Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth (above) made 45 saves for the orange and black (4-6-2), who have lost five in a row. Scott Laughton and Ryan White scored for the Flyers.
By Mary Cunningham
The Flyers are visiting the west coast of Canada and the trip has done nothing for their fortunes as they lost last night to the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.
But the Oilers suffered a much bigger loss:
Rookie sensation Connor McDavid for an extended period because of an upper-body injury suffered when he was sent crashing into the end boards after taking a shot in the second period.
“He’s got an upper-body injury that is going to keep him out long-term,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “He’s being evaluated by the doctors, but it’s going to be long-term.”
“We need to be better defensively, we’re throwing too many pucks away,” White said. “We are just not a confident group right now. When this team is confident, we are winning battles and making good plays with it from there. Right now, we are winning battles and almost giving it right back to them. It’s tough when you are not winning. You get a bit fragile. We need to calm down and get back to playing hockey.”
With under two minutes to go in the second period, McDavid was injured when he lost an edge after taking a shot on a rush. The No. 1 selection in the 2015 NHL draft went into the boards with Flyers defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Manning.
“It was a hockey play, he went to the net hard like he always does, he comes off that wing with a lot of speed,” McLellan said. “Three guys got tangled up in the corner. It was a hockey play. I’m not sure if he lost his balance, but it’s unfortunate.”
McDavid has five goals and seven assists in 13 games this season. On Monday, he was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for October.
Oilers left wing Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists in the win to extend his point streak to six games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice, including an empty-net goal, and Matt Hendricks scored in his first game back from a foot injury sustained Oct. 17.
“It’s never good when someone doesn’t come back in a game and he’s a guy who would be on the ice anytime he could, so that doesn’t bode well,” Hall said of McDavid. “We’ll see what the prognosis is, but you never want to see a guy out of the lineup, especially one just starting out his career. He was doing so well, he was becoming a leader in our locker room even though he’s 18.”
The Oilers (5-8-0) opened the scoring on their final shot of the first period after out-shooting Philly 19-2.
Nugent-Hopkins scored with 3.6 seconds left in the period, on the power play, jamming a Leon Draisaitl centering feed past Neuvirth. Draisaitl hit the post on an earlier attempt off a pass from Hall, but was able to collect the puck behind the net and center it to Nugent-Hopkins in front.
The Flyers tied the game 34 seconds into the second period when Laughton put a rebound past Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson, who finished with 20 saves.
White gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 12:57, with his first goal of the season, putting a shot through traffic past Nilsson.
“You can’t turn the puck over, you have to get it deep, we know they are a high-flying offensive team,” Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds said. “When you turn pucks over in the neutral zone or at the blue line, they are going to turn around and [capitalize]. You have to be smarter with the puck.”
Hendricks tied the game at 6:13 of the third period with his first of the season, taking a long rebound off the end boards and beating Neuvirth.
Hall gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead at 7:40 feathering a pass in front, which eluded Neuvirth and slid past him into the net. Nugent-Hopkins scored into an empty net with 42.7 seconds left.