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Philadelphia Flyers

Carchidi: Despite Loss, Flyers Still in Good Spot Down the Stretch



John Tortorella, Philadelphia Flyers
John Tortorella and the Flyers hope Thursday's loss in Montreal does not come back to haunt them in their quest to reach the playoffs. Photo: AP.

To their credit, the Philadelphia Flyers have taken care of business this season against the league’s lightweights.

That is one of the reasons they have shocked the NHL and have been in a playoff spot despite going through a massive rebuild.

On Thursday, however, they had a rare slip against a Montreal team that began the night ahead of just one of the 16 Eastern Conference teams.

Montreal 4, Flyers 1.

Maybe the visiting Flyers were overconfident because they had survived a seven-game gauntlet against the East’s top teams, going a respectable 2-3-2 and maintaining third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Or maybe they were just due for a loss against an inferior team.

Whatever the reason, the Flyers,  uncharacteristically, were late on too many loose pucks in the opening period as Montreal built a 2-0 lead and never looked back.

Different team

In short, the Flyers did not resemble the team that outplayed the powerful New York Rangers but dropped a 6-5 overtime decision Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Flyers, who made more comebacks than Michael Keaton against the Rangers, rallied in the third period. But two goals in the first five-plus minutes of the period were erased, one because Garnet Hathaway kicked the puck in the net, the other because Tyson Foerster was offside.

A short time later, Travis Konecny knocked a point-blank shot off the post while the Flyers were on a power play.

It was that kind of night for the Orange and Black, who lost despite outshooting the Canadiens, 30-17. Two of the Habs’ shots were empty-net goals.

“It took us a while to get going … but we had over 20 chances and (goalie Cayden) Primeau shut the door,” coach John Tortorella said after the Flyers went 0 for 4 on the power play. “We just have to keep on going and get by this.”

The Flyers’ offense had no finish. Scott Laughton preferred looking at the positives.

“I thought our defensive game was pretty intact,” he said. “Kept them on the outside most of the night.”

The good news is that Washington and Detroit, among the teams chasing the Flyers for a playoff spot, also lost. The Capitals were ripped in Toronto, 5-1, while the Red Wings were trounced in Carolina, 4-0.

Isles sneaking into hunt

The Islanders, though, upset the Panthers, 3-2, in Florida. Despite some uneven play in recent weeks, the Isles have climbed back into the playoff race.

Here’s how the standings look as the Philadelphia Flyers try to secure their first playoff spot in four seasons:

Flyers: 82 points, eight games left. Third in Metro.

Capitals: 81 points, 10 games left. Fourth in Metro, currently own second wild-card spot.

Red Wings: 79 points, nine games left. Out of a playoff spot.

Islanders: 77 points, 10 games left. Out of playoff spot.

Devils: 76 points, nine games left. Out of playoff spot.

On the positive side, the Flyers thoroughly dominated the nothing-to-lose Habs in the third period. They need to take that into Saturday’s home game against the lowly Chicago Bedards (21-47-5).

They must put their latest loss behind them and take advantage of a fortuitous schedule. Their next five games are against teams out of a playoff spot: Chicago, the Islanders, Buffalo, Columbus, and Montreal.

Monday’s home game against the Isles, of course, is extremely critical.

Even with Thursday’s loss, the Flyers are still 20-12-5 against teams not in playoff spots. After resetting from this game, that bodes well for Philly in this upcoming stretch.

Sam Carchidi writes a weekly column for Philly Hockey Now. He and Jeff Hare are working on a TV series on the Flyers’ glory days, tentatively called “Bullies.” Carchidi can be reached at

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