Flyers return to losing ways with 4-1 setback

Carter Hart

PHILADELPHIA – Back to reality.

Just a couple days after the Flyers beat the Islanders to end a 10-game winless streak, the losing resumed on Thursday night with a 4-1 defeat by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center.

If not for some acrobatic goaltending by Carter Hart, the damage could have been much worse.

Typical of the Flyers’ uninspired play was the second period when they were outscored by a 2-0 margin and outshot, 17-2.

Hart did his best to thwart Tampa’s sharpshooters but it wasn’t enough.

Tampa took a 2-0 lead on the second of two goals by Nick Paul at 7:55. He tapped in a feed from Steven Stamkos, who registered his 1,000th NHL point on the play.

The entire Tampa Bay bench emptied out to congratulate their captain. Stamkos became only the 95th player alltime (and sixth active) to reach the 1K milestone.

Flyers coach John Tortorella said the Flyers lost some momentum after that stretch and couldn’t get it back.

“We just didn’t have the ability to change the momentum back our way,’’ Tortorella said. “I don’t think we played a bad first period. We couldn’t gather ourselves, didn’t get our feet under us after that shift.

“We’re going to go through these, we’re going to have another game like that. We need to try to figure out and learn – understand a way to keep it simple, get a forecheck or do something to change the momentum. Everyone talks about the youth, the injuries, this had nothing to do with that. This is not to berate them (the players), kick, scream, yell. We need to learn what momentum swings are about.’’

Tony DeAngelo, just back from missing one game due to injury, said the Stamkos celebration kind of broke some of the cohesion the Flyers were forming.

“Stamkos got his thousandth point tonight, the whole team off the bench kind of sucks the energy out of you,’’ DeAngelo said. “It was too bad. It was my guy in front. That one’s on me there. When the whole team is on the ice, it kind of slows down the game a little bit for us. Need to find a way to bounce back.’’

Russ Colton made it 3-0 with just 3.4 seconds left in the period. Corey Perry rushed in alone on Hart and was tripped by Nick Seeler. Hart made the initial stop but Colton cleaned up the rebound, so the delayed penalty call was a moot point.

Tampa took a 1-0 lead at 16:02 of the first period on the first goal from Paul. Perry set up the goal with a sharp pass from behind the net.

In the third, the Flyers started to play with some gumption but then Hart gave up a bad goal to Ian Cole at 9:19. The entry puck hit the end board, rebounded and hopped over Hart’s skate into the net.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had a shutout bid spoiled by Travis Konecny’s goal at 9:22.

At least that was one positive for the Flyers. He had missed six games with a right hand injury.

Konecny said the reasons for the bad second period were fairly obvious.

“A couple breakdowns there,’’ he said. “It starts with me. I just tried to do too much (on the first goal). I think there are guys who can change the momentum, it’s just tough when you’re given the top line on the other side that much time and space.’’

Hart added: “They got a lot of momentum in the second period, that’s where they did their damage. We had some turnovers in the defensive zone, not getting pucks out. Spent a lot of time in our D-zone.’’

>Tortorella’s plan

Prior to the morning skate at the Flyers Training Zone in Voorhees, N.J., Tortorella discussed the team’s plan for the current season.

Nothing really new here. He reiterated there’s to be an ongoing  strong emphasis on developing young players and building a team identity.

“We’re going to be teaching all year long,’’ Tortorella said. “Especially with the lay of the land for us right now, with so many guys out for so long, veteran guys.

“It’s kind of put guys in different spots for us to teach even more. We are grassroots as far as teaching. We are just beginning to teach. Even when we get healthy and get some guys in, we’re just beginning.’’

>’80s Throwback Thursday Night

It was 1980s Throwback Thursday Night at the Wells Fargo Center and a lot of familiar names attended the event.

Former Flyers defenseman J.J. Daigneault, who scored the famous winning goal in Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final, was in a group of players who gathered to bang the ceremonial pre-game drum.

In addition, legends Mark Howe, Dave Poulin, Brad Marsh, Kjell Samuelsson, Dave Brown, Terry Carkner and Doug Crossman made appearances.

>Short shots

Konecny (right arm injury) played on a top line with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett. . .The Flyers will play the third game of their five-game homestand when they play host to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. . .Flyers are 6-9-3 when opponents score first. . .Former Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellmare, now on Tampa Bay, set a new record for French-born players with his 608th NHL career game.

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About Wayne Fish 2437 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.