into a fight with Anaheim Ducks’ Ross Johnston, right, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Nicolas Deslauriers and Ross Johnston exchanged fists. On the chase to recapture momentum, Deslauriers did what worked in the opening seconds versus the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Feeding off of that exchange, Owen Tippett and Travis Konecny began buzzing all around the ice, generating shots in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, Ryan Poehling made an unforced error, flipping the puck out of play for a delay-of-game minor penalty.

Towards the final moments of the Ducks’ powerplay, the puck didn’t get deep enough out of the defensive zone. Frank Vatrano scored his first of the game from the slot, 0-2, receiving a pass from Cam Fowler after he knifed an entry on offense with 4:40 remaining in the first period. If Philadelphia could find a way to clean up errors and play with more discipline, they could’ve found their way back into this game.

“I don’t think we were flat. I thought we had real good energy. We whiff on one [and it] ends up in our net. Throw the puck out of the building [and] they score on the powerplay, and the whole complexion changes.”

John Tortorella; 10/28/2023

To begin the second period, the Flyers had the same chance to be as opportunistic as Anaheim. Ilya Lyubushkin served a minor penalty for holding as Lukas Dostal began to face some pressure. Tyson Foerster had a great shooting chance but opted to pass to Joel Farabee. Usually, that is a fine play because it would’ve generated a more dangerous scoring chance, creating an open-net look. It didn’t work out to plan, and lately, Tortorella challenged Foerster to shoot the puck.

Unable to convert, Vatrano took the air out of the room with his second of the game. After multiple replays from different angles, the officials decided Vatrano did get the puck past the goal line, 0-3, with 13:02 remaining in the second period. Ersson had his skate tucked inside the goalpost, and the puck had enough clearance over the line. During even-strength hockey, the Ducks were moving their pace north and south while Philadelphia stagnated east and west.

Almost immediately after, Adam Henrique poked another puck past Ersson. Nick Seeler missed a clearing attempt and fell, surrendering his defensive positioning. Max Jones recovered, placed a shot on goal, and Henrique cleaned up a rebound, 0-4, with 10:30 remaining in the second period.

Finally answering, Tippett rushed into the offensive zone count with Cam Atkinson. York tipped the puck away from Leo Carlsson, starting Tippett on the entry. Atkinson finished in close, 1-4, with 8:11 remaining in the second period.

Immediately after the upcoming faceoff, Konecny and Scott Laughton collided, and for a moment, the Flyers were effective in a three-on-five situation. They didn’t miss a shift, and the next scoring play, and both of their fingerprints all over it. Laughton took the puck in the neutral zone, bunted it to Sean Walker on the entry, and then Walker set up Konecny for the one-timer, 2-4, with 7:25 remaining in the second period. It was a good response from the forwards despite no wind in their sails and a tall task to complete a comeback facing them in the third.

Unfortunately, Bobby Brink served a minor penalty for cross-checking. On the penalty kill, Konecny tried to push the puck up to Laughton, two forwards who had generated offense. Strome intercepted the pass in the defensive zone and waited for Trevor Zegras before serving up another goal, 2-5, with 17:18 remaining in the third period. Philadelphia finished 0/2 on the penalty kill.

“There were a lot of ‘almost plays’ that didn’t work tonight. A couple of plays on the powerplay, we’re trying to get it to a guy, [and] they knock it down. Things didn’t work.”

John Tortorella; 10/28/2023

Goals kept snowballing. Soon after, Sam Carrick and Brett Leason created a two-on-one, letting Seeler make the first defensive move before reacting. Leason extended the lead after the puck bounced off Ersson and past the goal line, 2-6, with 16:46 remaining in the third period.

As a game similar to this unfolds, Tortorella might consider changing the lineup. He knows he wants to get Morgan Frost back in. Ersson, though the collapse isn’t just on him, has surrendered 12GA in 2GP (at DAL and vs. ANA). However, Tortorella will stand by Ersson, who has to figure it out in the NHL as the backup to Carter Hart.

“I don’t see Sam [Ersson] supplanting Hart as our number one guy. He is going to be our backup goalie, so he’s got to figure it out this way. He struggled in Dallas a little bit but had a really good third period. I’m going to forecast, I think he’s going to bounce back. I think he has that type of mentality.”

John Tortorella; 10/28/2023

Konecny kept lighting the lamp, scoring a powerplay goal, 3-6, with 10:09 remaining in the third period. Philadelphia finished 1/4 on the powerplay, but this was another jolt of energy for the bench.

Looking for consecutive powerplay goals, the Flyers had a chance to follow up with Carlsson in the penalty box. Henrique, who scored an opportunistic rebound goal earlier, caused a turnover and passed to Vatrano. On a shorthanded breakaway, Vatrano beat Ersson to complete his hat trick bid, 3-7, with 8:48 remaining in the third period.

Farabee added a late marker, assisted by Brink. Noah Cates helped move the puck through the neutral zone to Brink. From the slot, Brink pushed the puck outside to Farabee for the wrist shot finish that rang off the post and in, 4-7, with 3:00 remaining in the third period.

By the numbers, it is evident that Philadelphia was their worst enemy. They were leaky on the penalty kill, missed shooting chances on the powerplay, and turnovers allowed Anaheim to run away with a lead. Despite all those miscues, the Flyers outshot the Ducks 31-24 and dominated the faceoff circle with a 61% win rate.

Next Up

Up next, the Carolina Hurricanes come to Philadelphia on Monday, October 30th, at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)