On a night where just about everyone in the Eastern Conference playoff race that the Flyers needed to lose won, the Flyers themselves couldn’t find the win column in a second-straight overtime loss. This one at the hands of the Dallas Stars, losers of eight-straight coming in. Here are five things we learned from last night’s proceedings in Dallas, in no particular order because what is life anyways?
Travis Konecny killed a guy with a trident, remains awesome
Whenever the Flyers seem to need a jolt of energy, there always seems to be one man on a mission to provide it. And that’s No. 11 in orange and black. Though he had plenty of jam early on, the Flyers had just one shot though more than 12 minutes of the first and upped the ante with his next shift. Konecny sough and destroyed poor Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis at the 13-minute mark.
March 28, 2018
Less than four minutes later the second-year forward would start the scoring for the Flyers, ripping home a wrist shot past Kari Lehtonen at the 16:51 mark to tie things up at 1-1. Konecny was at the end of what ended up being a lengthy shift, but one that not even Dave Hakstol could hate having ended up with his 23rd goal of the season.
TRAVIS KONECNY. WHAT A FREAKING SHOT. TIE GAME. pic.twitter.com/bSaXaonp6u— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 28, 2018
Konecny was all over the place in this one, creating four scoring chances per NaturalStatTrick, which was second only to Wayne Simmonds with six on the night. It was another disappointing night for some forwards like Simmonds who had a tons of chances but no dice, but that wasn’t the case for Konecny as he continues to be a reliable scorer for Hakstol on the top line.
Petr Mrazek was good, bad, and all over the place
It was a solid early start for Mrazek back starting in a key game, and he was under siege early as the Flyers sagged yet again to start the game. He saw a good dose of the Stars’ top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, stopping Seguin to start the game and then again on a Dallas power play after a penalty to Ivan Provorov just 1:22 in.
But then Benn beat Mrazek clean to the blocker side at the 3:42 mark, but Mrazek was saved by the post behind him. As he always is, Mrazek was super aggressive but was slightly off his angle and nearly paid the price.
He wasn’t so lucky later on in the first, with Radek Faksa put home a rebound off the end boards to give Dallas a 1-0 lead with 9:10 left in the period. Mrazek overcommitted to the initial shot of the stick of Dan Hamhuis and then was slow to get to the other side of the net where Faksa was waiting. Both Mrazek and Brandon Manning were slower to react to the missed shot than the Stars, and Faksa beat both Flyers to the puck.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/bcERIfei8l— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 28, 2018
Mrazek didn’t have much a chance at Dallas’ second goal, a puck that found its way off Radko Gudas. He was in pretty good position but wasn’t at fault for yet another power play goal surrendered, this time by virtue of a bad Andrew MacDonald delay of game call.
The third period didn’t provide much action for Mrazek as the Flyers carried play to the tune of 14-6 shots in the frame, but he was called upon to make a huge save on Seguin once again early in the third.
Oh hey, Petr Mrazek did a thing goalies do (stop the puck). pic.twitter.com/zD9GKDte1I— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 28, 2018
In the overtime session the Stars would finish off Mrazek’s night with Alexander Radulov potting home a 2-on-0 just 40 seconds into the extra session. It was a cruel end to the night, but bookended what was another inconsistent outing from Mrazek on the whole.
Simmonds snake bit
Simmonds led the Flyers with six scoring chances per NaturalStatTrick and was second with a Corsi-For of 73% on the night. While the play and chances were there, he also missed four shots, any of which could have been the difference-maker for the Flyers.
The Flyers’ power forward has three goals in his last 10, but was more snake bit in this one than anything. Kari Lehtonen absolutely robbed Simmonds on the doorstep with 7 minutes left in the second. Simmonds was parked in his office and took a great feed by Valtteri Filppula only to see the blocker of Lehtonen somehow get a piece of his shot. It would have been a big momentum goal for the Flyers, but it ended up being just another in a long line of missed opportunities for the club in this game.
Wayne Simmonds went to the store to buy a goal.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 28, 2018
Said he tried twice the card got declined. pic.twitter.com/4aCIm70Tg9
As we see with most players getting solid numbers of chances the goals and points tend to follow (See Oskar Lindblom), so it’s a good sign that Simmonds is driving play and creating. The Flyers would love to see Simmonds get hot scoring goals down the stretch here as they’ll need all the scoring they can get. The good news is that he’s doing all the right things right now and the results are sure to follow, and soon.
Another bad penalty kills momentum
As Jake Voracek’s frustrating penalty did against the Penguins, Andrew MacDonald’s mental lapse and delay of game was just a killer for the Flyers. And another avoidable one at that.
Alexander Radulov’s shot from the circle hit Radko Gudas in front and finds the net past Mrazek to tie it up at 2-2, with Brett Ritchie getting credit for the goal at the 10:11 mark of the second period. It was a momentum killer, not only taking away the Flyers’ lead, but sapping the energy they built up in the second after a lethargic first 20 minutes.
The Flyers have given up a ton of power play goals this season, but this one from the veteran was avoidable. Trying to exit the defensive zone amid forechecking pressure, MacDonald tried to clear the puck on his backhand and put it about 12 rows too deep into the stands.
MacDonald is in the lineup as a “veteran” presence and he’s got to avoid a bad play there. The Flyers had Dallas on their heels for most of the period and saw their lead evaporate because MacDonald put their terrible penalty kill on the ice. Much like Voracek’s penalty in Pittsburgh, a bad lapse came back to bite the Flyers immediately and easily changed the course of the game.
Somebody score a hockey goal
The Flyers outshot the Stars by a 33-23 margin, finished with a Corsi-For of 56% in all situations, and out chanced Dallas in scoring chances (27 to 23) as well as in high-danger scoring chances (9 to 6).
Like we said with Simmonds, at some point somebody has to break through and score that big go-ahead goal after Ritchie tied things up with just around 30 minutes remaining. The Flyers piled up 20 missed shots on the night, with several of those coming from really, really good scoring areas. Claude Giroux and Nolan Patrick both had glorious chances in the high slot that soared high of the Dallas net, not even forcing Kari Lehtonen to make a save. Lehtonen, by the way, came in 1-11-3 against the Flyers in his career and amid a streak of six-straight games allowing at least three of more goals.
As you can see, the Flyers were shooting from anywhere and everywhere on Tuesday night, but only solved a cold goaltender twice. When you put up that many shots and chances, it comes down to execution and the Flyers simply did not have much finish in this one. Could it be guys squeezing their sticks a little bit more as the weight of the playoff push continues to bear down on them? Or was it just one of those nights? Either way, they need to figure it out fast because the Avalanche can score and score often, and they’re next up tonight in another crucial battle for points in the playoff race.
Bonus: Flyers’ path to playoff now even more murky
The Flyers started the night with a chance to pull into a tie with Columbus with a regulation win, but it wasn’t to be. The Blue Jackets scored six-straight goals to upend the Oilers in Edmonton while the Devils score with less than two minutes to go against desperate Carolina to pull within two points of the Flyers with a game in hand. Florida remains lurking five points behind Philadelphia, but has three games in hand to play with down the stretch.
It’s gonna be a wild ride, folks, but with the Flyers isn’t it always that way?