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5 Takeaways: Flyers Lose, 7-0; Gain Ground in Draft Lottery

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Jack Hughes, NJ Devils, Philadelphia Flyers
New Jersey's Jack Hughes is sent airborne by Justin Braun. Hughes scored a goal as the Devils defeated the Flyers. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers, missing four key players who are injured, lost again Saturday and suffered their seventh loss in their last eight games.

Devils 7, Flyers 0.

Ugly, ugly. ugly.

Blown defensive coverages. Sloppiness with the puck. No sustained offensive-zone time.

Hey, at least they are increasing their odds in the draft lottery. Only seven teams have a worse record than the Flyers, and if Travis Konecny is out for a while, they could drop further.

New Jersey (39-15-5), which honored its 2003 Stanley Cup champions in a pregame ceremony, got three points from defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler as it finished the season series 2-2 against the Flyers (23-28-10).

The Devils’ Akira Schmid (25 saves) had the easiest shutout you can imagine. It was his first career shutout.

Philly has lost three straight since high-scoring right winger Konency was sidelined by an upper-body injury. The Flyers have been without Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson and Ryan Ellis all season.

Here are five quick observations:

1. Sam Ersson suffered his first NHL loss, but got little support.

Despite the score, Ersson didn’t play badly. He got little support from his teammates and his NHL record slipped to 6-1.

The 23-year-old goaltender made several terrific stops to keep the game scoreless going into the second period. New Jersey took a 1-0 lead when Siegenthaler’s long shot made it through a maze of players — and may have deflected off the Flyers’ Justin Braun — and got past Ersson with 17:01 left in the second.

Later in the second, Siegenthaler took the puck from Scott Laughton and sent 21-year-old center Jack Hughes in on a breakaway, and he made it 2-0 with a dazzling move that produced his 36th goal.

Chants of “MVP” echoed around the Prudential Center.

With one minute left in the second, a Morgan Frost turnover set up Dawson Mercer’s goal, giving the Devils a 3-0 lead. Mercer has goals in six straight games.

The only goal you could fault Ersson was one scored by Nico Hischier (25 goals) from the right circle early in the third.

The fifth goal, scored by Dougie Hamilton, went into the net as Nathan Bastien bumped into Ersson. Defenseman Ivan Provorov had pushed Bastien into the goalie. putting him out of position.

New Jersey added goals by an uncovered Jesper Bratt (tap-in) and Bastien (deflection) to make it 7-0.

2. The Flyers’ power play continued to struggle.

Philly had a difficult time setting up its power play, and showed why it had fallen to last in the NHL in that department.

In the first period, for instance, the Flyers had a total of just one shot on two power plays that covered four minutes.

The Philadelphia Flyers entered the night 2 for 23 (8.7%) over their last 12 games. Overall, they began the game clicking at 15.8%, last in the NHL.

3. Elliot Desnoyers was solid in his NHL debut.

Playing center between Laughton and his former Phantoms teammate, Olle Lycksell, Desnoyers was active on the forecheck, set up a handful of scoring chances, and was arguably the Flyers’ best player.

Desnoyers had six hits, three blocked shots, and five shot attempts. After losing his first five faceoffs, he won six of his last nine.

“I thought he was terrific,” coach John Tortorella said. “He was involved; he banged. He wasn’t intimidated by anything.”

Desnoyers acknowledged he was nervous before the game and “didn’t get too much sleep” Friday night.

But all in all, it was a good start for a 21-year-old forward who was having an excellent rookie season with the Phantoms before being recalled for Saturday’s game.

4. The Flyers used their youngest group of forwards this season.

Eight of the Philadelphia Flyers’ 12 forwards were 25 or under. You will see more of that in the final 21 games because veteran James van Riemsdyk is expected to be dealt before Friday’s deadline.

Van riemsdyk, 33, sat out the game. Tortorella said he was “banged up.” The left winger probably could have played, but the Flyers want to protect him from a serious injury.

The Flyers will likely get a second – or third-round draft pick for van Riemsdyk.

5. You know it’s a bad night when one of the highlights is …

A second-period fight.

Midway through the second period, Nick Seeler decisioned New Jersey’s Michael McLeod in one of the liveliest fights of the season.

It was the Flyers’ 31st fight, tops in the NHL.

By the way, Seeler, a defenseman, led the Flyers with four shots on goal.

Breakaways

The Flyers are now 2-10 in the back end of back-to-back games. … After the first period, the Flyers were outshot, 30-12. … Provorov (minus-2) and Tony DeAngelo (minus-4) were reunited on the top pairing for the first time since Nov. 26. They played together in the season’s first 22 games. … Cam York was given the night off and replaced by Braun. … Joel Farabee, who turned 23 Saturday, is goal-less in his last 20 games. … It was the most goals allowed by the Flyers this season. … The Flyers host the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

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