The Philadelphia Flyers don’t have to wait long for a chance to rebound from their first regulation defeat in a month.
They will attempt to do so while also looking for a season sweep of the struggling Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in Saint Paul, Minn.
Trying to make it into the Eastern Conference playoff conversation, Philadelphia was one of the hottest teams in the NHL while riding a 9-0-1 stretch. However, the fun, at least momentarily, ended Monday night with a 4-1 home loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers, who averaged 3.8 goals during their run of success, outshot the Penguins 51-28, but they managed only Jakub Voracek’s third goal in four games late in the game while on a five-minute power play.
Philadelphia’s previous loss in regulation came at New Jersey on Jan. 12.
“We have to turn the page,” Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov said postgame Monday, according to the team’s Twitter feed. “It’s just one of those games when you can’t get any by them. If we continue to play the way we played (Monday), we will win a lot of games.”
Flyers 20-year-old netminder Carter Hart made 24 saves as his eight-game winning streak ended. Anthony Stolarz, though, could be in goal for the finale of the back-to-back. Stolarz has stopped 75 of 77 total shots and recorded a shutout in his past two starts.
“We need to refocus and start a new streak (Tuesday),” Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier told reporters.
Philadelphia should feel confident about a bounce-back considering it beat Minnesota 7-4 on Jan. 14 to open an eight-game winning streak. James van Riemsdyk recorded his fourth-career hat trick, and Nolan Patrick had two goals and two assists as the Flyers overcame an early 2-0 hole for their first win over Minnesota since March 23, 2017.
The Wild are 1-3-2 since the All-Star break and will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat at home. Minnesota, which went into the break a winner of three in a row, is one of many teams in the mix for a playoff spot in what has become a crowded Western Conference postseason race.
“You’ve just got to understand it’s playoff hockey time and every point matters,” Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk told NHL.com. “It’s going to be this way down to the wire.
“You start seeing teams creeping up. … You realize it’s real, everybody is there and these are good hockey teams.”
Minnesota has struggled with offensive inconsistency in February. The Wild, who are opening a four-game homestand, totaled nine goals in their final two contests before the break, but have just 14 in the past six. They’ve been held to one goal in three of those games.
Wild veteran Eric Staal had four goals and six assists in seven games from Jan. 14-Feb. 1 but has gone without a point in the five contests that have followed. Staal did have two assists against the Flyers last month.
Dubnyk, who owns a 1-3-1 record this month, was pulled after he allowed five goals on 20 shots in the first 40 minutes of the Jan. 14 loss at Philadelphia.
Voracek has three goals with six assists during a seven-game point streak, and he has 13 points in the past 12 contests. Van Riemsdyk has just three points and no goals in his past seven games.
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