Another slow start ends up extending Flyers’ skid

Kevin Hayes

In case you missed how the Flyers played in Tuesday night’s loss at St. Louis, all you had to do was watch Thursday night’s defeat by Dallas to get all caught up.

As they did against the Blues, the Flyers pretty much didn’t show up for the first half of the game vs. the Stars and were down 3-zip almost before you could get the popcorn out of the microwave.

In Texas, the Flyers actually fell behind 4-0 before getting a goal from Kevin Hayes – a somewhat rare occurrence – and eventually wound up going winless for a fifth (0-4-1) straight game.

The 4-1 setback at American Airlines Arena left the Flyers 0-3 on their current four-game road trip, which ends Saturday night on Long Island.

Goaltender Carter Hart returned to action for the first time since  March 25 but there wasn’t much he could do to keep the Stars – battling with Minnesota for the Central Division title – from running away with this one.

In his post-game analysis, head coach John Tortorella indicated even though the final score of this game might not show it, the Flyers’ overall effort was better than the performance in St. Louis.

“It (the outcome) wasn’t effort,” Tortorella insisted. “Played a real good first period, got real unlucky at the end. Quick goal in the second period. . .that little self-destruction, that was the game.

“We kept playing, that’s the number one priority, no matter what the score is. I want our team to keep playing and we did.”

The Stars picked up a pair of goals from leading scorer Jason Robertson, while 38-year-old Joe Pavelski registered a goal and two assists, bringing his career point total to 999.

Goaltender Jake Oettinger picked up the win for the Stars.

“I thought Oettinger played really well when we had chances,” Tortorella said. “We just didn’t develop enough sustained offense.

“I just want us to keep playing hard. I thought we teetered in the last game in St. Louis, embarrassing ourselves those first two periods. Grabbed themselves in between the second and third periods (vs. the Blues) and I thought played hard tonight.”

Hayes scored at 13:16 of the second period to end a 23-game goal drought. His last previous score came way back on Feb. 11. However, the goal gives him 54 points for the season, tying a career high.

Although he’s seen his role reduced somewhat in the season’s second half, Hayes hasn’t complained. No doubt it was a relief to finally get something on the scoresheet.

“It’s always nice to score when you’re in a drought,” he said.

Getting a goal against a quality opponent is at least encouraging for Hayes.

“They’re a good team,” Hayes said. “They’ve got four guys on the rush. I think they took advantage of that early on in the game. You dig yourself that deep of a hole, it’s tough to come out.”

Robertson scored his first goal with only 1.8 seconds left in the first period. While on a power play, the Star forward rushed in and fired a shot which was blocked by defenseman Nick Seeler. But the rebound came back to Robertson’s stick and he sent the puck past Hart’s glove.

Pavelski also scored on the power play at 1:04 of the second period. With Philadelphia penalized for too many men on the ice, Pavelski’s stick blade caught a double-deflection.

Colin Miller made it 3-0 at 8:53 when the Flyers defense broke down and the Star player was allowed to skate freely down the slot.

Robertson scored his 45th goal of the season at 10:55 when Ivan Provorov fumbled a bad exchange from Hart behind the Flyers net and Pavelski pounced on it, then relaying a pass in front.

Otherwise, Hart looked pretty sharp for someone who had sat out the better part of two weeks.

“Made a bad play to Provy,” Hart admitted. “Miscommunication there, I put it in his feet. Bad play by me. It ends up in the back of the net. Other than that, I thought we were in the game for most of the night.”

Hart was injured at the end of last season and had to shut it down for the last couple weeks or so. This time he’s determined to finish the last five games with his skates on.

“I tweaked something last week and I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I came back a hundred percent and finish the year strong. The last few years I’ve finished the year on the IR. I want to finish the year healthy and strong.”

 

>Short shots

 

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo was listed as a healthy scratch. Ronnie Attard, recently called up from the Phantoms, recently made his second straight start.

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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.