Tortorella makes a point as Flyers come back to earth with loss to Sharks


Before Sunday night's game, Tony DeAngelo talked about not getting too high on a 4-1-0 start to the season.

"It's only five games in, so it really doesn't mean anything," the Flyers' defenseman said. "A lot of people go by five-game stretches; I'm not one of those people. It's a good start. A ton of room for improvement, which is a good thing. So you're sitting at 4-1, but knowingly, lots of room for improvement."

In other words, it's a long season and things can change quickly in this game.

The Flyers saw that with a 3-0 loss to the Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center. The night prior, the club beat the Predators to cap a 2-1-0 road trip, which was highlighted by a come-from-behind victory over the Lightning.

Coming home, with the World Series-bound Phillies partying across the street, the Flyers (4-2-0) were blanked for the first time this season.

Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny had their ice time cut significantly in the third period. Neither player saw the ice and each finished the game with under 12 and a half minutes played.

"I'm just going to keep that in the room," John Tortorella said of the reasoning behind both players being benched.

What were his overall thoughts on the game?

"Our whole performance, it sucked," the head coach said.

The Sharks (2-6-0) picked up their first regulation win. San Jose finished things off on an empty-net goal with 3:54 minutes left.

• Tortorella was clearly trying to make a point by not playing Hayes and Konecny during the final stanza.

They've been two of the Flyers' best players. Hayes came in with eight points through five games, while Konecny had four goals.

Sitting them is not solely about those two players. It's very much about making an example of your best players.

That could be Tortorella's motive, that if somebody doesn't play the right way, they can sit. Even the go-to guys who have played well.

"We weren't playing good enough," Konecny said. "I was on [the ice] for both goals."

• The Flyers nearly had a 1-0 lead in the second period with a Joel Farabee goal. However, Sharks head coach David Quinn challenged the goal, claiming the Flyers were offside. The play was in fact offside, resulting in Farabee's goal being taken away.

Tortorella's club seemed to lose some momentum and a struggling San Jose team found life.

Over two minutes later, the Sharks grabbed the 1-0 advantage with a goal from Erik Karlsson. Then, with 1:31 left in the middle frame, Steven Lorentz redirected a shot past Felix Sandstrom to extend San Jose's lead to 2-0.

The Flyers had just two power play opportunities, one of them in the third period, but couldn't capitalize.

"Our record's still pretty good," Konecny said. "We've been working hard. Obviously we don't want to lose like that. I don't think it changes everything, we're still a good hockey team, we're still going to bounce back, we're going to play hard every night.

"That was definitely not a reflection of how we play our game. I think in the third period, that was more of our style, we were coming at them, we were getting pucks in and working hard. So if there's one thing you can take from it, it's the third."

• The club lost James van Riemsdyk with under seven minutes left in the first period.

The big winger blocked a shot and was unable to return to the game. There was no immediate word on his status. Tortorella didn't have an update postgame.

Losing van Riemsdyk for any period of time would be costly for the Flyers. They're already without Cam Atkinson (upper body) and Owen Tippett (upper body) on the wing. Atkinson has yet to make his season debut and Tippett was injured in the first period of the season.

Van Riemsdyk entered Sunday with five points (two goals, three assists) and a plus-5 rating through five games.

Along with Atkinson and Tippett, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (lower body) remained out.

• In his second start of the season, Sandstrom made 22 saves on 24 shots.

Carter Hart made 31 saves Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee, leading the Flyers to a 3-1 win.

"I'm not going to look by the good week they had prior to tonight's game," Tortorella said, acknowledging his team's positive road trip. "We won't see them tomorrow (off day), we'll get a couple of good days of practice and get back at it again."

Sharks netminder James Reimer turned away 30 Flyers shots for the shutout.

• Oskar Lindblom, an adored and admired player in Philadelphia, returned to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time as a visitor.

The Swedish winger became beloved in the city amid his courageous battle with cancer. Lindblom had his life and career rocked in December 2019, when he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

He missed the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season as he fought for his life. After completing his radiation treatments in July 2020, he remarkably returned to the Flyers' lineup for two games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs that September.

Lindblom, a 2014 fifth-round draft pick who developed into an impactful player, had the final year of his three-year contract bought out by the Flyers in July. He played five years in Philadelphia.

During a first-period stoppage, the Flyers played a video tribute for Lindblom on the Jumbotron. The 26-year-old received a standing ovation from fans as he saluted the crowd and his former teammates.

More: Standing ovation shows indelible bond between Lindblom and Philly

• The Flyers have three days before their next game. They host the Panthers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Florida handed the Flyers their other loss, a 4-3 decision last Wednesday.

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