PHILADELPHIA – Another Stanley Cup contender, another narrow loss.
The Flyers keep playing these powerhouse teams, but they seem to have a hard time of it when it comes to crunch time.
Monday night’s game was a perfect example.
Philadelphia played the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-2 standoff for the first 56 minutes but then turned the puck over and wound up with a tough 3-2 loss at the Wells Fargo Center.
In recent games, they rallied from two goals down before losing at Dallas in overtime, then surrendered a 2-0 lead and eventually a winning goal in the final half-minute for a 3-2 defeat at Vegas.
A goal by by Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen from the top of the slot with 3:47 to play in the game broke a 2-2 tie in this latest defeat.
On the winning goal, Teravainen took advantage of a Flyers’ giveaway to beat goaltender Carter Hart from the top of the slot.
Hart once again played brilliantly and kept the Flyers in it, especially in the third period when he was under near-constant siege.
If Hart was disheartened by the Flyers’ recent 1-3 slump to drop them to 4-4-1 in the standings, he wasn’t letting it seep into his post-game comments.
“We generated a lot of chances in the third period and we just weren’t able to capitalize,” he said. “It’s unfortunate to lose a point at least in the last five minutes. But a lot to take away from tonight going into Wednesday’s game (vs. Buffalo).”
Hart came up with several highlight reel saves, including one on a Martin Necas break-in play. He entered the game with a 2.18 goals-against average.
Was Carolina a good measuring stick game, similar to Dallas and Vegas?
“There’s a lot to take away from tonight,” Hart said. “I thought we battled really hard in the third period, generated a lot of offense and just couldn’t catch a break.”
Stopping the ‘Canes isn’t easy. They entered the game leading the Metropolitan Division with 34 goals in nine games.
After a slow start, in which they fell behind by a 1-0 score, the Flyers woke up to score a pair and take a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Owen Tippett started the comeback with a nice give-and go goal with Sean Couturier at 15:09. After getting control of the puck, Couturier spotted Tippett breaking from the top of the right circle. His shot beat goaltender Frederik Andersen high glove side.
Garnet Hathaway’s first goal as a Flyers came courtesy of a great pass from linemate Nick Deslauriers out of the right corner. Hathaway gathered in the puck just several feet outside the goal crease and slid a backhand shot past Andersen at 18:23.
Hathaway likes the way his new team stays right with some of these contending teams.
“Going into the third (period), I think it’s a learning spot for us,” he said. “We had a lot of chances, could have had the lead. We have to learn how to hold onto points. I think that’s something we learned the hard way tonight.”
Any consolation from playing these top teams so well?
“I think we want more than one out of six points,” Hathaway said. “Those are the moments I talked about – you want to learn to take control of them. We have guys I thought stepped up huge in the third, gave us a chance to win. I think everyone in this room is frustrated, not with the effort but the outcome.”
Coach John Tortorella didn’t voice any displeasure over the way his team played, although no goals on five power-play attempts certainly didn’t leave him smiling.
“When we started, we watched them play,” he said. “I think it could have been 10-nothing the way the game started. We slowly got into it and played better as the game went on. I think we created a lot of scoring chances in the third period off the rush.
“That’s a potential Stanley Cup team. We can talk about the good things but they (the Flyer players) want the points. I think we played our butts off. We just didn’t realize how quick they were. We played hard, we didn’t finish our chances. When you don’t win a game like this, you have to take lessons from it and try to get better. I’m not disappointed with how hard we played.”
The Hurricanes’ Stefan Noesen opened the scoring with a goal at 3:11 of the first period. His shot eluded Hart.
Carolina tied the score on a power play at 9:02 of the second period. With Nick Seeler in the penalty box, the Flyers lost a faceoff and the puck wound up on Michael Bunting’s stick in the right circle for a shot into the net.
The Flyers return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres for the first of a home-and-home set that finishes on Friday night in upstate New York. . .Defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen has yet to play this season with an undisclosed injury and veteran backliner Marc Staal also has been sidelined for since last week. . .Carolina thought it had a goal from Jordan Staal earlier in the second period. But the Flyers challenged and the goal was disallowed. . .The Flyers’ Bobby Brink entered the game in second place in NHL rookie scoring with six points.