Flyers dominated by Oilers, McDavid to split season series

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Flyers at Oilers
Philadelphia Flyers celebrate a goal as Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl (29) skates past during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers (19-13-5) clawed back from a two-goal deficit against the Edmonton Oilers (19-15-1), but Connor McDavid took over the game, cruising to a 5-2 win.

McDavid began the scoring for the Oilers, 1-0, going five-hole on Carter Hart. Then, in the second period, McDavid notched his 900th career NHL point with the primary assist from the boards to Zach Hyman cutting to the crease.

Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee had their fingerprints on each Flyers goal. Konecny took the chip pass from Farabee to score on Stuart Skinner. Then, Farabee dropped the puck back to Konecny before he created space and notched the primary assist on a Marc Staal goal. At 2-2, the game felt new until McDavid made a brilliant pass on the powerplay to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with less than a minute remaining before the second intermission, resulting in the eventual game-winner.

“We finally found our game in the second period, just need to kill that one off at the end. We’re looking to try to get a shorty, left the zone a couple of times, and it ends up in the back of our net. We need to get out of that second period at least to give ourselves a fighting chance in the third with some momentum. We lose the momentum right at the end.”

John Tortorella; 1/2/2024

Two more primary assists later, McDavid tallied 903 career NHL points. Edmonton is riding a six-game winning streak. Philadelphia is getting ready to return to the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow, hoping to shake off a 1-2-2 record in the last five games.

Special Teams (-)

Poor discipline and a lack of execution is a recipe for disaster against a team prolific for scoring.

John Tortorella put it squarely about Nugent-Hopkins scoring a late powerplay goal in the second period and how it deflated the momentum. The Flyers tested their third-ranked penalty kill against the Oilers’ sixth-ranked powerplay. Edmonton went 1/4 with the man advantage. Philadelphia couldn’t sustain pressure, finishing 0/4 with the extra man.

“We know that they [the Oilers] have a ton of skill on that team. Five-on-five, we know we’re right there with them. We can compete. We can take them five-on-five, but they won the special teams battle tonight.”

Carter Hart; 1/2/2024

When an elite skater is on the ice on the man advantage, the best defense is team discipline. Opponents are 6-3-2 in 2023-2024 when on the powerplay more than three times in a game versus the Flyers. If the Oilers get four chances, and they did, you’re playing with fire spread by McDavid.

On To The Next Game (+)

Before the puck dropped, Tortorella said he didn’t remember the first meeting in Philadelphia versus Edmonton. He doesn’t give his team much information on the opponent, focusing on his lineup and their game. After the 5-2 losing decision, Tortorella kept the same mindset. He is focused on the upcoming date with the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow.

“There’s nothing magic. We get ready to play a game, that’s all. Try to put more minutes together [and] try to get more guys going, and go play.”

John Tortorella; 1/2/2024

Tortorella shuffled his lines to look for different things that could catch. He refused to cite the road trip wearing on the team following a loss to the Calgary Flames, but the truth is that the Flyers had been on the road since December 22nd on their schedule. However, a silver lining was the regained chemistry with Farabee and Konecny.

“He’s [Farabee] a great player and it’s nice playing with him, but you could ask either of those guys [including Couturier]. We didn’t do enough to get the job done tonight, either.”

Travis Konecny; 1/2/2024

In the locker room, the consensus feeling is they’re good enough to keep up with the elite while even-strength but need to recognize situational hockey. Konecny was very self-aware in his press conference regarding his miscue on the penalty kill, looking for offense when he needed to respect the competition.

“The third goal, I believe it was; I was looking for offense, there. I got to smarten up there and know who we’re up against. Five-on-five, we can play with those guys. We can shorthanded, too. It was just a matter of a breakdown, and that’s exactly what they’re looking for.”

Travis Konecny; 1/2/2024

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow at 7pm.

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)