Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes benched in Flyers shutout loss to San Jose

Oct 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Jose Sharks center Steven Lorentz (16) celebrates a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Jose Sharks center Steven Lorentz (16) celebrates a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

The Flyers welcomed in a Sharks team that had started the season 1-6-0. They had yet to win in regulation and were scoring one to two goals a game for the most part. A recipe for an easy Flyers victory? Think again.

It was the second half of a back-to-back in which Philadelphia failed once again to get the two points in the second game. It also allowed the Sharks to earn just their second victory of the season after losing six of their first seven games. There were no excuses to be made, though.

"“They’ve been on a road trip all week just like us, if not probably an even longer one. And they were in Europe so we’ve got no excuse to talk about fatigue or anything. Got to find a way.” Tony DeAngelo said"

The Flyers were dealt another blow to their lineup pretty early on as James van Riemsdyk only played 3:29 before leaving the game after taking a shot off the hand. For a team that is already missing Cam Atkinson, Owen Tippett, and Rasmus Ristolainen, they cannot afford to lose yet another player. There was no immediate update after the game about van Riemsdyk’s status.

It would take a while to get a goal in this one as we had to wait until almost midway through the game. James Reimer stopped all seven shots he saw in the first while Felix Sandstrom did one better and stopped nine consecutive shots. It also looked as if the Flyers would be the ones to take the lead as Joel Farabee scored on the power play.

However, upon further review, Scott Laughton was offsides before Kevin Hayes could get the puck into the zone. It was a heck of a shift from Hayes even before that as his backchecking took away a Sharks 2-on-1 at the other end. But it would all be for naught. It seemed as if the Flyers lost any possible momentum they had after Farabee’s goal was taken back. They fired a total of five shots on net during the second period while San Jose had 12. It ended up being San Jose who would get on the board first not much after the disallowed goal.

Felix Sandstrom made a big stop on Timo Meier prior to the goal. It was Erik Karlsson, whom Tomas Hertl was able to find, with a blast from the faceoff circle that beat Sandstrom on the blocker side. It was Karlsson’s team-leading third goal of the season.

A bit of miscommunication behind the net from Sandstrom and Tony DeAngelo led to the Sharks’ second goal of the evening. Sandstrom tried to lay it over to DeAngelo but it ended up going through the defender’s legs. Matt Nieto grabbed the loose puck and sent it to Jaycob Megna at the point who fired the shot on net. Steven Lorentz put the stick out to deflect the shot past Sandstrom.

Both DeAngelo and Sandstrom took the blame for the goal after the game. DeAngelo cited that he didn’t ask for a hard rim in time and how Sandstrom played well. The young goaltender admitted that he should be able to make a better pass there. It was the seventh game of Sandstrom’s career as he has yet to earn his first NHL win.

"“Like you said, you can’t control everything. You just gotta keep battling and keep doing your work and eventually it’s gonna turn around. That’s the mindset I’m having and I’m just gonna keep battling hard in practice and keep working. It will come.” Sandstrom said on not letting himself get frustrated."

Clearly sending a message to a few of his veteran players, Tortorella did not send Travis Konecny or Kevin Hayes out for a shift in the third period. With James van Riemsdyk only taking five shifts before leaving, it was an interesting call to make. We saw the likes of Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, and Tanner Laczynski out while down by two goals.

Konecny finished with just 12:25 minutes of ice time while Hayes had 11:02. Not counting van Riemsdyk leaving due to injury, Laczynski was the only other forward to finish with a little over 11 minutes of time on ice. Most of his ice time came in that third period while the other two were benched, though.

"“I’m just going to keep that in the room,” John Tortorella said after the game about his reasoning for benching the two veteran forwards."

Konecny was a bit more open, citing that he had a few mistakes on the ice and that he was out for both goals against as well. Hayes was a bit more subdued, simply stating Tortorella was clearly not happy with his play.

The Flyers pulled Sandstrom with about 4:30 to go, down by two goals. The Sharks didn’t waste much time icing this one. Nico Sturm, while being pressured, hit the empty net a little over 30 seconds later. The Flyers suffered their first shutout loss of the season.

While the players as a whole did talk about how this wasn’t a good game for them, it isn’t necessarily something that they are too worried about. They just simply have to play better next time.

"“Our record is still pretty good. We’ve been working hard. Obviously we don’t wanna lose like that. I mean, I don’t think it changes everything. We’re still a good hockey team, we’re still gonna bounce back. We’re gonna play hard every night. That was definitely not a reflection of how we play our game.” Konecny said after the loss."

The Flyers will have a few days to let this one sink in as they’re not scheduled to play again until Thursday. It’ll be a rematch against the Panthers, the team who gave Philadelphia their first loss of the season after starting 3-0-0. They’ll look for a much better outcome this time.