Sloppy start and finish burn Flyers in ugly home loss to Ducks originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Flyers had a big-time clunker on their home ice Saturday afternoon, falling to the Ducks, 7-4.
Fans at the Wells Fargo Center exited early once the Flyers fell behind by four goals for the third time.
Entering the day, the Flyers (4-3-1) had allowed only three goals through a perfect 3-0-0 start at home.
Anaheim more than doubled that total.
Bobby Brink had two assists after scoring two goals Thursday.
But the Flyers played a messy, undisciplined game.
John Tortorella's club visits the Ducks (4-4-0) in 13 days to wrap up the two-game regular-season series.
"We're not going to throw things away on how we're trying to prepare these guys because we have a little bit of a struggle," the Flyers' head coach said. "We’re going to keep on trying to push the offense. We’re not going to go into a defensive shell because we get seven scored on us."
• The Flyers had a sloppy start and it was costly.
Anaheim pinned them in a four-goal deficit by the halfway mark of the game.
Travis Sanheim, arguably the Flyers' best player through the first two weeks of the season, committed an uncharacteristic mistake that led to a Ducks goal in the opening minute. He flubbed a pass at the defensive blue line and Anaheim pounced on the turnover.
Later in the period, Ryan Poehling sent the puck into the stands for a delay-of-game penalty. The Ducks scored with about four seconds left on their power play to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.
"We whiff on one, ends up in our net. Throw the puck out of the building, they score on the power play," Tortorella said. "And the whole complexion changes."
Atkinson and Konecny scored goals within a span of 46 seconds to cut Anaheim's lead in half and bring the crowd to life before the third period.
But not long into the final stanza, the Flyers had more self-inflicted issues. Brink was whistled for crosschecking a little over a minute into the period and the Ducks capitalized on their power play. Konecny had a turnover as the Flyers were looking to exit the defensive zone and strike for a shorthanded goal.
"Obviously we're looking to get back in it, but I think I've got to reflect there, realize why I'm out there, which is to kill the penalty," Konecny said. "We had played good in the second, that we were probably going to have a good opportunity if we just stayed in the game there."
Not even a minute later, Anaheim scored again to push its lead back to four.
A week ago, the Flyers erased a 4-2 third-period deficit in Dallas with back-to-back shorthanded goals. Their penalty kill finished with three markers that night in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Stars.
"Those plays worked a few nights ago when we scored three," Tortorella said. "There were a lot of almost plays that didn't work."
Vatrano had himself a day, punctuating a hat trick with a shorthanded goal to put the Flyers down 7-3.
• Samuel Ersson was making his second start of the season and finished with 18 saves.
"It's up to me to be prepared," the 24-year-old said. "When I get the chance, I've got to be able to deliver a lot better performances than I have been the last couple games here. I've got to find a way to be a lot better, really."
He was far from his best but the Flyers also didn't help him at all.
When Ersson made a save during the third period with the game out of reach, some fans applauded him sarcastically.
"What Sam had to go through a little bit with the Bronx cheers out there ... bulls--t," Tortorella said. "The game does not fall on one guy, on the goalie. It belongs to all of us."
Ducks netminder Lukas Dostal stopped 27 of the Flyers' 31 shots.
• Two hours before the game, the Flyers unveiled the Zack Hill Media Center, honoring their former longtime and award-winning public relations maven.
Hill, a beloved and invaluable person in the organization for 30 years, retired last year.
Former broadcaster Steve Coates, general manager Danny Briere and vice president of public relations Joe Siville all shared messages of gratitude about Hill's impact. Briere called Hill a Flyer for life.
"I'm so fortunate to call all these folks at the Wells Fargo Center and the Flyers' organization my second family," Hill said. "I've been here over half my life and it is absolutely the most thrilling thing that has ever happened to me. This is a day that I will always cherish and never forget. Thank you from the bottom and the top of my heart."
Zack Hill, the best of the best, honored today as Flyers unveil the Zack Hill Press Conference Room.
Hill was Flyers’ longtime, award-winning PR maven and spent 30 seasons in organization.
Great job by all involved. Bravo, Zack! pic.twitter.com/9i33zwTV4t
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) October 28, 2023
A huge crowd was on hand for unveiling of the Zack Hill Media Center.
Dan Hilferty, Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Keith Jones, Danny Briere among the many to attend.
Speaks volumes about his impact on organization.
Briere said Hill is a Flyer for life and that he loved him. pic.twitter.com/bVB4oPzXlU
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) October 28, 2023
• The four-game homestand (1-1-0) continues Monday when the Flyers host the Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
"We play a pretty good team Monday," Tortorella said. "I’m not sure what happens but I know that we'll be ready to play. These are all things, as we go through the growth of this team, that come your way. This is what we have to pay attention to — how we handle situations. But I think they'll have an aggressive mindset come Monday."