Ducks can’t keep up with Flyers despite Carlsson’s hat trick

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Leo Carlsson had his first-career hat trick in the Ducks' 6-3 loss to the Flyers, their second consecutive defeat.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A better response was needed from the Ducks after being shut out by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. Though they managed to score more on Friday night against the Flyers, turnovers and shaky goaltending did them in as they lost their second game in a row.

“Turnovers, oh my god,” said Ducks head coach Greg Cronin after the game. “You can’t win hockey games turning pucks over. I don’t know how to describe it, we’ve been talking about it all year, about puck management.”

The Flyers’ first two goals came off traffic in front of the net, with defenseman Egor Zamula at the forefront of it all from the point. His first shot kicked out a rebound from Lukáš Dostál which bounced off a couple of legs before finding Sean Couturier, who made one deke before scoring. The second goal was a deflection from Cam Atkinson off another Zamula point shot.

Nov 10, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) celebrates with right wing Tyson Foerster (71) after scoring a goal during the first period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

“The first five minutes, we were just rolling lines and we’re getting pressure. That’s the way we have to play, I don’t think there were any turnovers the first five minutes and then we just decided we were going to play pond hockey.”

Despite the loss, one Duck achieved a career milestone. Leo Carlsson scored not one, not two, but three goals on the night, marking his first-career NHL hat trick. His first goal of the night came off a feed from Alex Killorn near the goal line. Carlsson received the pass and ripped a shot past Samuel Ersson’s blocker to bring the Ducks within two at the time. His second goal of the game also came off an assist from Killorn, the pair streaking down the ice on an odd-man rush, with Killorn setting up Carlsson for an off-hand one-timer which beat Ersson up high.

The third goal of the night for Carlsson also came on the power play, off a pass from Troy Terry. Even without the third goal, Carlsson had become the youngest Ducks player (18 years, 319 days) to score two goals in a game. Scoring three cemented him in franchise history for good.

“That’s cool,” said Carlsson when notified about his historic milestone. “I’ll probably be happier about it tomorrow. As of now, obviously a tough loss (for us tonight).”

“He’s going to be a star in this league,” said Cronin. “He’s got a pace to his game for a big guy that you don’t see a lot in this league and obviously he’s got terrific hands and he’s confident, so it was nice to see that. He deserves it and he’s just going to keep getting better.”

Carlsson said that the moment hasn’t really sunk in for him yet but that he’ll definitely sit down and watch some highlights tomorrow. The chemistry that he and Killorn showed in the game was evident, despite the circumstances being due to Trevor Zegras’ absence with a lower-body injury. Another absence on Sunday against San Jose could see the pair playing on the same line once again alongside Troy Terry on the top line.

Nov 10, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Leo Carlsson (91) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

“We’re trying to find chemistry with Leo and Terry and obviously (Zegras) wasn’t playing tonight, so we just thought it would be good to get a veteran with Leo,” said Cronin. “They had really good chemistry. I think Troy added another step to his game, he could have had a couple of goals. It’s a good starting point for Leo and Killorn and Terry.”

Cronin continued to hammer home the point of turnovers all throughout his post-game media availability. “Nobody’s trying to be selfish, nobody’s trying to be negligent with the puck. They get caught up in the game. Right now, they’re struggling with being creative with the puck and making the fancier play rather than putting it deep and going and hunting pucks like they did the first five minutes (of the game).”

The Ducks’ next game is Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks, who just grabbed their first two wins of the season this week in consecutive fashion, taking down both the Flyers and the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 PM PST.