PHILADELPHIA – After falling behind by a 4-0 score, then rallying to get within two goals, the Flyers appeared to be poised to continue their comeback try at the start of the third period in Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
With the Flyers on a penalty kill, Travis Konecny looked to break out on a rush from the defensive zone with teammate Scott Hartnell. But Konecny turned the puck over, the Ducks scored and went on to a 7-4 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
After the game, Konecny – who scored two goals to give him eight in eight games – took full blame for the indescretion. But, surprisingly, coach John Tortorella somewhat defended the play. That might have something to do with the coach willing to accept the consequences when a breakout play ends with less than desirable results
“Obviously we were looking to get back in it,” Konecny said after the game. I think I have to reflect and realize why I’m out there to kill the penalty. We had played well in the second period, we were probably going to have a good opportunity (to win) if we just stayed in the game there, crawl our way back in it.
“We were chasing, trying to create. We’ve been trying to do that more this year. But we kind of fell into what they wanted tonight. Just forget that one, I guess.”
Tortorella does want more goal production, even if it means some growing pains. And sometimes the risks pay off, like the other night when the Flyers scored three shorthanded goals in a 5-4 overtime loss in Dallas. You could say those three goals earned the Flyers a hard-earned point.
“There were a lot of ‘almost’ plays that didn’t work (today),” the coach said. “I like the way we’re making plays. We’re not going to throw things away in how we’re trying to prepare these guys. We’re going to keep on trying to push the offense, we’re not going to go into a defensive shell because we had seven scored on us.
“I like the way some guys are opening up the ice and taking a chance.”
Just coming off a promising 6-2 win over the highly regarded Minnesota Wild on Thursday, the Flyers skated out a step slow two days later.
The Ducks, who entered the game with a 3-4-0 record, basically reversed the Thursday score on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia chose to go with backup goaltender Samuel Ersson, who allowed the seven goals on just 25 shots. But Ersson certainly had plenty of partners in this embarrassing loss.
Tortorella didn’t like it when the fans gave Ersson what amounted to a sarcastic “Bronx cheer” when Ersson turned aside a puck that barely reached the net with about 15 minutes to play after the Ducks scored twice early in the third period.
“What Sam had to go through with the Bronx cheer, that’s B.S.,” Tortorella said. “The game does not go all on one guy, on the goalie. It belongs to all of them.
“We’re not blaming everything on him. He’s a unique guy for me. I think he will rebound. I think he has a mental awareness and toughness. He’ll bounce back.”
Said Ersson: “I’m very disappointing in myself. It’s not up to my standard. It (infrequent play, only two games so far) is not really an excuse. I think it’s up to me to be prepared. When I get the chance, I need to deliver a lot better performances than the last couple games.”
Anaheim needed less than a minute to score its first goal. Ryan Strome poked Ersson, who was giving regular starter Carter Hart a day off.
The Ducks made it 2-0 on the first three goals by Frank Vatrano. He connected off an assist from Cam Fowler at 15:20 while the Ducks were on a power play.
Things didn’t get much better for the Flyers in the second period as Vatrano scored again at 6:58 and Adam Henrique added another goal at 9:30.
The Flyers hit a couple goal posts, including one by Ryan Poehling, but that’s about as close as they could get until Cam Atkinson scored off a rush at 11:49 with a shot past goaltender Lukas Dostal.
Then Konecny hit the net just 46 seconds later to cut the deficit to 4-2 and made things a little more interesting.
But the Flyers reverted to their incompetent ways in the third period. Anaheim picked up goals from Trevor Zegras (on the Konecny turnover) at 2:42 and Brett Leason just 32 seconds later.
Konecny converted his second goal, this on a power play, at 9:51 of third period. That makes eight goals in eight games for the right wing.
At 11:12, Vatrano completed his hat trick with a shorthanded goal. Joel Farabee scored the Flyers’ fourth goal with time running out.
The Flyers are back in action on Monday night for the third game of this four-game homestand. The opponent is the Carolina Hurricanes. . .Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen missed his eighth straight game with an undisclosed injury. Also defenseman Marc Staal remains on the sidelines. Center Morgan Frost was scratched for a sixth straight game.