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POSTGAME 5: Nothing Wild

JVR opens the scoring, but Wild score four unanswered to post 4-1 win on Saturday

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
An early lead was not an indicator of what was to come as the Philadelphia Flyers lost, 4-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

James van Riemsdyk scored on a 2-on-1 rush to give the Flyers a quick 1-0 edge but Zach Parise and Eric Staal answered in quick succession. In the second period, Staal made it a 3-1 lead for Minnesota in the second period and Carson Soucy tallied a long-distance empty netter as a Flyers power play expired to round out the scoring.

Carter Hart stopped 25 of 28 shots in a losing effort. Alex Stalock was not texted much in stopping 17 of 18 shots.

Already depleted at forward by injuries and due Oskar Lindblom's battle with Ewing sarcoma, the Flyers lost two more forwards in this game: Tyler Pitlick and Scott Laughton.

Three Stars:
1st: Eric Staal (2g)
2nd: Ryan Suter (1a, +2)
3rd: Kevin Fiala (1a)

TURNING POINT
The Flyers had the start they wanted but a pair of closely spaced shifts with Philadelphia committing costly breakdowns -- a turnover, poor coverages around the net -- turned the 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit and Philly never got much going.

MELTZER'S TAKE
* The Flyers had good early jump, and a quick JVR goal, but the Wild started to take over the play. A Philippe Myers turnover and a Fiala wraparound attempt that, with ineffective netfront coverage bounced in off Parise was quickly followed by second effort goal by a wide open Staal near the net. Video: PHI@MIN: van Riemsydk beats Stalock to open scoring

* For more than half the first period, van Riemsdyk's goal was the Flyers' lone shot on goal. Philly regained equilibrium and generated a few chances, including one in which Joel Farabee (stick tied up in front) and Scott Laughton (missed the net) had good looks at the net.

* The already-depleted Flyers found themselves down two forwards in the second period, as Tyler Pitlick did not come out for the period and Scott Laughton hobbled off early in the frame. The highlight of the period for Philly was a strong penalty kill. Not much else went right.

* For the second straight period, the Flyers went more than 10 minutes without a shot on goal, as they struggled with tight checking by Minnesota. At the other end, a multi-shot attempt scramble in the Philadelphia end eventually resulted in another Staal goal; the puck appeared to deflect in front. Late in the period, Joel Farabee dropped the gloves in defense of Matt Niskanen after an aggressive hit by Nick Foligno. 

* The Flyers had a quick push in portions of the early third period but never generated much in the way of grade-A chances on Stalock. Either there was one pass too many or a key pass was errant or the play drifted back toward the perimeter with the inside closed off. 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
* James van Riemsdyk scored the first Flyers goal, giving him six goals in his last three games against the Wild.

* The 18 shots on goal are the fewest the Flyers have had in a game since they had 18 in a 4-1 win at Vegas on Feb. 11, 2018.

* After injuries to Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick, the Flyers played with 10 forwards, led by Sean Couturier, who logged 22:55 of ice time - his highest of the season.

* The Flyers wrap up their three-game road trip in Winnipeg when they take on the Jets in a 5 p.m. puck drop on the east coast on NBCSP+ and 93.3 WMMR. 

THEY SAID IT
Video: Hear from Flyers coach following loss to MINVideo: Hear from Hart, Gostisbehere and Voracek after loss

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