Flyers
Brian Elliott couldn’t hold down the fort forever, tying his season-high with five goals allowed in a wild loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

At least this loss was an exciting one? The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 6-4, to the New Jersey Devils. Philadelphia’s one-step-forward, one-step-back season continues at full force, while New Jersey’s 10-game losing streak (0-9-1) finally comes to an end in a wild slugfest of a hockey game.

The Flyers managed not to totally embarrass themselves during the first five minutes, a vast improvement over Sunday’s affair. However, they were absolutely dunked on during a four-minute power-play that could not manage so much as a single shot on goal against the third-worst penalty-kill since they began tracking the stat (though Claude Giroux did hit the post on a rush chance during that man-advantage). Not much happened the rest of the period at 5-on-5, but the Devils’ PP (29th in the league) opened the scoring with some nice puck movement and a rebound goal for Nico Hischier. The Flyers generated a humbling 0.1 expected goals at 5-on-5 and just 0.32 overall and unsurprisingly found themselves trailing at the period’s end.

The second period began with a bang — literally, as Travis Sanheim fought Michael McLeod after McLeod laid a huge hit on Sean Couturier into the boards. Unfortunately, Sanheim also received a roughing penalty on the play, and the Flyers fell to 0/3 against the league’s worst special teams when Pavel Zacha ripped a one-timer through Elliott from the bumper spot. The Devils power-play scored more goals in the first twenty-two minutes of this game than they did in their last 25 attempts (one).

New Jersey scored their third goal before the Flyers could get above three shots, with Miles Wood firing a snapshot through heavy traffic after the Flyers lost several puck races leading up to the goal. Falling behind 3-0 to the Devils proved to be where the Flyers drew the line. The Flyers put up about five-point-blank shots on goal in a five-second span. After Nolan Patrick and Jackson Cates were denied, Oskar Lindblom jammed in a rebound to cancel out the Wood tally.

Nico Hischier briefly appeared to give the Devils a 4-1 lead on a breakaway midway through the frame. But replay correctly overturned the call, as the shot hit the post and stayed out. That was a crucial call because the Flyers were finding their legs around this point of the game. James van Riemsdyk nearly scored on one of those crafty angle dump-ins I love so much. MacKenzie Blackwood stymied him, then stopped Nolan Patrick on a breakaway. The Flyers played as well in the second as they did badly in the first. But they found themselves in a familiar spot heading into the 3rd: down 3-1.

PHI Corsi For%PHI Expected Goals%
1st Period33.16%16.46%
2nd Period66.51%73.62%
Night and day (stats are 5-on-5, score and venue adjusted).

Of course, sustaining momentum from period to period hasn’t been a strong suit for the Flyers this season. but tonight, they did just that A misplay by the Devils along the boards just 2:24 in sent the puck right into the slot, and Phil Myers sniped it from the slot to cut the lead in half. And before you knew it, the Flyers went right back on the attack. After Jake Voracek and Myers missed the net, Voracek made a beautiful pass to send Giroux to the goal uncontested. Several stickhandles and just a few seconds later, Deja Giroux-do struck, as the captain deked out Blackwood for his second third-period game-tying goal in as many games. All before the first TV timeout of the third!

Lindy Ruff called timeout after the Giroux tally. Though it didn’t initially seem to make a big impact, just when you thought the Flyers were turning the page, the Devils struck. After a strong shift in the offensive zone, Connor Carrick took advantage of a mid-change with a nifty move around Phil Myers and a surprisingly strong shot that beat Elliott stick side. Carrick’s first goal since March 6, 2020, couldn’t have come at a better time for a Devils team desperate to get out of their own heads.

Sean Couturier briefly restored the tie with a seeing-eye shot from the boards late in the period. But just 11 seconds later, Elliott (who had already made a few shaky hand-offs during the game) turned the puck over behind his own net, and Yegor Sharangovich wrapped it in to continue the seesaw. Couturier nearly capitalized on a crazy bounce off another crazy bounce, but Matt Tennyson’s stick saved the day after Coots deked out Blackwood in front. But the Flyers couldn’t muster up another equalizer — Giroux was stopped in front with 18 seconds left on Philly’s last great chance. And Mikhail Maltsev steered in the ENG at 19:58 to give the Devils their first win since March 28.

Lindies

Narrator: they cannot.

Bad news on the injury front for the Flyers. Tanner Lacyznski’s season is over; the club announced Monday he underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. Laczynski is expected to be out 16 weeks, putting him on line for a late August return. Laczynski should be good to go for training camp, which is expected to start around late September.

On one hand for the offense, Philadelphia failed to record a shot on goal for the final 10:40 of the first period. On the other, at least they scored four goals for the first time in fifteen games (and the first time in regulation in twenty-one). The club record remains at eighteen games with three goals or fewer.

Brian Elliott’s five goals allowed tonight were the most he’s ever allowed to the Devils in his NHL career. Elliott made some really good saves, but was off his angle on the Carrick tally and obviously caught on the Sharangovich GWG.

The fact that you can review a high-sticking double minor but not just a regular minor makes absolutely no sense to me. It didn’t ultimately matter in deciding the first penalty of the game — a McLeod double-minor on Couturier — but it unnecessarily wasted two minutes of our lives that we can’t get back.

All I can say about this is OUCH (and that Bratt thankfully returned a few minutes later).

Last game, I talked about the Devils’ historically bad penalty kill in this section. Today, let’s talk about their historically bad home record. Entering tonight, New Jersey (4-17-3, .223 points percentage) was on pace for the sixth-worst home record in NHL history. It would be the worst since the 1983-84 (aka pre-Mario Lemieux) Pittsburgh Penguins.

The ice appeared to be in rough shape tonight; I counted at least four out-of-nowhere-wipeouts during this game. Three of them occurred in the Flyers’ end during the second period.

A hat-trick of NHL firsts for the Flyers tonight. The first fight for Travis Sanheim, the first point for Jackson Cates, and the first game for Egor Zamula. Wade Allison just missed out on his first assist on the Myers goal, too. I think both players have looked solid in their limited NHL samplings, and the numbers back it up. Cates is sitting at a not-good 42.11% Corsi but actually good 52.49% xG at 5-on-5. Zamula’s debut was solid; he made a few questionable decisions to my eyes, but most importantly, looked like he could physically handle the game. His underlying numbers were solid: 50% Corsi, 59.63% xG at 5-on-5.

How about this for a crazy stat: Joel Farabee, who scored his first NHL goal on MacKenzie Blackwood last November, played in his 100th NHL game tonight. Guess who else was playing in their 100th game? That’s right: MacKenzie Blackwood. Small world, huh? Congrats to both.

If you’re into wild (kind of) hockey games, check out Trey Daubert’s first foray into fantasy hockey playoffs. Sadly, it’s probably the closet I’ll get to mentioning the playoffs for the rest of FFR3.

3 Stars

3rd: Ty Smith (NJ) – 2 Assists (20, 21)

2nd: Jack Hughes (NJ) – 2 Assists (15, 16)

1st: Pavel Zacha (NJ) – Goal (12), Assist (16), 3 Shots

Next

4/29, 7 PM – PHI @ NJ

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Advanced Stats via Natural Stat Trick