Wild hope to avoid first 4-game skid, host Flyers
After a recent stretch of improved play, the Philadelphia Flyers have suddenly dropped consecutive home games to the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings.
The Flyers, who hadn’t lost two straight since Dec. 22-23, will now look to get back on track when they travel to St. Paul, Minn., to face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Philadelphia couldn’t hold three separate one-goal leads and fell 4-3 in overtime to the Kings on Tuesday.
James van Riemsdyk, Wade Allison and Rasmus Ristolainen each scored one goal for the Flyers.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Allison said. “We just have to take that into the next game.”
Allison’s play has elevated since being paired on a line with Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton.
“They both have a lot of games under their belt,” Allison said. “They both really know what they’re doing, and they’re pretty sweet players, so it makes the game a lot easier for me.”
Hayes had an assist against the Kings, giving him 15 goals and 29 assists for the season. The 30-year-old, who has been benched twice by head coach John Tortorella this season, is heading to his first All-Star Game.
“Kevin and I have talked right on through this,” Tortorella said. “There’s never been a confrontation. There’s been honesty, and I appreciate that from Kevin. He’s been honest with me, too.”
After the loss to the Jets, Tortorella was terse and left the podium after a brief postgame interaction with the media.
He was much more upbeat after the overtime setback.
“We stuck right there with them,” he said. “We got our legs going and played a really good hockey game.”
The Wild will enter this home game on their second three-game losing streak of the month.
They have not dropped four in a row all season.
After losing 5-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Wild fell 5-3 to the Florida Panthers and 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
“Look ourselves in the mirror, myself included,” Minnesota forward Ryan Hartman said. “Obviously, we’re not going to dwell on it. We’re professionals. We gotta come back hard next game.”
Penalties have been costly in the last three losses, especially the eight against the Hurricanes.
“Too many penalties again, there’s no question about that,” Wild head coach Dean Evason said.
On a more positive note, the Wild scored their eighth short-handed goal of the season when Joel Eriksson Ek connected in the second period against Tampa Bay. The Wild have the second-most short-handed goals this season, trailing only the Flyers, who have nine.
Being down that often also puts pressure on the goaltender, though.
A late penalty by Hartman was especially troublesome against the Lightning.
“I felt like I let my team down,” Hartman said. “I’m responsible for some of the things that have gone on. Obviously not a good feeling.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves, but it wasn’t quite enough against the electric Tampa Bay offense.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “I thought the guys battled hard. We played a pretty good game. They’re a good team and we hung around with them.”
–Field Level Media