Flyers vs. Devils: Elliot Desnoyers makes NHL debut in ugly 7-0 loss to New Jersey

An NHL debut, JVR kept out and Flyers get absolutely rolled by Devils originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

NEWARK, N.J. — The last time the Flyers visited the Prudential Center, Carter Hart provided a 48-save, heroic type of performance.

On Saturday night, there was nobody to save the Flyers from this one.

John Tortorella's team was utterly whooped, 7-0, by the playoff-bound Devils.

The eyesore of a result was a fitting end to a decisive month for the club.

The Flyers (23-28-10) fell hard in February, going 2-7-1. They have just one game left before next Friday's NHL trade deadline. They will be selling off pieces. The focus of their season has completely shifted to next season and beyond, which was ultimately expected.

"The effort's there. I just don't think we're using our head in understanding how we have to play," Tortorella said. "I think that falls on me to making sure they do understand that.

"I'm frustrated for them. That's a good team. We're not anywhere near that. So you have to adjust your game to give yourself a chance to win. That's what frustrates me for them."

The club is 2-10-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets. It had a lopsided loss Friday at home to the Canadiens.

The Flyers have missed Travis Konecny, who was out for a third consecutive game because of an upper-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday to open up a roster spot for Elliot Desnoyers, who made his NHL debut (more on that below).

The Flyers faced a lively crowd at the Prudential Center. New Jersey honored its 2003 Stanley Cup title team in a pregame ceremony.

The Flyers went to 2-2-0 against the Devils (39-15-5) to split the four-game regular-season series.

"We're not there with that team. I don't know how else to say it," Tortorella said. "It's not a criticism of our team, but we're not anywhere near there right now. This was probably them a few years ago, Jersey, when they were going through their process.

"I have to continue to understand that. I just want our guys to have some sanity in the last quarter here by being smart when we play these games now because we have a limited lineup."

• James van Riemsdyk, the Flyer most likely to be moved by the deadline, was not in the lineup.

Tortorella said van Riemsdyk was "a little banged up." Probably some asset management by the Flyers, as well.

We'll see if the 33-year-old winger gets one more game in a Flyers uniform.

Without Konecny and van Riemsdyk, the Flyers had a young look up front. Eight of their 12 forwards were 25 years old or younger.

"You dwell on things and you think about what's always wrong and you get negative, what does that do for the group?" Scott Laughton said. "You learn from it, you try to become a better person and better player throughout this.

"It's tough, it stinks. It's not fun going through this. But, you know what, you try to look at the other side of it where we can come out of this as a group and have these young guys come in, guys that want to be Flyers, that really want to be here and try to get something going here."

• Samuel Ersson stomached his first loss as an NHL netminder, dropping to 6-1-0. He faced 36 shots.

"I let in seven goals, I can't be happy," Ersson said.

The 23-year-old made some quality saves to keep the Flyers somewhat afloat during the first 40 minutes.

He didn't get much help during a second period in which New Jersey turned the game upside down on the Flyers.

Jonas Siegenthaler, Jack Hughes and Dawson Mercer all scored goals for the Devils, who completely dominated the Flyers.

Hughes' marker came on a dazzling breakaway move to cushion New Jersey's lead to 2-0. Mercer's 3-0 goal was a result of a neutral-zone turnover by Morgan Frost.

Siegenthaler broke the ice with a shot through traffic.

The Devils poured in four more during the third period to make it a touchdown and an extra point.

"It sucks he has to eat all seven," Tortorella said of Ersson. "That's part of a process for your No. 2 goalie because Carter was not going in there."

Fourteen different New Jersey players recorded a point on the night.

"S--- happens, it's not fun," Ersson said. "But we've got to be able to handle this adversity and battle back here the next couple of games.

"You never want to lose a game like this, but you've got to be able to handle it when it happens."

Devils netminder Akira Schmid stopped all 23 of the Flyers' shots.

• Desnoyers, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick, was rewarded for his growth in his first year of pro hockey down at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

The organization is very high on the 21-year-old forward. He plays a game coaches tend to love.

"Played really well down there," Tortorella said pregame. "Chases things around, plays the right way, he's been one of the best all-around players. I've had interest in a little while here to see him."

The Flyers' head coach put Desnoyers at center, with Laughton and Olle Lycksell on his wings.

Desnoyers played 14:53 minutes and was only a minus-1.

"He deserves an opportunity," Tortorella said. "Just walking with him on the bus, I know he's really excited. His parents got here.

"I'm not going to make judgements, good or bad, after the game. It's not fair. I'm always anxious to see kids play, especially the situation we're in in Philly to see where we're at a little bit."

Desnoyers' parents Martine Laliberte and David Desnoyers made the 13-and-a-half-hour drive from Prince Edward Island to Newark, a trek that commenced at 2 a.m. ET.

"They were pretty happy," Desnoyers said pregame. "My mom's always emotional. I score a goal and she gets emotional. It was just fun to announce it to them and I was hoping they would get here."

After the game, Tortorella said the Flyers were sending Ersson and Desnoyers back to the Phantoms.

Elliot Desnoyers on his NHL debut for the Flyers


• Wade Allison was banged up late in the third period.

• Nick Seeler and Michael McLeod dropped the gloves in the second period. Pretty good fight.

Seeler is a team-first, cost-effective defenseman that contending teams could have an eye on at the deadline.

• Cam York was a healthy scratch on the back end.

"Nothing bad, I just wanted to give him a day," Tortorella said. "It's been a little bit of a struggle for him of late, he's played a lot of hockey."

• In their final game before the trade deadline, the Flyers host the Rangers on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET/TNT).

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