Flyers analysis

Flyers' offensive problems continue in loss to Hurricanes

The Flyers have scored four goals over their last four games

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John Tortorella warned against the Hurricanes' suffocating style of play.

And his Flyers felt it.

They failed to muster up much offense in a 4-1 loss Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

"Carolina is probably one of the highest pressure teams," Tortorella said at morning skate. "They're man on man all over the place, they can skate — they're a good team, they're a really good team. We've got to be aware of their quickness.

"So our readiness is very important in how quick we play and we need to pressure, too. Not let them dictate the pace of the game."

Tortorella tried shaking up his lines later in the game but didn't have any luck.

The Flyers (11-10-1) have run into some offensive woes. They've scored four goals over their last four games, a stretch in which they've gone 1-3-0. The lone win was a 1-0 shootout over the Islanders last Saturday.

Travis Konecny scored the Flyers' only goal Tuesday night. Tyson Foerster sprung him with a good lead pass.

Seth Jarvis delivered the backbreaking goal for the Hurricanes late in the third period. Carter Hart couldn't make the save as the puck slid under his leg pad and off his skate.

"It was just unlucky," Hart said. "The puck's going wide if it goes off my skate. It gets stuck underneath my skate and the ice. When I go to stretch out or kick back, it kicks in the net. Just a crappy, crappy bounce."

Carolina added an empty-netter 42 seconds later.

"I thought it was just an ugly hockey game, probably by both teams," Tortorella said. "I guess I'll speak on my team, we were just flat, right through the lineup. Back end did some good work, but just didn't have many forwards going at all.

"I'm not spending too much time with it. We haven't had many of these."

The Hurricanes (13-8-0) have won 10 of their last 14 games. The Flyers are 1-2-0 against Carolina and face it once more in March.

• Hart made 32 saves on 35 shots. The 25-year-old wasn't as sharp as he has been.

The Hurricanes pounced on a few loose pucks in the slot to beat him.

They grabbed a 1-0 lead under six minutes into the game when Michael Bunting flushed a rebound.

In the second period, after Konecny drew the Flyers even, Brendan Lemieux forced Scott Laughton into a turnover and jammed home the go-ahead goal for Carolina. As Hart made a save, the rebound shot toward the middle of the ice. Laughton tried to clear it from the dangerous area but the former Flyer Lemieux was right there.

"You watch the clip, I try to clear it off the wall, hits off a shin pad, goes right on his stick," Laughton said. "I don't know how many times that's going to happen again."

Hurricanes netminder Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 28 of the Flyers' 29 shots.

"It was a pretty ugly hockey game," Laughton said. "We couldn't get anything going really."

• The Flyers' power play went 0 for 2 and is 7 for 71 on the season. The team's issues on the man advantage preceded assistant coach Rocky Thompson, who oversees the units.

The season prior to Thompson's arrival in July 2022, the Flyers had an NHL-worst 12.6 power play percentage. They finished worst in the league last season, as well, at 15.6 percent. That was Year 1 under Thompson.

Tortorella is staying patient.

"It doesn't help things to panic and piss and moan about it," the head coach said at morning skate. "Rocky and the group and the players are working at it, they're trying to find some sort of consistency within it. And that's the only thing we can do.

"I'm not going to pile on as I don't think it helps. If it's effort, that's when I step in. But I'm leaving that to Rocky and them. I think Rocky's trying to empower them a little bit in getting some information from them, also. Hopefully we can get some sort of consistency with it."

Tortorella mentioned the Flyers' need to shoot the puck more and make snap decisions when there's open ice.

The Flyers added a different wrinkle Tuesday with putting Garnet Hathaway at the net front on the second unit.

"Maybe create a little chaos," Hathaway said after morning skate. "Something a little bit out of the norm that we haven't shown throughout this year."

• Egor Zamula was a healthy scratch for a second straight game.

"I think Z has improved," Tortorella said Monday. "I still think he's wildly inconsistent in the games, which is expected. It's not a bad thing."

As we noted last weekend, with Rasmus Ristolainen and Marc Staal now healthy, the Flyers have eight defensemen on their roster and tough calls each game. Louie Belpedio remained out of the lineup along with Zamula.

After practice Monday, Tortorella agreed that the team will have "daily" decisions on defense.

At times, the 23-year-old Zamula has been indecisive with the puck. The Flyers want him to see why quicker and more confident decision-making is imperative.

"Watching is going to be a part of it," Tortorella said at morning skate Tuesday. "I think Z, for a number of minutes, has played well really fast and sees things. Other times, it's a struggle. And we expect that at that position. He's not playing tonight, it'll be a couple in a row, but we're not going to lose sight of him. He's going to get back in. But when he's not back in, watching a game and watching other players I think will help him."

• The Flyers will be without Noah Cates, one of their top defensive forwards, for six to eight weeks. More here on his injury and how it impacts the Flyers.

• It was Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Wells Fargo Center. In conjunction with the league-wide initiative, the Flyers supplied "I fight for" rally towels to all fans. During warmups, a number of players rocked the white and lavender cancer awareness hats and stick tape.

The Flyers also hosted Owen Micciche and Luis Estyvan Maradiaga, two children battling cancer, for warmups and the ceremonial puck drop.

Micciche watched the first period on the bench next to Tortorella.

"If you understand the history of this kid and what he's going through, that just puts talking about losses, this, that, flat, not scoring goals — it doesn't mean a goddamn thing," Tortorella said. "I'm thrilled that we were a part of it with him tonight. Great kid. He was yelling on the bench. I hope for a little bit it helps him. It certainly puts things in perspective if you understand what he's going through."

The Flyers gave 9-year-old Owen Micciche — who has been battling cancer since he was nine months old — a night to remember as he joined the team before and during the game against the Hurricanes.

• The Flyers meet the Devils for the first time this season when they host the Metropolitan Division rival Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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