Canes chase Samuel Ersson in NHL Debut, Hart Injured

Philadelphia Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

Make no bones about it: this was an UGLY game. the Carolina Hurricanes extended their point streak to 14 games, but let a four-goal lead disappear. Coach John Tortorella’s boys never gave up and rallied with three third period goals, but fell short 6-5 in a wild one.

Welcome to the NHL Samuel Ersson! On Carolina’s first shot of the game, about 4 minutes in, Jesper Fast caught a pass from Jordan Martinook and scored. Jordan Staal knocked down a poor pass from Ivan Provorov from behind the net, and passed it over to Martinook who fed it to Fast for the goal.

Ersson got the start so that Carter Hart could get a rest after playing on Thursday night. Regular backup Felix Sandstrom was dealing with an illness. Ersson had a great training camp but was passed over by Sandstrom.

Flyers rallied but fell short once again in 6-5 loss to the Hurricanes

Travis Sanheim would tie it up with just under 9 min to go in the first. Travis Sanheim, transitioning from an offensive scoring chance by Carolina, went the length of the ice, maneuvering between Brent Burns (who just recorded his 800th career point the game before), Jacob Slavin, and Seth Jarvis to put one over the glove hand of Antti Raanta. Morgan Frost and former Hurricane Tony DeAngelo assisted on Sanheim’s goal.

The score did not remain tied for long, With the Hurricanes on the power play due to a tripping penalty to Frost, they set up and began taking shots at the net. Martin Necas fired one off with a lot of traffic in front of Errson and Stefan Noesen deflected it and found the back of the net.  And with less than a minute to go, Fast would score his second of the period after Martinook and Staal found him again. At the end of the first period, the Flyers were down 3-1 with a shot differential of 14 to 5.

DeAngelo got his revenge on his former team to start the second period off. Joel Farabee took a pass that took advantage of the Canes switching their lines. Farabee held the puck and passed it to DeAngelo who lifted it high over Raanta for the score and his sixth of the season. For Farabee, this is his second night in a row after going through an extended slump.

Four minutes later Raanta made a key save on a shot by Nic Deslauriers, the puck bounced out, and the Canes went on the attack. Paul Stastny got the rebound near the blue line, carried it into the Flyers’ zone, and passed it to Necas who left it behind for Andrei Svechnikov to fire in for his team-leading 18th goal of the season.

Two minutes later, Martinook scored on his own. Brent Pesce fired a shot at the net with Martinook creating havoc in front of the net. Martinook got a piece of it and deflected in. At that point, Coach Tortorella had had enough. He had faced 22 shots and blocked 17 of them in 27:58 minutes on the ice. Ouch! And the Canes didn’t let up when Carter Hart entered, getting five shots in his first five minutes in the game.

The Hurricanes would close the second period with a power play goal by Jesperi Kotkaniemi. However, Rasmus Ristolainen had shoved Jarvis into Carter Hart. Hart was shaken up pretty badly. The Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster said after the hit, “I’m not sure that Ristolainen has any brain power.”

Hart was taken out of the game to get looked at and Ersson was put back in. And to his credit, Ersson did not let another goal in.

In the third period, the Flyers took off. Nick Seeler would score a goal seven minutes into the third period. With Sanheim in the box for cross-checking (watch to see if he gets disciplined by the league for this), Scott Laughton scored a shorthanded goal just a few seconds into the penalty kill to put the Flyers down by two goals.  Seven minutes later, Konecny scored a shorthanded goal.

Despite a flurry of shots in the last two minutes, the Flyers were unable to get a goal past Raanta, who stopped 27 of the 32 shots he faced.

Coach Tortorella has often talked about how his players will not give up and you saw that tonight. While the loss stinks, the effort that the team put into it; especially rallying behind their beleaguered netminders is commendable. The Flyers will have the next five days off before resuming play in California. They’ll play the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.