Flyers cannot complete OT comeback vs. Devils

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Flyers' Travis Konecny
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny skates off the ice after the Flyers lost an overtime NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

There is a ton to unpack.

Joel Farabee was benched. Later, Garnet Hathaway was wrongfully disqualified with a game misconduct. John Tortorella didn’t put Farabee back into the game, essentially deciding to play only ten forwards.

“Are you asking me why I sat Joel? Because he didn’t listen. I’ll answer your question that way.”

John Tortorella; 11/30/2023

However, the Philadelphia Flyers (11-10-2) paced a solid special teams performance versus the New Jersey Devils (11-9-1). They finished 4/5 on the penalty kill and 2/6 on the powerplay but couldn’t complete the comeback in overtime.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

Alexander Holtz put the Devils ahead, 1-0, with 16:50 remaining in the first period. On an odd-man rush, a three-on-two, Michael McLeod dropped a short pass to Holtz before he beat Carter Hart. Travis Sanheim was a little deep into the offensive zone, and Farabee didn’t quite hustle on the backcheck. The earlier quote is how Tortorella went about discussing the benching, but he did speak a little more about the backchecking:

“There’s an odd-man on the first goal, but I wasn’t glued in on that through the first period. I don’t even remember how many chances we gave them, or how many we had. The tracking wasn’t an issue.”

John Tortorella; 11/30/2023

Jack Hughes extended the lead for New Jersey, 2-0, with 4:48 remaining in the first period. Sanheim whipped a centering pass that went across the ice. As soon as he saw Cam York engaged to the forecheck, Sanheim needed to move back toward the blue line. Instead, Tyler Toffoli breaks out with possession, and Sean Couturier is splitting between him and Hughes. Toffoli passed to Hughes, who rang the puck off the iron and past Hart.

Then, the officiating crew put both teams in a precarious position. Hathaway kept his skates on the ice, went shoulder to shoulder, and body-checked Luke Hughes to the ice simultaneously with the late whistle from the officiating crew. The sequence resulted in Hathaway receiving a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct, while Hughes was shaken up for the remainder of the first period. Not blowing the whistle until they did doesn’t prevent physicality on an otherwise dead play. Reprimanding Hathaway with the punishment he received doesn’t reward a hockey player for playing to the whistle, nor does it hold the NHL and the officiating responsible and liable for their poor decision-making.

“It’s a clean hit.”

John Tortorella; 11/30/2023

After killing the five-minute major penalty dealt to Hathaway, the Flyers were 3/3 against the best powerplay in the NHL. Tortorella added the repercussions “should have never been a five-minute penalty; it shouldn’t have been a penalty.”

Finally, Nick Seeler thwarted a Devils rush, holding his position long enough for Sean Walker to return on the backcheck. The first look on the rush wasn’t available, so Hart could make a solid glove save on a shot from a sharper angle. Two players who did have a good look on Akira Schmid along the crease were Bobby Brink and Owen Tippett, though they couldn’t convert their high-danger opportunities.

Tippett drew a minor penalty, sending Nico Hischier to the penalty box. York took a shot on goal from near the blue line, and it generated a rebound. Morgan Frost raced to the rebound, taking his shot on Schmid, 2-1, to breakthrough on the powerplay with 8:11 remaining in the second period.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Morgan Frost reacts after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As quickly as Frost helped put Philadelphia on the scoreboard, he served a minor penalty for hooking. It would prove costly; Toffoli added to the score, 3-1, with 15:29 remaining in the third period, tarnishing an otherwise stellar performance by Hart and the penalty-killing units. Eventually, after all the concentrated attack on Hart, he let one through on a rebound attempt.

Walker threaded the puck past Schmid, 3-2, to answer with 5:00 remaining in the third period. Travis Konecny and Couturier were on the forecheck before Walker threw his shot on goal. If you read our preview for this battle and selected the prop bet suggested, you would’ve cashed out on Couturier scoring a point.

For a limited time, the Flyers were on a five-on-three powerplay. New Jersey got Hughes back onto the ice, but while Brendan Smith remained in the box, Tyson Foerster deflected a shot by Scott Laughton past Schmid, 3-3, with :57 remaining in the third period. His goal induced one of the louder pops at the Wells Fargo Center in the 2023-2024 season.

“We never gave up; battled back and got the point. That was big.”

Tyson Foerster; 11/30/2023

Almost immediately into the overtime period, there was a Hughes rush with Konecny caught in the middle. Luke, who took the hit from Hathaway earlier, scored the game-winner, 4-3, in overtime.

Next Up

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers begin consecutive games against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena on Saturday at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)