Detroit’s power play hurts Flyers, Philly loses 5-2

Image courtesy of Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers lost for the fifth time this season tonight in Detroit, as they lost to the Red Wings by the count of 5-2. Niklas Kronwall had a goal and two assists and Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and one assist, while Daniel Alfredsson had three helpers in the win for Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped 32 shots for the win, while his team produced three goals on the power play. Ray Emery had 25 stops for the visitors, while the pair of Tye McGinn and Erik Gustafsson potted goals for Philly.

Unfortunately for the Flyers, this game was another loss, as they saw their record drop to 1-5-0. However, there are some positive to take away from this game. This tilt was their best game of the season so far. This was the best the team has looked in a loss and they played better tonight than they did in their win on Tuesday. They dictated play for the majority of the game and showed a sense of urgency for the first time this season.

“You don’t ever want to get comfortable with losing,” head coach Craig Berube said after his second loss as the team’s head coach. “But we played a solid game, a lot of urgency. We were competitive, but it wasn’t enough.”

The spike in urgency, effort, and offensive production is most likely due to the fact the Flyers have two points six games into their season, but the line-up changes didn’t hurt tonight. The duo of McGinn and Gustafsson made their season debuts tonight, while Michael Raffl made his NHL debut. McGinn helped the top line sustain some of the best pressure the Flyers’ offense has created all season, while Gus helped create offensive chances while being defensively responsible. Raffl wasn’t too noticeable tonight, but he was plus-1 with a couple shots on net. The big question is whether or not Berube keeps these three in the lineup or if he opts to put Jay Rosehill or Andrej Meszaros back into the mix.

One big negative to take away from this game were the amount of penalties the Flyers took. It’s an obvious thing to say because the Red Wings scored three power-play goals, but it doesn’t help when you give an offensively-stacked team like Detroit seven power plays. With a team that didn’t see Rosehill on the ice tonight, as well as very few minutes of playing time for Zac Rinaldo or Kris Newbury, there aren’t any excuses for the lack of discipline.

As for the game, Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring 7:13 into the affair on the power play for Detroit. After receiving the puck below the goal line from Alfredsson, Bertuzzi’s wraparound attempt beat Emery five-hole for his first goal of 2013-2014. The Red Wings’ power play was thanks to a Raffl hooking call.

Philly avoided expanding their deficit in the first period, as they were able to kill off a McGinn minor later in the frame and were outshot 10-9. The Orange and Black opened up the middle stanza on the penalty kill for a third time, as Braydon Coburn was sent off for holding with 25 seconds left in the first period.

After killing off Coburn’s penalty, Luke Schenn spent time in the sin bin for holding as well near the midway point of the game. Unfortunately for him, the Red Wings put together a beautiful power play before ultimately expanding their lead to two.

A smooth string of cycling and scoring chances for Detroit led to Kronwall’s first goal of the season on a snap shot with 9:51 left in the middle period. The lead wasn’t two goals for long, as Gustafsson received a fortunate bounce at the point just a few seconds later.

Brayden Schenn passed the disc from the side boards along the benches to Gustafsson at the point, as the d-man let go of a shot that took a funny bounce in front of Howard and fooled the Wings’ netminder. The defenseman cut the deficit to one just 34 seconds after Kronwall’s strike.

“I just kind of threw it at the net and it was almost there and I got the good bounce,” Gustafsson said.

It was from Gustafsson’s goal to the end of the second period that the Flyers started to show confidence on offense for the first time this season. With some of the strongest cycling and best offensive chances the Orange and Black have demonstrated this year, Philly left the middle period with a 15-10 advantage in shots during the frame and 24-20 overall. However, they were still down by one.

Coburn’s second penalty of the game early in the third allowed Detroit to restore their two-goal lead. The Flyers’ defenseman was called for a high-sticking minor, which lead to a tally from Pavel Datsyuk.

Kronwall controlled the puck in the center of the ice at the point and saw Datsyuk streaking to the slot. After the forward turned to face his teammate to catch the pass, he put the biscuit on his backhand and ripped a shot while spinning counterclockwise. The shot was able to beat Emery’s blocker to make the score 3-1 with 16:52 left in regulation.

Fortunately for the Flyers and their faithful, the club showed some fight and responded with a goal rather quickly.

Jakub Voracek carried the puck over the Red Wings’ blue line before he dished it to Claude Giroux in the circle to Howard’s left. With a high slap shot, the captain forced Howard to use his blocker and leave a rebound in the slot. McGinn was able to grab the loose puck and backhand one into the cage before Howard had time to move from side-to-side.

Philly dominated play for the next several minutes and even had a power-play chance when Stephen Weiss was sent off for slashing with exactly 10 minutes left in regulation. However, the Flyers couldn’t tie the game and Zetterberg essentially ended the game with a tally that came with just 6:12 left in the tilt. He also added on the empty-net goal for a two-goal game, as the Wings posted the 5-2 win at home.

The Flyers look for their second win of the season on Tuesday, as they host John Tortorella and the Vancouver Canucks.

Notes: McGinn finished with a goal, two PIMs, three shots on net, and a hit in 16:48 TOI. Gustafsson finished with a goal, four shots on net, and one blocked shot in 18:19 TOI. Raffl finished plus-1 with two PIMs, two shots on net, and one blocked shot in 13:10 TOI…Both Giroux and Wayne Simmonds recorded their first points of the season with assists…The Flyers’ power play was 0-for-4 tonight. The team has gone 16 straight power plays without converting…Daniel Cleary was plus-1 with an assist, two shots on net, four hits, and two blocked shots in 13:31 TOI…Including the 2013 postseason, Bertuzzi snapped a 16-game goal drought with his tally in the first period…Along with Meszaros and Rosehill, Hal Gill was scratched for the Flyers. The trio of Mikael Samuelsson, Brendan Smith, and Tomas Tatar were scratched for the Red Wings…Luke Glendening made his NHL debut for the Red Wings tonight. He was minus-1 with two PIMs, two shots on net, and one hit in 7:32 TOI…Philly dropped to 1-3-0 against the Atlantic Division and to 1-4-0 against the Eastern Conference this season…The Flyers dropped to 1-5-0 on the season. They were 2-4-0 after six games last season.