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5 Takeaways: Flyers Fail to Crack .500, Fall to Kraken

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Felix Sandstrom, Philadelphia Flyers
Felix Sandstrom makes a save during the Flyers' 4-3 loss to Seattle on Sunday. The teams meet again on Thursday. Photo: AP.

As an appetizer to the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the speedy Seattle Kraken on Sunday afternoon.

For the Flyers, it was not very tasty.

The Flyers failed to climb over “hockey .500” for the first time in nearly three months as they fell to the Seattle Kraken, 4-3, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Jaden Schwartz had a pair of goals for Dave Hakstol’s second-year Kraken (30-18-5).

The Philadelphia Flyers (22-23-10) finished a 1-2-1 homestand.

Here are five quick takeaways:

1. The Flyers looked like a tired team.

Showing the effects of playing three games in four days/nights — and on back-to-back days — the sloppy Flyers didn’t show the zip they had displayed recently. Especially in the first two periods, during which they managed a total of 10 shots.

They showed more life in the third period after falling into a 4-2 hole, and got to within 4-3 on Patrick Brown’s shorthanded goal with 3:20 left.

But it wasn’t enough.

The Flyers, who finished with a season-low 18 shots, don’t play again until Thursday, when they are in Seattle.

“I thought they were quicker, and the quicker-thinking team,” coach John Tortorella said. “I thought we were a step behind all night until the second half of the third period.”

2. Kraken cash in on Flyers’ miscues.

A Tony DeAngelo giveaway led to a two-on-one that enabled Seattle’s Jordan Eberle¬† to tie the score at 1-all with 7:07 left in the first. A little over four minutes later, James van Riemsdyk was pickpocketed as he tried to get out of the defensive zone, leading to Eeli Tolvanen’s goal.

Tolvanen beat little-used Felix Sandstrom to give the Kraken a 2-1 lead. Sandstrom, who has played mostly in the second half of back-to-back games, absorbed the loss and fell to 1-8-1.

“We didn’t give Sanny much help,” DeAngelo said. “… He’s been keeping us in games.”

“Their team is quick and they force you into mistakes,” van Riemsdyk said.

3. JVR makes amends, flashes great hands.

Showing amazing hands, van Riemsdyk deflected Owen Tippett’s shot into the air, then swatted it past Philipp Grubauer for his ninth goal of the season. That tied the score at 2-2 with 16:27 remaining in the second

Watch JVR’s great hand/eye coordination:

 

Seattle regained the lead, however, when a wide-open Schwartz scored from the slot with 61 seconds to go in the second.

4. New-look power play gets Flyers off the flying start.

Rasmus Ristolainen found himself on the power play Sunday, stationed in front of the net.

Hey, when you have gone 0 for 13 on the power play in the previous six games, changes are needed.

Adding the big defenseman to the power play paid immediate dividends.

Ristolainen set up Tippett’s rebound goal just 2:11 into the game, putting the Flyers ahead, 1-0.

It was Tippett’s 15th goal in his 50 games.

The Flyers’ fast start — they had the game’s first four shots — was muted. Seattle outshot them, 11-0, over the last 16:35 of the opening period.

5. Flyers rookie Olle Lycksell gets a chance to shine.

Lycksell, recalled from the Phantoms on Saturday, played his first NHL game since Dec. 17. He was given an opportunity to be productive as he started the game at left wing on the top line, which included center Scott Laughton and right winger Kevin Hayes.

The Sweden native wasn’t a factor. The line combined for just two shots.

Lycksell, 23, finished with three blocked shots — all in the first period — and one shot in 10:48 minutes. He had 34 points in 34 games with the Phantoms this season.

Breakaways

Seattle ended a three-game losing streak. … The Flyers now have 10 shorthanded goals, tops in the NHL. … Sandstrom made just his third NHL start since late November. … Tippett had two points. … DeAngelo and Nick Seeler were each minus-3. DeAngelo had nine shot attempts, including four on goal. … Travis Konecny drew a tripping penalty that set up Tippett’s power-play goal. Konecny is now goal-less in his last 13 games. He and Hayes had no shots Sunday. … Travis Sanheim blocked five shots. … The Flyers’ next practice is Wednesday, the day before they have a rematch with the Kraken in Seattle. That starts a four-game road trip that also has stops in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton.

PHN: Flyers, NHL and the … Super Bowl?

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