PHILADELPHIA – Carolina and the Flyers seem to bring out the best (or worst) in each other, as evidenced by their latest encounter on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The two teams checked each other like crazy, just as they had in two previous meetings – which they split – this season.
When it was over, the Flyers were on the short end of a 4-1 score (Carolina’s final two goals came in the last four minutes, the fourth goal an empty-netter), dropping their season record to 11-10-1.
“I thought it was just an ugly hockey game,” coach John Tortorella said. “Probably by both teams. We were just flat, right through the lineup. Just didn’t have any forwards going at all.”
The teams exchanged goals in the second period, leaving the Flyers down, 2-1, after two periods.
Carolina held a 1-0 lead when Travis Konecny connected off a breakaway to even the count at 7:14 of the middle frame. The play started with a Brent Burns point shot stopped by goalie Carter Hart. The rebound came all the way out to Tyson Foerster, who spotted Konecny open at the far blue line. Konecny raced in and beat goalie Pyotr Kochetkov for his 12th goal of the season.
Carolina got that one back at 13:25. Hart made an initial stop and the rebound came to Scott Laughton. He tried to clear but the puck hit ex-Flyer Brendan Lemieux’s shin pad and he flipped the loose puck into the net.
It was just that kind of a night for the Flyers. What was missing?
“Probably quality of chances,” Laughton said. “It was a pretty ugly hockey game. Couldn’t get anything going, really.”
On the goal by Lemieux, there was some luck involved.
“I tried to clear it off the wall,” Laughton said. “It hits off his shin pad and right on his stick. I don’t know how many times that’s going to happen again.”
Hurricanes’ Seth Jarvis scored with 3:26 to play to make it a two-goal game. His shot was initially stopped but the puck was under Hart’s skate and when the goalie turned around, it slid into the net.
Hart said the difference came down to bounces and the Flyers didn’t get too many of those.
“Just some crappy bounces,” he said. “One goes off his (Lemieux’s) shin pad and right back to his stick. The last goal, it’s going wide and gets stuck under my skate. When I moved back, I kicked it in. Tough breaks but it is what it is.”
The early going didn’t seem to go the Flyers’ way. As was the case in last Friday afternoon’s home loss to the New York Rangers, the Flyers gave up far too many odd-man rushes.
Carolina scored first and that wasn’t a good omen for the Flyers, who entered the game 0-8-1 when the opponent scored the initial goal. Carter Hart made a save on an initial shot but the rebound slithered out in front. Michael Bunting simply had to shovel it back into the net at 5:39.
>Flyers winless when opponent scores first
The Flyers fell to 0-9-1 when an opponent scores first.
Luck of the draw or do the Flyers have to work harder on comebacks?
“We have to work a little bit harder,” Laughton said. “I think urgency throughout the game. We had spurts (tonight) but not supporting the puck consistently enough. They (the Hurricanes) play hard. You have to give them credit sometime. But we didn’t make it hard enough on them.”
>Zamula sits again
Although young defenseman Egor Zamula is tied for the team lead with a plus-10 he was a healthy scratch again on Tuesday night.
Tortorella has made a point of saying it’s all just part of a process of occasionally sitting and watching as far as young players are concerned.
“The young guys, as far as the number of games are young guys get this year, watching is going to be part of it,” he said at the morning skate at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J. “I think ‘Z,’ for the number of minutes he’s played has played really well, really fast. Sees things. Other times it’s a struggle. And we expect that.
With Cates sidelined for the next six to eight weeks due to a lower-body injury, Bobby Brink returned to the lineup. . .The Flyers return to action on Thursday when they play host to the New Jersey Devils. . .The Flyers fell to 5-6-0 on home ice. . .Sean Couturier played in career game No. 741, tying him with Bob Kelly and Rick MacLeish for fifth on the Flyers alltime list. . .The Flyers entered the game leading the NHL in shots with 679. They had posted four games of at least 40 shots.