“What’s happened with Ers [Ersson]; go to his last three starts. He was okay two starts ago, he was a little bit better the start after that, and he was better tonight. The way I look at it, his game’s coming. Tonight, he just looked so much more calm. He was in position. A lot of pucks hit him. He had some good battle; they were in front of our net a lot tonight, too. He fought his way through it. This was certainly his best game that he’s played for us this year.”John Tortorella; 11/10/2023
John Tortorella emphasized the powerplay. Philadelphia converts 8.3% of their chances with an extra man. Tortorella shifted the lineup, reworking mechanics in hopes of unlocking powerplay scoring.
“Frosty’s [Frost] in a spot where if he’s not playing in the top-six, I don’t have a spot for him. He’s not killing penalties, I’m not going to put him between D-Lo [Deslauriers] and Garny [Hathaway]; I just don’t think he fits there. It limits situations as far as where I find him. He’s going to play on the powerplay, he’s going to be put into an offensive situation, and I just need to be able to hang my hat on something as we go through there because I think Poehls [Poehling], in his role, has done a good job; a penalty killer, plays center, big, big, good skater. I have to worry about the mechanics of a lineup, too, when I’m playing people and sitting people out. I don’t enjoy sitting anybody out, but I have to make those decisions.”John Tortorella; 11/9/2023
Did the strategy work? From the ‘Duck Pond,’ here’s how it all went down:
Philadelphia Flyers at Anaheim Ducks
Ersson seemed dialed in throughout. He turned away a quality shot from Mason McTavish, a wrist shot from a backdoor feed.
Sean Couturier cleaned up a rebound created by Yegor Zamula, 1-0, with 15:03 remaining in the first period. McTavish had possession in the defensive zone, gave the puck away, and it turned into a lead for the Flyers.
Ilya Lyubushkin tripped Garnet Hathaway and served a minor penalty. Philadelphia went on the powerplay for the first time. Sean Walker put pressure on Lukas Dostal, shooting from the point. Tyson Foerster worked hard along the crease, but Dostal kept the puck out of the net.
Cam Atkinson scored on a deflection, 2-0, with 7:29 remaining in the first period. Foerster kept possession on offense, engaging Max Jones along the boards on the forecheck, then sweeping the puck behind the net. Travis Sanheim took the deflected shot.
Couturier tripped McTavish and served a minor penalty. Sanheim dished a perfect lead pass to Atkinson for a shorthanded breakaway, but Dostal made the save on the backhand.
Louie Belpedio scored his second of the season, 3-0, with 17:27 remaining in the second period. Belpedio made a great effort, beginning with the puck in the neutral zone and playing the puck to Joel Farabee for the entry. Farabee used his vision and noticed Belpedio had an angle on Dostal by the crease for the quick stick.
Luckily for the Ducks, a goal was overturned. Walker made a distinct kicking motion at the puck, deflecting a shot by Foerster. Instead of increasing the lead, the Flyers remained ahead by three. Without the kick by Walker, the puck wouldn’t have found its target.
Leo Carlsson put Anaheim on the scoreboard, taking a skillful shot on the powerplay, 3-1, with 6:45 remaining in the second period. Morgan Frost cross-checked Jones and served a minor penalty. Carlsson swept a shot on Ersson after a smooth pass from Alex Killorn.
“Too many penalties. The one at the end of the second period was huge, and then at the end of the game, right at the end. We did a good job, but there were some ebbs and flows to that game.”John Tortorella; 11/10/2023
Zamula flipped the puck out of play, delaying the game, and served a minor penalty. Carlsson put pressure on Ersson again on the powerplay, but Ersson one-upped Carlsson with a glove save. Walker didn’t turn the puck over as much as the puck deflected off of the official’s skate behind the net.
Sanheim controlled a rebound after a puck-on-pad style shot by Farabee. Sweeping from along the left boards, Sanheim took the inside route to the post, crossed into the crease past Dostal, 4-1, with 12:21 remaining in the third period. It was his second point of the evening after extending the lead.
“That’s who he [Sanheim] is now. He’s a different person. I didn’t get a sniff of that last year. That’s who he’s become, and I think he feels that good about himself to make plays like that. Right on through, he’s eating up a ton of minutes for us and has tried to make a difference every time he steps on the ice.”John Tortorella; 11/10/2023
Carlsson was back at it again, unleashing a one-timer set by Killorn, 4-2, with 9:26 remaining in the third period. Transitioning on offense, Pavel Mintyukov found Carlsson on a long stretch pass. Carlsson entered with the puck, dished to Killorn, and finished with the one-timer that clanked off the post and into the net.
Owen Tippett couldn’t be silenced. Frost deflected a pass by Frank Vatrano, and Tippett recovered. Making a move around Vatrano, Tippett had the entire net at the tip of his stick, beating Dostal, 5-2, with 6:53 remaining in the third period.
“I hope that helps him [Tippett]. I don’t think he’s been playing bad. I think he was playing better a couple of weeks ago when he wasn’t scoring to where he is now when he wasn’t scoring. His game has dipped a little bit. Hopefully, this will help him. A huge goal [and] he had another chance that hits the crossbar. [He] did some good things on the wall, also.”John Tortorella; 11/10/2023
Scott Laughton hooked Jackson LaCombe and served a minor penalty. Late in regulation, Dostal was pulled to give Anaheim a six-on-four advantage on the powerplay. Troy Terry found Carlsson through the crease for an easy finish, 5-3, with 1:28 remaining in the third period. Carlsson completed the hat trick bid.
Tippett added the empty-net goal, 6-3, with 1:01 remaining in the third period. Laughton made up for the penalty with an assist via defense, like Frost earlier. A defensive faceoff victory allowed Tippett to move up the ice and add the insurance goal.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Los Angeles Kings on November 11th at 10:30pm.