Flyers look to stop ill-timed skid against Blackhawks

League: NHL

Posted on: 29 Mar, 2024 at 11:36 PM

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While losing three games never is ideal, the Philadelphia Flyers have succumbed to the slump at one of the worst possible times.

The stretch run.

Still one point ahead of the Washington Capitals for the third guaranteed playoff spot from the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers nonetheless sense the urgency entering Saturday's visit from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Washington has 10 games remaining compared to eight for Philadelphia (36-28-10, 82 points).

"We've just got to keep on going," Flyers coach John Tortorella said. "We've got to move by this and get ready for our next game."

Tortorella saluted the Flyers' latest show of resilience. Officials disallowed three potential goals in the third period Thursday, including two by the Flyers in host Montreal's 4-1 victory.

"I think we dominated the second half of the game and just couldn't score," said Philadelphia's Morgan Frost, who had a goal waved off.

The Flyers have endured their share of lineup shuffling lately. Cam Atkinson returned against Montreal following five successive games as a healthy scratch, while Noah Cates missed the game for personal reasons.

On Friday, the Flyers introduced Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov nearly nine years after the club drafted him.

Fedotov had been playing in Russia's KHL after an arrest steered him into mandatory military service in his homeland. General manager Danny Briere said Fedotov now is the backup to Samuel Ersson, with Felix Sandstrom reassigned to the club's American Hockey League affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Philadelphia is aiming to sweep the season series from Chicago after earning a 3-1 road victory on Feb. 21. Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim and Garnet Hathaway scored to back a 21-save effort from Ersson.

That loss marked the 10th in 11 games for the Blackhawks, who occupied the NHL cellar at the time.

Chicago since has created separation from the last-place San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks (21-47-5, 47 points) are seven points clear of San Jose and five behind the Anaheim Ducks with nine games remaining.

Much of Chicago's recent frenzy has come at the expense of those California clubs. The Blackhawks have won five of nine entering Saturday, netting three victories against San Jose and Anaheim.

Chicago is coming off a flat, 2-0 loss at Ottawa on Thursday in the opener of a three-game road trip. Goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots against the Senators, but the Blackhawks surrendered a pair of first-period goals.

"We've had trouble with our starts," Chicago forward Nick Foligno said. "I don't know what it is."

Chicago was 0-for-2 on the man advantage en route to being blanked for the second time in four games. Three of the Blackhawks' past four losses have come by shutout.

"We just didn't match their intensity. I think they were a step ahead of us everywhere, and unfortunately, we paid the price," Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. "Petr kept us in and gave us a chance to get back in the game, but our power play that has been very good for us lately, tonight was a little sloppy."

--Field Level Media