Flyers battle but drop a tough one to Carolina

Derick Brassard with the puck from his 200th NHL goal scored on Saturday (Photo by Joe Siville)
      The Flyers had already won once at Carolina this year and were knocking on the door for a second victory.
      But the Hurricanes’ Jordan Martinook scored with 3:50 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and sent the Flyers home with a 3-1 loss on Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
      The defeat extended the Flyers’ road losing streak to 11 games, a new franchise record.
      Martinook tipped in a long shot from Vincent Trocheck for the winner. Carolina scored a goal into an empty net with 20.9 seconds to play. Sebastian Aho received credit for that goal.
      Derick Brassard scored the 200th goal of his NHL career at 16:50 of the second period to pull the Flyers even at 1-1.
      Goaltender Frederik Andersen failed to control a long entry by Cam Atkinson. Brassard slipped in behind the Carolina defense and put a shot over Andersen’s shoulder.
      Brassard acknowledged the Flyers had their hands full with the talented Hurricanes but the veteran showed appreciation for the game effort.
      “We played probably one of the best temas in the league,’’ Brassard said. “They force you to play fast. I thought we played really hard. We didn’t get the result we wanted.’’
      Added goaltender Martin Jones: “I thought we competed really hard. They’re coming in all the time. I thought we defended pretty well.’’
      Interim head coach Mike Yeo watched his team play another one down to the wire but came out on the short end again.
      “I’m pretty angry to be honest with you right now,’’ he said. “An effort like that, just couldn’t finish it off. I like the effort, a lot of the details in our game. I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win.’’
      The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Steven Lorentz, a fourth-liner, when the Flyers failed to cover a spin-around pass from Derek Stepan. The assist was the 500th point of Stepan’s NHL career.
      Jones entered the game with a career mark of 4-1-1, 2.80 goals-against average and .917 save percentage against Carolina.
      The goalie couldn’t be faulted for this one and neither could most of the players.
      “It’s good for us to play in these games and learn how to win,’’ Yeo said. “To make sure you’re not making a mistake in that moment. . .find a way to break through. You have to embrace playing hard hockey games and I think for the most part our guys did that. Unfortunately we just didn’t get it done.’’
      >Konecny, linemates stand out
      Yeo singled out Travis Konecny and his linemates for a very proactive game. The line of Konecny-Morgan Frost-Oskar Lindblom played well at both ends of the ice.
      “They were in good position all day,’’ Yeo said. “Those were tough match-ups for them. That’s an elite team. It’s not like you have a shift off. I thought they were on the right side of things, thought they defended real well. When it was time to execute, I thought they executed real well. I think TK is playing his butt off right now. Just trying to do the right thing.’’
      Konecny indicates the Flyers have been playing better of late and want to finish the season strong.
      “Some internal conversations and just knowing that we have an opportunity to rewrite the end of the season and finish strong,’’ he said. “Instead of sitting around and pouting about what happened throughout the year, you’re always as good as your last shift.’’
      >Fletcher: ‘Not a rebuild’
      During an ABC/ESPN television interview on Saturday, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher expressed optimism his team does not have to undergo a big rebuild to get back into playoff contention.
      “I do believe we have some good pieces, some pieces under the age of 25,’’ Fletcher said. “But clearly we need to make some upgrades. A little more speed, a little more skill, a little bit bigger in certain areas. We have work to do. But it’s not a complete (rebuild).’’
       Also, Fletcher discussed the very real possibility captain Claude Giroux will be moved before the March 21 NHL deadline.
      “Claude and I speak about three or four days a week,’’ Fletcher disclosed. “I speak with his agent, Pat Brisson, all the time. They’re just going through the process now. It’s his decision whether or not he wants to be moved. And if he does, we’ll do the best we can to make it work.’’
      Several teams are rumored to have interest in Giroux, including Colorado and St. Louis.
      >Milestone special for Brassard
      It may have taken the better part of 16 seasons to get to the 200-goal mark for Brassard but it was worth the wait. Don’t forget, he’s mostly known as a playmaker, assist guy, not a big sniper.
      “Anytime a player can reach a mark like that, it’s special,’’ said Brassard, who has played in 932 NHL games for nine different teams.
      >Short shots

Frost returned to the lineup to fill in for Scott Laughton, who suffered a concussion in Thursday night’s game against Florida. . .The Flyers return to action Sunday night when they play host to the Montreal Canadiens. . .Giroux played in his 998th career game for the Flyers. He can reach 1,000 on Thursday, several days before the trade deadline. . .The Flyers’ Cam Atkinson put a puck in the second period but the goal was disallowed after officials ruled Brassard interfered with Andersen. . .Flyers have been tied, ahead or within a goal in 21 of last 23 games. Total wins in those games: 5.

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About Wayne Fish 1793 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.