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Flyers Takeaways: Tortorella Ejected as Lightning Run Rampant

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Anthony Duclair scored his first goal as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning after being dealt on Deadline Day. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers, playing with five defensemen with Egor Zamula falling ill, took a 7-0 beating by the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday night.

Coming off a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Thursday night, the Flyers probably should have come forward with a better effort. They didn’t, and although the fight and frustration were evident, the only thing that matters is what was up on the scoreboard. That was seven goals to zero.

Flyers’ defensive woes

After sending Adam Ginning down in the middle of the road trip, the Flyers were left with only six healthy defensemen, including debutant Erik Johnson. Well, it turns out that they only had five with Zamula feeling under the weather.

As a result, Johnson, Marc Staal, Ronnie Attard, Cam York, and Travis Sanheim all logged heavy minutes. It went about as poorly as you’d expect.

In all situations, York was on the ice for five of Tampa Bay’s seven goals. Staal and Sanheim were on the ice for three apiece, while Johnson was on for two. Surprisingly, Attard was on the ice for only one, despite playing 20:09 in his second NHL game of the season.

Right now, the absences of Nick Seeler, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Jamie Drysdale are being felt. Trading away Sean Walker doesn’t help either, but it was necessary for an organization that needs to consider the Flyers of tomorrow, too.

John Tortorella ejected

Victor Hedman, Nick Paul, Conor Sheary, and Brayden Point all scored within 10 minutes of each other in the first period, quickly springing the Lightning into cruise control with a 4-0 lead. Point’s tally came on the power play after a phantom tripping call on Attard, and Tortorella had just about seen enough of Wes McCauley and his crew.

After giving McCauley and Co. an earful, including what appeared to be “F–k off”, and “I’m staying right f–king here” after being ejected, Tortorella eventually made his way down the tunnel. Associate coach Brad Shaw took the reins for the final two and a half periods, and things, as the score suggests, did not improve.

Hedman, Anthony Duclair, and Brandon Hagel scored in the final two frames to kill the game off. Given the Flyers‘ performance and the performance of the referees, it’s easy to see why Tortorella was as animated as he was on Saturday night.

Flyers forwards are ice cold

Right now, it’s of the utmost importance that the Flyers find a way to get their forwards going. Travis Konecny was a non-factor against Tampa Bay. Owen Tippett has one goal since the Stadium Series and is without a point in his last four games. Cam Atkinson, who just recorded his first NHL fight after 760 games, hasn’t scored a point since Jan. 23. Sean Couturier has two goals in 2024.

These are not players you want to be ice-cold heading into the postseason, if they make it that far. After this Flyers loss, the New York Islanders are four points behind Philadelphia with three games in hand. It’s officially crunch time in the City of Brotherly Love.

I will say, Denis Gurianov looked sharp in his debut despite receiving limited minutes as the 13th forward. He, Morgan Frost, and Nick Deslauriers were also the only three Flyers to not have been on the ice for a single goal against on Saturday night.

Gurianov is big, he’s fast, he can shoot, and he can cycle. Sign me up.

Note: Bobby Brink served as a healthy scratch once again; the Flyers are 21-14-7 when he plays, and 12-10-1 when he does not.

The Flyers aren’t in trouble yet, but they have more questions than answers at the moment. They’ll need to come up with some answers when the San Jose Sharks visit the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

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