After putting forward a strong first period, the Philadelphia Flyers were absolutely abused up and down the ice during the second period, as the Dallas Stars produced an impressive 5-1 effort at home. Tyler Seguin had a hat trick in a four-point performance and Valeri Nichushkin provided three assists in his four-point performance, as Dan Ellis was barely tested in a 27-save effort for the win. Steve Mason finally allowed four goals in a game as a Flyer, as he stopped 22 of 26 shots in his two periods of action today. Andrej Meszaros had the visitors’ lone goal.
It looked as though the Orange and Black were going to overcome Zac Rinaldo’s asinine penalties early when they killed off Dallas’ seven-minute power play and then saw a rare goal from Meszaros. However, the middle frame saw Seguin, Nichushkin, and Jamie Benn effortlessly move through the Flyers’ defensive zone to create chances that left Mason with little to no chance of stopping. Mason kept the Flyers in it for a bit during the second period, including a cross-crease sprawling kick save, but the defense slowly became worse and worse through the second period. Three goals in a span of 1:02 in the final three minutes of the frame helped to lead to Mason’s removal from the crease after 40 minutes of the contest.
The Flyers are a hard to judge at the moment. After producing absolutely no offense on Monday against the Minnesota Wild, the Orange and Black scored five straight goals in a 6-3 win on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings only to come out today and allow Ellis to walk to an easy victory. The team hadn’t skated since Wednesday against Detroit, as they didn’t have practice on Thursday or yesterday, but the team should have at least been in a closer contest after they led 1-0 after 20 minutes. If Philly loses on Monday, there is a really good chance they’ll enjoy a four-game losing streak, as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and return home to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
As for the action, it all started when Rinaldo saw all of four seconds on the ice before he skated over to Antoine Roussel and immediately started taking swings at the Stars’ forward. Rinaldo handed the Stars a seven-minute power play, as he earned two minutes for holding, a five-minute major for boarding, a 10-minute major for an illegal check to the head, and a 10-minute match penalty for kicking. Despite this lengthy penalty kill without one of their main penalty killers, Philly avoided allowing the game’s first goal.
Late in the first period, Meszaros stuck with a play to score his first goal since the 2011-2012 campaign.
After a great pass from Brayden Schenn to Wayne Simmonds started a three-on-one rush for the Flyers, Simmonds showed great patience carrying the puck around a Stars’ defender that dropped to the ice before throwing it to Meszaros in front. The Flyers’ d-man had his first attempt denied by Ellis, but the disc sat in the crease after his shot and was left alone long enough for Meszaros to change his momentum from going towards the corner to Ellis’ left back towards the crease to tap the puck home to make it 1-0 with 1:09 left in the opening frame.
Although they lead 1-0 after 20 minutes, this is when the fun stopped for the Flyers. The second period saw Dallas outscore the Flyers 4-0 and outshoot the visitors 13-6, which started with Seguin’s first coming 39 seconds into the stanza, as Benn hit the former Boston Bruin with a cross-ice pass that he put past Mason’s blocker to make it 1-1.
The Stars dictated play throughout the period, but didn’t take the lead until late in the period when Alex Goligoski skated below the goal line and fed Seguin in the slot, which led to the forward beating Mason through traffic for a 2-1 Dallas lead.
Seguin completed the hat trick just 40 seconds later, as he redirected a feed from Nichushkin to make it 3-1 with 2:17 left in the middle period.
Nichushkin scored a goal of his own just 22 seconds after Seguin’s final goal, as the Stars’ glided up the ice with ease before the rookie ripped one by Mason to make 4-1. This was the end of Mason’s night, as Ray Emery came in and stopped seven of the eight shots he faced in his 20 minutes of work. The only Star to beat Emery was Cody Eakin with a shorthanded-goal with under five minutes to play.
Philadelphia will look to put this disaster behind him on Monday, as they travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators.
Notes: The loss ends a streak of six straight wins for the Flyers against the Stars…The Flyers dropped to 11-4-1 when scoring the first goal and to 8-3-1 when leading after the first period…Kimmo Timonen was injured in the loss and is considered day-to-day…Nicklas Grossmann played against the Dallas Stars for the first time today. He was minus-1 with one shot on goal, three hits, and two blocked shots…Meszaros snapped goal droughts of 24 regular season games and 25 games overall with his goal in the first period. His last goal came on March 1st, 2012 against the New York Islanders…Simmonds recorded his 100th NHL assist on Meszaros’ goal…Today was Scott Hartnell’s 900th NHL game…Rinaldo’s 27 PIMs is the most he’s had in a single NHL game in his career. His previous high was 19 against the New York Rangers on February 11th, 2012…Philly dropped to 3-5-1 against the Western Conference and to 1-3-0 against the Pacific Division…The Flyers are 13-14-2. They were 13-5-1 after 29 games last season.