On the back end of a back-to-back, the Flyers had to turn to a third goaltender on the season. Carter Hart had been plenty busy of late and Felix Sandstrom is down with an illness, so Samuel Ersson was getting the call.
It proved to be a memorable debut for all the wrong reasons.
Ersson allowed a goal on the first shot he faced in his NHL career and was eventually pulled after allowing five goals. In relief, Hart was back in goal, until he was forced to exit with an injury, sending Ersson back in during a whirlwind 6-5 loss for the Flyers to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
It didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to get on the board. After the Flyers couldn’t convert on two quality chances, Carolina scored on its first shot of the game. Jesper Fast fired a wrist shot through a screen that beat Ersson to the blocker side to make it 1-0 at 3:57.
The Flyers responded to get the game tied at 11:03. Travis Sanheim took a pass in the neutral zone from Morgan Frost and weaved his way into the offensive zone before picking his spot to score his fourth goal of the season.
Carolina got a power play minutes later and made quick work of it. At 14:32, Martin Necas got a shot through a screen that was tipped by Stefan Noesen to make it a 2-1 game.
In the final minute of the period, Carolina capitalized on a defensive breakdown. Jordan Martinook centered to find Fast for his second of the night, making it a 3-1 game with 55 seconds remaining in the period.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 14-5 Carolina.
Just 1:01 into the second, the Flyers cut the lead to one as Joel Farabee led a rush and hit the trailing Tony DeAngelo, who fired a shot home to make it 3-2.
Carolina took over from there, scoring another three goals in the period. It started at 5:57, as Andrei Svechnikov buried his chance off the rush to make it 4-2 with his 18th goal of the season.
Just 2:01 later, Martinook got in the goal column with a deflection to make it 5-2. That chased Ersson from the game after allowing five goals on 22 shots.
With 2:08 remaining in the period, the Hurricanes scored again on the power play, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi finished off a chance. In the process, Rasmus Ristolainen cross-checked Seth Jarvis into Hart, leading to an injury and Hart had to exit the game. Ersson was back in for the remainder of the game as Hart made six saves on seven shots in 9:54 of action.
Through two periods, it was a 6-2 game on the scoreboard and the Hurricanes had a 29-15 lead in shots.
At 6:59 of the third period, the Flyers got back on the board as a distance shot by Nick Seeler found the net to make it 6-3. Just 42 seconds later, the Flyers were short-handed, but got another goal as Scott Laughton scored on a breakaway to make it 4-2 with 12:19 to play.
With 7:36 to play, the Flyers got to within one with another shorthanded goal, this time by Travis Konecny on a breakaway.
The frantic comeback fell short, as the Flyers could not score on a power play less than a minute later or on over two minutes of 6-on-5 time with the goalie pulled.
Ersson finished with 25 saves on 30 shots. Antti Raanta had 26 saves on 31 shots in the win.
Konecny, Laughton, and DeAngelo each had two points in the loss. Martinook and Jordan Staal had three points, while Brett Pesce, Svechnikov, Fast, and Necas each had two.
The Flyers head into the holiday break and will be off for six days. Their next game comes next Thursday night, when they begin a three-game West coast road trip against the San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m.