Game 2 of the Flyers’ home-and-home series with Detroit was certainly better than Game 1 but, to no one’s surprise, the outcome was still the same.
Several days after Wednesday night’s miserable effort against the Red Wings – a discouraging 6-3 loss – the Flyers put up a much stronger fight in the Motor City rematch on Saturday afternoon but lost anyway, 4-2.
The Flyers kept this one close, thanks to some better checking plus the goaltending of Carter Hart.
Throughout Philadelphia’s injury-plagued campaign, Hart has been a stellar performer, keeping his team in games they should have lost by multiple goals.
Hart was sharp again in this game at Little Caesars Arena.
Only problem was, the Flyers couldn’t mount much offense of their own against Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss. The Flyers did generate a lot of chances but Greiss was superb.
It was the Flyers’ eighth straight road loss and kept the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division basement.
Hart gave up only Detroit’s first three goals. The fourth was scored into an empty net.
The Flyers gave a sloppy effort on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It was the Red Wings’ first regular-season win in Philadelphia since 1997.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo’s crew played a much more structured game in the back half of this set.
“I think they responded really well today,’’ Yeo said after the game. “The effort and the attitude was there all game. I thought we were doing a lot of good things. We were down 2-0 but the response was there, we continued to fight, to work, to do the right things. We just didn’t find a way to get that tying goal.’’
Yeo was impressed with Hart’s effort.
“I thought Carter did a really good job,’’ Yeo said. “That’s a team with a lot of skill. He (Hart) gave us a chance to keep battling tonight. He battled the same way our team did.’’
Keith Yandle, playing in his 969th straight game, scored his first goal as a Flyer and Scott Laughton added a goal in the third period but the rally fell short.
Yandle connected on a power play with 7.5 seconds left in the second period. Philadelphia had the man advantage because moments before Laughton was hooked on a breakaway. Yandle used an Isaac Ratcliffe screen to get a shot past Greiss, making his first start since Jan. 9.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Tyler Bertuzzi. The forward was stationed out front and tipped in a pass from Robby Fabbri at 5:36 of the first period.
In the second period, the Flyers had several players caught deep in the Detroit end, leading to a Red Wing rush into the Flyers’ zone. Dylan Larkin got in deep, had the puck knocked off his stick but it went straight to Filip Zadina for the short shot through Hart at 9:37.
Detroit’s Moritz Seider scored at 9:05 of the third period but the Flyers got one back when Laughton cleaned up a loose puck off a Travis Konecny shot 44 seconds later.
There are no points for close losses but both Laughton and Yandle believe this game could put the Flyers headed back in the right direction.
“I thought we skated a lot better,’’ Laughton said. “We supported the puck, got out of our zone a lot quicker. Obviously not the result we wanted. Guys were skating together and at this point we have to keep building on that.’’
The Flyers did score their first power-play goal since new assistant coach John Torchetti took over that domain, so that was somewhat encouraging.
“His meetings are open-ended,’’ Yandle said. “You feel involved. He’s a positive guy as well. I think that goes a long way with our group. A lot of it is just executing and finding ways to make plays.’’
Gerry Mayhew suffered what appeared to be a fairly serious facial cut after crashing into the boards in the third period. Mayhew received stitches but reportedly that was the extent of the medical treatment.]Said Laughton: “It’s good to see Gerry’s OK. It’s a really scary play, when you’re going into the wall with that much speed.’’
One game after returning to action from a lengthy injury rehab, Derick Brassard was scratched. Yeo said the center was experiencing stiffness and soreness. Yeo is hopeful Brassard can return to practice on Monday. . .Konecny was struck in the face by an errant puck in the first period but returned to action before the period ended. . .The Flyers resume action on Tuesday when they visit Pittsburgh for a game against the Penguins. . .With defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (undisclosed injury) out of action, Kevin Connauton was back in the lineup. . .Travis Sanheim played in his 300th NHL game.