In my eyes, three problems have plagued the Flyers this season.
Two of the problems are just skill-based: turnovers and poor special teams. Let's get angry about them, but hey ... what can you do? When it comes down to it, you just have to chalk them up in the "okay, so they're bad, then" column.
But the other one is extremely frustrating.
The Flyers are just getting outworked. It's a problem that plagued them earlier in the season, they seemed to correct it to an extent during the homestand, and tonight, especially in the second period, the Flyers just lost puck battles. To the left, to the right, to the north, to the south. They lost puck battles all over the ice. They're slower to pucks. They're standing around instead of skating.
* On the Leafs' second goal, Jakub Voracek was beaten to the puck by Colton Orr. Orr laid the body, the Leafs got the puck and never really gave it up until Orr ultimately put it in the back of the net. Orr also outmuscled Nicklas Grossmann for a loose puck in front of the net before scoring.
* Seconds later on their third goal, the Flyers lost about three battles along the boards before the puck came back to Cody Franson, who put it on net. Matt Frattin tipped it past Bryz. Getting out of hand now.
* On their fourth goal, Grossmann had the puck on his stick -- pretty routine -- in the defensive zone. When he went to dish it across to Kurtis Foster, the Leafs' forecheckers forced a turnover and it resulted in a goal. Should never have even had a chance to possess the puck.
All of these goals against had some element of skill involved -- maybe the Flyers are just slower defensively than their opposition, for example -- but a lot of it's just winning puck battles and being smart with the puck. Outwork the other team. Don't do stupid stuff. Really not that difficult, even if you're just a bad hockey team.
The Flyers had a chance to get back in this one when Tye McGinn was crushed into the boards (for the second game in a row) and they were given a five minute power play.
That power play resulted in a standing ovation from the Air Canada Centre crowd for goaltender Ben Scrivens, but it probably should have been a standing O for the Flyers decided to not really do anything on the power play instead. The Flyers got six pucks on goal during the man advantage, but only one of them was from closer than 40 feet. Hardly challenging.
And after the five minutes ticked off the clock, the Flyers were just about cooked. They went about the motions in the third and really, the best part of the night was when the game finally ended.
Can they turn this around in time to face Winnipeg in less than 24 hours? Who knows? Just "working hard" doesn't bridge the gap from bad team to playoff team. The turnovers need to stop. The power play needs to get better. And this can't happen anymore, either.
Questions with Answers
1. One line to worry about offensively. Can the Flyers stop that top line?
see GIF above
2. What does JvR do tonight?
see GIF above
3. What about Luke Schenn?
see GIF above
4. Will tonight be a physical game as nearly everybody expects it to be?
No, not really. A few nice hits on both sides, one dirty hit by a Leaf, but it's pretty hard for a game to be all that physical when one team is completely out of it by the second period.
5. Can the top line get on the board offensively?
Not even sure they get the privilege of being called the top line at this point.
6. Will the continued chemistry between Jake Voracek and Brayden Schenn keep up?
Meh. They were alright in the first period. Kinda tough to say after that.
Comment of the Night
Well, to be fair, that is JVR's only move.