The Flyers’ defense came through for a 2-1 road victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday with regular Philadelphia defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scratched from the lineup.
It’s uncertain if Ristolainen will be back when the Flyers will host the reeling St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
Philadelphia coach John Tortorella was asked Monday about his expectations for Ristolainen, who missed the first six games of the season due to an injury.
“He just hasn’t met them,” Tortorella said. “He needs to play better. I’m not going to go that much deeper into it, but I don’t think he’s played well enough. He’s going to get another crack at it, but in everything about his game, I think he needs to be better.”
So does the Philadelphia offense.
The Flyers clearly are not the same offensive team without Sean Couturier, who remains out indefinitely following his second back surgery.
“It’s a concern,” Tortorella said of the lack of offense. “It’s been a concern of the organization here for a little bit and will be.”
Flyers goalie Carter Hart is not a concern, though.
The ever-improving 24-year-old is 6-0-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage. After two subpar seasons following two strong campaigns to open his career, Hart looks much more like a standout again.
“I think the goaltender sets the tempo for your team,” Tortorella said. “If he looks relaxed, I think it settles the team down, also.”
The Flyers blocked 28 shots against the Senators, including five by Travis Sanheim, who played arguably his best all-around game of the season.
“We played a full 60 minutes, and I thought it was our best defensive effort,” Philadelphia center Kevin Hayes said.
The Blues need a strong effort to stop their skid. After starting the season with three victories, the Blues have dropped seven in a row in regulation to tie a franchise record.
The latest defeat came Monday, a 3-1 setback on the road against the Boston Bruins. The last St. Louis team to lose seven consecutive games in regulation occurred in 2005-06.
Brandon Saad returned from an upper-body injury, but the Blues still couldn’t execute enough to come up with a victory.
Brayden Schenn scored the lone goal for the Blues while goaltender Jordan Binnington made 34 saves.
Once again, it wasn’t enough.
“It’s all about puck battles and competing,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “We need to do it for 60 minutes.”
Berube said that he’s not singling out any one player for the slide.
“They’ve got to want to do it,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to want to do it. It’s every guy. Every guy’s got to dig in. We want to get out of this, we need everybody to dig in and do their job.”
Schenn was highly critical of the team’s effort, especially in the third period, when Boston scored the game’s final two goals.
“We probably sat back too much, just because we were almost a little bit scared to go get it, because we know how valuable these two points are for us right now,” Schenn said. “We’re going into Philly (on Tuesday). We know it’s a tough team.”
–Field Level Media