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Flyers vs. Ducks recap: Missed opportunities haunt Flyers in home opener loss

The Flyers will be kicking themselves after yet another slow start and several failed power plays.

Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers can’t say they didn’t have their chances.

After a hard-fought third period through the first 10 minutes, Anaheim broke a 2-2 tie when Ryan Garbutt went top shelf over a sprawling Steve Mason.

“We had tired legs,” said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol. “We lost coverage on that play. There was a switch and we didn’t lose coverage for long but we lost coverage for a split second and that allowed them to make the play.”

The Garbutt goal capped off a sluggish defensive sequence as Anaheim flirted around the crease a few times before Garbutt found himself untouched and wide open to bury it home and propel Anaheim to a 3-2 win over the Flyers. The Flyers haven’t won a game over the Ducks since 2011 -- seven straight losses.

Right from the get-go, the building was rocking thanks to a pregame ceremony that sent the Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy.

The energy, though, wasn’t built upon the Flyers in the early going.

The Ducks put an end to the parade about 10 minutes into the contest when Chris Wagner shot one past Steve Mason after a drop pass from Jared Boll, who was sparked by an outlet pass prior to the score.

Fortunately for the Flyers, that was all the Ducks could muster in the opening 20 periods, despite outshooting Philadelphia, 9-6, increasing the first period woes of the Flyers who have now been outshot, 43-28 and outscored 6-1 in the opening period this season.

As was the case in the first three games, the second period proved to be the wake-up call for the Flyers. Playing on the man-advantage had much to do with the Flyers success in this frame. The Ducks took a handful of penalties, including a Ryan Getzlaf retaliation trip on Dale Weise (see video below). As a result, the Flyers potted two goals to take a 2-1 advantage and regain the momentum that was once lost.

On the powerplay, Wayne Simmonds netted his third goal of the season and the first for the Flyers. Claude Giroux picked up his fifth assist, as well.

About six minutes later, the team’s leading-goal scorer – yes, this is correct – Matt Read pulled off a power-forward move as he beat John Gibson glove side. He has four goals so far.

The Flyers were this close to closing out the period with all the momentum. Then came a handful of missed opportunities as they failed to capitalize on four of the five power plays in the second period. Immediately following Corey Perry’s minor with less than five minutes to go, Ryan Getzlaf sent a drop pass to the incoming Perry who proceeded to bury a slapper over Mason’s shoulder.

“We scored the big goal to get us going,” Hakstol said. “But we just couldn’t keep it going. We couldn’t extend it with those two or three [powerplays] that we had.”

Failed opportunities in the second period wound up being the difference as the Flyers couldn’t secure any consistency over the final 20 minutes as Garbutt’s goal served as a back-breaker.

“We’re in a little bit of a hole here,” Simmonds said,” but it’s the beginning of the year, it’s not time to panic here.”

The Flyers haven’t been on the winning side since the opening 4-2 win in Los Angeles. The 1-2-1 start still remains more productive than some of the past starts, including an 0-2-2 stretch in the 2014-15 season following two back-to-back 0-3-0 beginnings.

Other things to note:

  • Steve Mason, who made 23 saves, says the final goal was a “knucklepuck the entire way in.” He added that, “guys were waving sticks and made it tough to handle.”
  • With a -1 rating tonight, Ivan Provorov finds himself at a collective -6 in the past two losses. Before the game, Hakstol said they weren’t worried about any hang over, and while Hakstol noted some plays he made afterwards, it was another underwhelming performance. Provorov says you can’t make any mistakes against the best players in the world, “even a little mistake can cost you, slightly out of position can cost you.”
  • Matt Read on his fast start: “I don’t know, just kind of get some bounces. For myself, I’m just trying to play with speed and get to the net.”