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5 Observations: Flyers Fall to Devils Despite Strong Effort

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Carter Hart's turnover behind the net led to this goal by Dawson Mercer, keying the Devils 3-2 win over the Flyers. Photo:AP.

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella has been harping on structure with his team. It wasn’t there Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it was there for most of Saturday’s game against the first-place New Jersey Devils.

It didn’t matter.

The Devils got a break when goalie Carter Hart misplayed a puck behind the net, leading to a goal that snapped a 1-1 third-period tie, and then a bad rebound goal gave New Jersey a 3-1 lead.

The Flyers made a late push and got a goal from Lukas Sedlak, but New Jersey hung on for a 3-2 win, its 11th consecutive road victory — a franchise record and the second-longest in NHL history.

With Hart pulled for an extra attacker, the Flyers had a frenzy in front of Akira Schmid, but he held tough and raised his record to 5-0.

The Flyers didn’t get a point, but gave an effort that may have been deserving of one.

“We played our ass off,” Tortorella said.

He had few words during his press conference. You can watch here:

Here are my five observations:

1. Carter Hart had some bad moments.

The Jack Hughes goal hurt. He shook free from Ivan Provorov, made a good backhand on the net, and then followed up his own rebound and made it 3-1 at 6:56 of the third period. Hughes waved at a fan in the crowd during his celebration. Hart should have stopped the rebound.

He gave up the second goal, by Dawson Mercer, off a bad clear at 1:49 of the third period. The Flyer’s netminder derailed what was a decent defensive effort by his team.

“I don’t think we had many lapses,” Tortorella said.

2. The Flyers effort was much better.

The Flyers may have deserved a better fate in this game; they played a hard game against the NHL-leading New Jersey Devils. The Flyers had some good moments in this game. They created lots of traffic in the Devils’ crease at times, but weren’t rewarded.

“We played a great game. A full 60. I think it came down to goaltending. I have to be better and I will be better,” Hart said.

3. Philly’s penalty kill was effective.

The Devils were 0-3 on the power play. The Flyers did a nice job getting clears off of active sticks. They were good about not giving the Devils a lot of room to skate without some sort of disruption.

4. The power play came through.

Kevin Hayes was patient on the power play and made a nice pass to Noah Cates who found Travis Konecny near the slot. The right winger tied the game 1-1 at 7:41 of the second period. The power play was 1-3.

Owen Tippett was more active and had a decent game with two shots on net but he needs to start scoring again.

5. Flyers couldn’t play lockdown defense for more than one period.

Fabian Zetterlund scored on the Devils’ fifth shot of the game at 6:01 of the second period. Miles Wood, a Flyers killer, made a nice feed from behind the net to make that happen.

Breakaways

With 4:04 left in the third period, Joel Farabee had a goal taken off the board when Morgan Frost interfered with Devils goalie Schmid…. Both teams were physical. The Flyers had 30 hits — two fewer than New Jersey. … The Flyers outshot the Devils, 33-18. … New Jersey won 59.6% of the faceoffs. … The Flyers host defending champion Colorado on Monday. Both teams have been hit hard by injuries.

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