A pair of rookies benched, Flyers have another missed opportunity

A pair of rookies benched, Flyers have another missed opportunity originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

John Tortorella benched two rookies for the third period Friday night as the Flyers wiped out a positive start with an ugly finish in a 5-2 loss to the Capitals.

Bobby Brink and Olle Lycksell were glued to the visiting pine at Capital One Arena over the final 20 minutes.

The Flyers' head coach was clearly unhappy with the young forwards when Washington scored its go-ahead 3-2 goal in the final two and a half minutes of the second period (more on that below).

The Capitals erased a 2-0 Flyers lead with three goals in the middle stanza.

Rolling with 10 forwards in the third period, the Flyers (31-23-7) never really posed a threat to come back.

Anthony Mantha cushioned Washington's lead with a power play marker and Dylan Strome finished the Flyers off nine and a half minutes later.

Tortorella's club is 1-3-0 without Travis Konecny. The Flyers' leading scorer has missed the last four games because of an upper-body injury and is considered day to day.

The Flyers are 1-1-0 against the Capitals (28-22-9). They meet them once more April 16 at the Wells Fargo Center in the regular-season finale for each team.

• Tortorella was shown on the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast irate behind the bench after Washington surged ahead on John Carlson's goal with 2:15 minutes left in the second period.

Brink and Lycksell had long shifts and were slow in defensive-zone coverage.

As Alex Ovechkin handled the puck on the perimeter, Brink was hesitant to take away time and space. He then had a chance to cut off Carlson's wraparound attempt but was a step behind.

Lycksell may have had an opportunity to win a puck race and prevent the Capitals' sustained possession.

A steaming Tortorella laid into both players before they sat for the remainder of the game.

The decision was an eye-opening one considering it shortened the Flyers' bench by a lot on a night the team plays the next day. Brink also gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead for a second straight game.

Tortorella went with the traditional 12 forwards and six defensemen against Washington. Ronnie Attard, called up Thursday from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, was a healthy scratch along with Cam Atkinson.

We'll see if Tortorella goes to 11 forwards and seven defensemen Saturday by inserting Atkinson and Attard.

• The Flyers have lost their last six Metropolitan Division matchups.

Four of those losses have come in the last two weeks. Three of the games were significant missed opportunities against the Devils, Penguins and Capitals, teams all staring up at the Flyers in the standings.

Washington crept to within four points of the third-place Flyers and has two games in hand.

The Flyers, not losing sight of their future-centric plan, are a week out from the NHL trade deadline. They have three games left before next Friday's 3 p.m. ET cutoff.

Samuel Ersson was not the Flyers' problem.

The 24-year-old made some timely saves to keep his team ahead and then within striking distance. The Flyers simply got a way from their game in the second period. They were not as hungry to pucks and had to defend much more.

Ersson finished with 16 saves on 21 shots.

Ovechkin scored directly off a draw in the second period to cut the Flyers' two-goal lead in half.

After Ersson denied a Max Pacioretty breakaway, the Capitals kept the puck in the offensive zone before Sonny Milano eventually tied the game at 2-2.

Washington netminder Charlie Lindgren stopped 21 of the Flyers' 23 shots.

• An Owen Tippett power play goal gave the Flyers their 2-0 lead at first intermission.

In his last 82 games, dating back to Feb. 20 of last season, Tippett has 34 goals. He just turned 25 years old last month.

• The Flyers are right back at it Saturday when they host Claude Giroux and the Senators (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

They've gone 0-2-0 against Ottawa, a team in last place of the Atlantic Division.

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