PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri scored goals and defenseman Marc Staal made the save of the game to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Staal was in a timely spot to change the complexion of the game midway through the first period. Max Willman’s shot knocked off goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and trickled toward the goal line. Staal swooped in, swiped the puck after it dinged the post and kept the game tied 2-all.
Detroit got the reprieve it needed.
Suter scored in the second period from the slot for his 11th goal of the season and Fabbri knocked in a short-side goal for the 4-2 lead.
Turned out, the Flyers’ best offense came off, well, bad defense.
The Flyers three times scored seconds after a Detroit goal, but the sagging franchise couldn’t get a win.
The Flyers won two straight games headed into the All-Star break following a team-record 13 consecutive losses that spent them spiraling toward the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers got a lift over the weekend when team captain Claude Giroux was named MVP of the All-Star game in Las Vegas. Giroux’s hot streak carried into this one, and his feed from behind the net to Travis Sanheim for a one-timer was a rare highlight.
The Flyers had been 16-0-1 in their past 17 home games against the Red Wings.
Detroit’s Dylan Larkin scored only 2:43 into the game -- and Philadelphia’s Isaac Ratcliffe scored his first NHL goal only 20 seconds later. Lucas Raymond knocked a rebound past a fallen Carter Hart and made it 2-1 Red Wings -- and Sanheim scored 24 seconds later.
Sure enough, after Fabbri made it 4-2, the Flyers, yes needed 21 seconds for Scott Laughton to make it 4-3.
Givani Smith sealed the win for Detroit with his fourth goal in the third and Vladislav Namestnikov added an empty-netter in the final minute.
Danny Briere said it might take some time for the Flyers to truly become contenders.
The special assistant to the general manager is determined to make it happen. Briere, promoted to his new job this week, said the trade deadline could start to shape the franchise’s future.
“We would love to see the turnaround starting tonight,” Briere said before the game. “Being realistic, it might be next year or the following year. Who knows? I think there’s a lot that comes into play.”
Briere worked in the Flyers’ player development department for the past two seasons in a part-time role working with the club’s prospects, as well as current players, on and off the ice.
“Sometimes you have a bad season, well you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Briere said. “There’s other opportunities that show up in front of you, you’ve got to jump on that.”
The Flyers head to Detroit for the rematch on Saturday.