Flyers drowned out by Kraken in OT, 2-1

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Flyers' Scott Laughton
Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Laughton, left, celebrates his goal with Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers (19-11-5) drowned in the Puget Sound, taking the overtime loss, 2-1. The Seattle Kraken (14-14-9), after securing the win at Climate Pledge Arena, will visit the Wells Fargo Center to complete the season series on February 10th.

John Tortorella echoed a similar sentiment about his team as Oliver Bjorkstrand said about his teammates. Bjorkstrand admitted a big help for closing out games is getting consistent contributions throughout the lineup. Tortorella highlighted the defensive effort of his lineup, especially from the night before in Vancouver:

“I’ll just go to last night. It’s something we really discussed before the game, this time of year, how we’re going to have to be better there. I thought we were really good. We had good sticks, we were patient; one of our better games away from the puck. We’ve won some games lately, but we’ve been up and down as far as away from the puck.”

John Tortorella; 12/29/2023

Here are a few takeaways from last night’s loss in Seattle:

Road Warriors

Underdogs on the back-to-back, the Flyers took at least a point with them in each game. They handled the Vancouver Canucks, and took the consolation point in a competitive battle with the Kraken.

“[We] played hard; a little bit on fumes. Our game, from the start, started going down. When they scored the goal, I felt we played better. [If] you asked me if we three out of four to start this trip, I’d be jumping up and down.”

John Tortorella; 12/30/2023

Collectively, Philadelphia is 7-3-2 in games scheduled back-to-back in 2023-2024.

Both teams were defensively sound, a trait alluded to in pregame comments. In even-strength hockey, Philadelphia and Seattle were at a stalemate. A hallmark of a Tortorella lineup is how skaters keep their heads in the game, grinding to compete. It was enough to take a point in the standings, just not two.

“I have no bitches about the effort. To start our trip, I’m shitting my pants. This is a hard trip coming off a break, and then getting on a plane for five hours and playing two in a row. [The] guys handled themselves well.”

John Tortorella; 12/30/2023

On the road, the Flyers are 11-4-4. The Kraken blemished the road record when Philadelphia scored first in a game. Until last night, when Justin Schultz scored the game-winner, the record was 9-0-0.

Carter Hart (+)

Carter Hart started the back end of the back-to-back against Joey Daccord. On the night, he saved 27/29 shots on goal (93.1%SV), only surrendering a powerplay goal in the third period to Vince Dunn. Tyson Foerster served a minor penalty for hooking that proved costly.

Hart denied numerous chances from Jordan Eberle, Kailer Yamamoto, and Tomas Tatar, to name a few. Between this start and his finish in Vancouver, Hart seems to have found his groove from before he missed time due to an illness.

“[He] played really well. It’s a big reason why we’re finding a way to get points. Both our goalies have played well.”

John Tortorella; 12/30/2023

A shared feeling between Tortorella and Hart was that the energy on the ice was giant. Checking is a point of emphasis in the back-to-back, and the Flyers are hammering that home. Forwards are getting pucks deep into the offensive zone, and defensemen are playing a physical brand of hockey. That sort of team play helps goaltending:

“We did a real good job tying up sticks [and] blocking shots; TK [Konecny] with a big block in the second [and] Seels [Seeler] with a couple big blocks. We did a good job of boxing guys out, and if pucks did get through, not giving them second opportunities.”

Carter Hart; 12/30/2023

This season, Hart is 9-6-3 with a 2.54GAA and 91.5%SV.

Power Kill

It’s incredible. With a man advantage on the powerplay, Philadelphia scored 12 goals all season, led by Foerster. Down a man on the penalty kill, or ‘power-kill’ with Brad Shaw running the operation, they’ve scored nine, led by Travis Konecny. His latest came last night in the first period, 1-0, with 3:39 remaining. Scott Laughton carried the puck after deflecting a pass to begin the rush attempt, then notched the primary assist on the finish by Konecny.

“It just happens that way. It’s been a very important part of our early success here; it scores big goals. Especially, it offsets when our powerplay struggles a bit. I wish I could pretend to be smart and tell you, but I have no clue.”

John Tortorella; 12/30/2023

From purely a coaching standpoint, Tortorella remained consistent in the sport from 1986-1987, when he was the head coach of the Virginia Lancers in the ACHL. He is dumbfounded about the state of the Flyers special teams but knows the penalty kill is firing on all cylinders. Konecny and Laughton play a mighty role in a penalty kill ranked fourth in the NHL.

“We’ve penalty killed now for two years, or a year and a half, and read well off each other. When we play five-on-five, we usually have pretty good chemistry; just try to read off each other, a lot of good communication, and our [defense] do a great job of moving pucks up when we get going. We found a way to get one shorthanded.”

Scott Laughton; 12/30/2023

Special teams were a highlighted strength for Philadelphia entering last night. Their penalty kill matched well against a middling powerplay. However, their greatest strength was also their greatest weakness. Konecny scored a shorthanded goal, but Dunn kept the receipt to nullify any special team advantage.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Calgary Flames tomorrow at 8pm.

(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)