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Flyers fall out of 3rd place as losing streak hits season-worst 6

In Sports
April 06, 2024

Flyers fall out of 3rd place as losing streak hits season-worst 6 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers’ late-season spiral reached a sixth straight loss Friday night.

John Tortorella’s club fell to the Sabres, 4-2, at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

Noah Cates and Owen Tippett scored for the Flyers, who outshot the Sabres 34-19. But Ivan Fedotov was in a tough spot and struggled with the lack of volume, while Buffalo netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was very good.

The losing streak is the longest of the season for the Flyers. They’ve been outscored 27-13 over the six losses (0-4-2).

Their hopes of finishing off a surprise playoff push are getting dicier by the day.

The Flyers (36-30-11) have dropped 16 of their last 23 games (7-11-5).

They went 1-2-0 against the Sabres (37-35-5) in their three-game regular-season series.

• The loss caused the Flyers to slide out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders, with 83 points like the Flyers, took over the final playoff spot in the division via the tiebreaker of playing one fewer game.

But Tortorella’s club received some help Friday night.

With regulation losses from the Capitals and Red Wings, the Flyers enter Saturday still clinging to a postseason position. They hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card berth by one point over Washington and Detroit and two points over Pittsburgh. All three teams have a game in hand on the Flyers.

The Flyers have to stem the tide, though. They haven’t been able to recently and that’s the most concerning thing for their chances.

• Fedotov was making his first NHL start after being introduced by the Flyers a week ago.

The 6-foot-7 goalie came over from Russia. His last game in the KHL was March 8.

He made 15 saves on 19 shots against Buffalo.

After Tippett drew the Flyers within 3-2 almost midway through the third period, Jack Quinn buried a rebound off his own shot for his second goal of the night.

In the second period of a 1-1 game, the Flyers gave Rasmus Dahlin and Quinn too much space to fire the puck.

At 4-on-4, Dahlin handed the Flyers their second one-goal deficit. A little over five minutes later and with 5.1 seconds left in the period, Quinn zipped a shot past Fedotov, a backbreaking goal for the Flyers to give up.

With the Flyers opening a back-to-back set, Tortorella went with his 27-year-old rookie and gave the 24-year-old rookie Samuel Ersson one more day of rest. The head coach on Thursday maintained his faith in Ersson, who has been pulled from three of his last 10 starts.

Luukkonen stopped 32 of the Flyers’ 34 shots. The Flyers finally cracked him almost midway through the game when Cates made it 1-1.

The Sabres held a 1-0 lead at first intermission after the Flyers lost Tage Thompson in coverage.

• Tortorella expressed frustration with Egor Zamula during Thursday’s practice, putting him on the bench after the 24-year-old defenseman made a shoddy pass. When the Flyers’ practice shifted to power play work, Zamula had lost his spot on the second unit.

He ended up losing his spot in the lineup Friday. Marc Staal played in Zamula’s place and had a minus-1 mark over 12:48 minutes.

The Flyers were without Sean Couturier, who will miss the weekend because of an upper-body injury. The Flyers’ captain was named a Masterton Trophy nominee in the morning.

• The Flyers are right back at it Saturday when they visit the Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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