Devan Dubnyk stopped all 30 shots and Nino Niederreiter’s goal 12 seconds into the game was enough to send the Flyers to their second straight shutout loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Eric Staal and Jason Zucker added empty-net tallies for the Wild, who followed up a 1-0 win in Philadelphia on Saturday with a 3-0 win back in Minnesota on Tuesday in the home-and-home series.
Brian Elliott deserved a far better fate in this one, as the netminder kept the Flyers within a goal nearly all night, but did everything but provide the offense himself in making 17 of 18 saves. In the end, Dubnyk recorded his third shutout in as many games and sent Elliott back to another tough-luck loss.
For the Flyers, it’s now been seven periods of hockey since they last scored a goal, having tallied one against the Blackhawks. And in that one it was more of the same, scoring only from the top line and nothing from anyone else in a Flyers uniform.
Nino Niederreiter would give the Wild an early 1-0 lead just 12 second in on their first shot of the game. Veteran Eric Staal picked the pocket of Ivan Provorov along the wall and hit Niederreiter in front who was able to beat Elliott to the blocker side.
Ivan Provorov with a WILD turnover to give Minnesota the lead. pic.twitter.com/QPVn0MJjgK— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 15, 2017
A strong shift by the newly assembled line of Dale Weise and Wayne Simmonds centered by Jordan Weal generated a couple nice chances before drawing the first penalty of the game at the 3:17 mark. The best of the two chances came as Simmonds hit Weal streaking down the middle of the Wild defense, but Weal’s shot was muffled by Marcus Foligno.
Elliott kept the Flyers within a goal thanks to a clutch save on Mikko Koivu at the 9:27 mark. It was a huge save after the Flyers had put together a couple good shifts in the Wild zone.
Elliott was the story through 20 minutes despite giving up the opening goal, stopping some good Wild scoring chances after that first goal. The problem for Elliott was that Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, coming in with back-to-back shutouts, was also very good in turning aside all seven Flyers shots.
After a couple saves from Elliott again to start the second, the Flyers would get some offense going as they spent the first five minutes of the period controlling play in the Wild zone. Despite the zone time the Flyers were unable to solve Dubnyk with an array of point shots.
It was then Minnesota’s turn to hem the Flyers in their own zone, pelting Brian Elliott with shot after shot but the veteran netminder was there to keep the Minnesota lead at one despite a slew of tired bodies in front of him.
The best chance for the Flyers to tie things up so far would be from Scott Laughton, who was turned aside on back-to-back shots right on the doorstep by Dubnyk at the 8:29 mark of the frame.
The bees were buzzing— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 15, 2017
Scott Laughton with the best scoring chance so far for the Flyers. pic.twitter.com/XYCUbDrc99
A bench minor to the Wild for too many men yielded a pair of chances for the Flyers, but Dubnyk was all over a Jake Voracek one-timer from the right circle and was even better on a Jori Lehtera tip in front.
With 1:09 left in the second Dubnyk would get some help—as if he needed it—from his friendly post on a Taylor Leier shot that was pegged for the back of the net. Despite outshooting the Wild 17-7 in the period, nothing was doing as the Flyers couldn’t solve Dubnyk.
An early turnover from the Flyers to start the third sent Tyler Ennis in alone on Elliott, but he was able to make the blocker save and keep the lead at 1-0 as the Wild buzzed again early in a period. Not long after and returning the favor it was Dale Weise in alone on Dubnyk at the 5:23 mark, but the red-hot netminder closed his five-hole quickly to deny Weise of a tying goal.
With 6:42 left it would again be Elliott to save things from getting out of reach, robbing Marcus Foligno in close off a Wild break with the Flyers pressing offensively. A follow up chance for Chris Stewart sailed hight and wide.
Though Elliott didn’t see as much rubber as Dubnyk, he was very good and deserved a far better fate for a second straight outing against the Wild.
That fate would be sealed with an Eric Staal empty net goal with 1:09 left in the third to put the Wild up 2-0. Jason Zucker would add another empty netter with 36 seconds left to push the final to 3-0 as the Flyers get shutout for the second straight game.