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Flyers fall again to Red Wings, 4-2, despite much stronger effort

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Philadelphia Flyers, Ivan Provorov, Detroit Red Wings
Defenseman Keith Yandle's first goal with the Flyers cut the Detroit Red Wings' lead to 2-1 late in the second period. Photo: Zack Hill.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, their rematch with Detroit on Saturday afternoon was a chance for redemption.

Didn’t happen.

Red Wings 4, Flyers 2.

The Flyers were much more engaged in their play than in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Red Wings at the Wells Fargo Center, but they couldn’t get enough pucks past goalie Thomas Greiss, who was sharp despite playing his first game since Jan. 9.

“They responded really well today with the effort, and the attitude was there the whole game,” Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said about his injury-ravaged team. “I thought we were doing a lot of good things, and the next thing you know, we’re down, 1-0.  We’re (later) down 2-0, but the response is what we were looking for, as far as continuing to fight, continuing to work, continuing to do the right things.”

Scott Laughton, who had two points and was the Flyers’ best player, scored on a rebound with 10:11 left to get the Orange and Black to within 3-2. The goal was scored 44 seconds after Mo Seider’s power-play tally had put the Red Wings ahead, 3-1.

The Wings secured the victory with an empty-net goal.

Greiss finished with 32 saves and was the difference. He made a huge stop on Travis Konecny, who was alone in front, with 8:24 to go in regulation to maintain the 3-2 lead.

The Flyers, now 1-21-3 when they face a deficit entering the third period, outshot the Red Wings, 34-23.

“Obviously not the result we wanted, and tough to lose like that, but guys were skating and working together,” said Laughton, who finished with a game-high six shots. “At this point, we have to keep building on that, and hopefully get something going.”

With Detroit (22-21-6) holding a 1-0 lead, Greiss made a pair of point-blank saves on James van Riemsdyk while the Flyers (15-24-8) were on a power play early in the second period. That made the Flyers 0 for their last 13 on the PP, though they later ended their drought.

The Flyers had a 20-9 shots domination in the first 27 minutes, but still faced a 1-0 deficit at Little Caesar’s Arena.

“The bounces just didn’t go our way tonight,” goalie Carter Hart said. “That’s hockey. We just have to put it behind us and move to the next one.”

The deficit grew to 2-0 with 10:23 left in the second. The Flyers swarmed the net and had a flurry of opportunities, but speedy Dylan Larkin (two assists) started a fastbreak down the other end, and Filip Zadina, a first-round selection in 2018 (No. 6 overall), scored from the high slot as he netted just his sixth goal of the season.

Greiss, 36, stopped Laughton on a breakaway with 1:20 left in the second, but with 7.5 seconds left in the stanza, Keith Yandle’s power-play blast sliced the deficit to 2-1. It was Yandle’s initial goal of the season and first as a Flyer, and it was helped immensely by 6-foot-6, 225-pound Isaac Ratcliffe’s screen on Greiss.

The Flyers had more scoring chances than the Wings in the first, but a defensive lapse by Kevin Connauton cost them as Detroit took a 1-0 lead with 14:24 left in the period. Connauton, a defenseman playing his first game since Jan. 8, was inserted into the lineup because of an injury to Rasmus Ristolainen.

Tyler Bertuzzi, a 26-year-old winger, got behind Connauton on the doorstep, took a pass from Robby Fabbri, and scored his 23rd goal — and 14th in his last 20 games. Hart had no chance.

The Philadelphia Flyers play the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby has 499 career goals heading into Sunday’s game in New Jersey. He has more goals (49) — by far — against the Flyers than any NHL team.

Breakaways

Hustling Flyers winger Gerry Mayhew was stopped on a breakaway and, as he tripped over Greiss’ stick and crashed into the boards, he was injured with 10:26 left. Mayhew had a bloodied face and left the game. He had stitches administered but the Flyers said he was OK. … Laughton has a five-game points streak. … Ratcliffe registered his first NHL assist on Yandle’s PP goal … Konecny got hit in the mouth with a puck early in the game and went to the locker room for repairs, but returned later in the first period. … Derick Brassard, who had missed more than a month before returning Wednesday from a hip injury, was scratched, so Connor Bunnaman was the third-line center, and Jackson Cates, recalled on an emergency basis, was at 4C.  Yeo said Brassard was “real sore.” … Hart stopped Vladislav Namestnikov on a first-period breakaway. … After playing in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have an eight-game homestand, which is the longest in franchise history. … Claude Giroux, a walking trade rumor, won 58% of his faceoffs and had four shots in 21:21.

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Machete

The Flyers stink. They look slow, soft and generally disinterested. In my 50 years as a Flyer and NHL fan, this is the worst team I have ever seen when playing in their own end.

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