In the third of four straight games between the teams, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New Jersey Devils, 5-3, at the Prudential Center on Thursday evening. Paired with the Boston Bruins' win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers were mathematically eliminated from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A pair of power play goals by Yegor Sharangovich (13th and 14th of the season) sent the Devils to the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
In the second period, the Flyers sandwiched a Scott Laughton shorthanded breakaway goal (8th) and Sean Couturier tip-in (15th) around a Jesper Boqvist goal (3rd).
Pavel Zacha (13th) added an insurance goal with 6:45 remaining in the third period. Jesper Bratt scored an empty net goal at 5-on-6 to establish a three-goal lead. Travis Konecny cut the deficit to 5-3 with a power play goal with 1:49 remaining.
Alex Lyon stopped 14 of 18 shots, taking the loss. Mackenzie Blackwood denied 21 of 24 Flyers shots.
The Flyers went 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill with a shorthanded goal.
Kevin Hayes and Robert Hägg were scratched for the Flyers. Carsen Twarynski and Samuel Morin re-entered the lineup.
The same formula for far too many Flyers losses this season was in place again in this night;s defeat: a slow start in the first period, multiple opposition power play goals, yielding a goal less than two minutes after scoring one, giving up at least one leaky goal.
1) The Devils, far from a special teams juggernaut this season, were 2-for-2 on the power play against the Flyers on Tuesday. In this game, New Jersey went 2-for-3 in the first period.
Sharangovich's first PPG was a leaky one from the right circle that beat Lyon under his left arm. The second one was scored off the rush: a too-easy entry, a gaping passing lane and Sharagovich getting Lyon to commit and maneuvering right around him to score. Damon Severson assisted on both tallies. Will Butcher got the other assist on the first goal and Janne Kuokkanen on the second. The two PPGs represented the 40th and 41st opposition power play tallies the Flyers have yielded this season.
2) As poorly as the Flyers played in the first period of Tuesday's game, this period's opening stanza was arguably worse even apart from a 9-3 shot on goal disadvantage and 21-14 shot attempt deficit. Philadelphia was not competitive in any aspect. They didn't have their feet moving, resulting in easy defensive zone exits and offensive zone entries for New Jersey. The defensive gaps and reads were poor. On the third New Jersey power play, Jack Hughes blew past Phil Myers and forced him into a slashing minor.
3) Joel Farabee stood up on behalf of teammate Travis Konecny in the second period, dropping the gloves near the benches with the Devils' Connor Carrick.
4) Laughton's 25-game goalless drought and the Flyers' season-long absence of any shorthanded goals ended in one fell swoop. Laughton claimed the puck near the defensive blueline and scored a nice breakaway goal as he moved left and elevated the puck over Blackwood.
A mere 1:46 later, after Jesper Boqvist rang a shot off the post, the Sweden scored off a feed from Nick Merkley. The goal marked the 16th time this season that the Flyers have yielded a goal within two minutes of scoring one.
New Jersey very nearly scored again two shifts later. Instead, at 12:17, Couturier tipped home a pass/shot from Justin Braun after a pass out from Jakub Voracek.
5) The Flyers couldn't get much push going in the third period despite a slew of offensive zone draws. Finally, after the Flyers very nearly scored on a set play off an attack zone draw, the Devils took a 4-2 lead at 13:15. Zacha maneuvered around Braun and then his shot appeared to be deflected by Sanheim over Lyon to the short side.