The Flyers closed out their three game homestand last night with a matchup against the Bruins, looking to bounce back after a tough shootout loss to the Lightning on Thursday, and, well, things did not exactly go to plan. After giving up the first two goals of the game, the Flyers stormed back to tie things up and give us a game, but some breakdowns and the Bruins’ efficient offense took over and put up three more on the Flyers to seal this one off. It’s a bit of a sour note to end the week on, and a less than stellar sending off, as the team heads to Florida for games against the Lightning and Panthers this week. But that’s for future us to worry about. Let’s put a bow on this one first.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick.
By the numbers
Let’s hit on the elephant in the room right off the back—the numbers were not kind to the Flyers in this one. They were pretty thoroughly outchanced across the board, as they managed to put up just a 39.36 CF%, 33.02 SCF%, and 37.02 xGF% at 5-on-5. Even more jarring is the 21 shots on goal that they allowed the Bruins put up across all situations in the first period alone. The Flyers tightened up a bit after that first period, but it was ugly for a bit there, and they didn’t really have an answer to the Bruins’ offense early on.
Now, the one positive we could pull from this is how the Flyers were still able to limit the number of high danger chances the Bruins were able to create—with the pure volume of shots they were able to get off, the relative number of dangerous chances was pretty low. Did it help them in the results department? Not really. But it’s something.
The Derick Brassard Show
The big takeaway from this game should perhaps be that the Flyers’ offense is struggling, unless your name is Derick Brassard. With two goals on the night, Brassard, who had cooled off a bit over the last few weeks, turned into the Flyers’ major offensive driver in this one and was able to get them back into this game.
And while it wasn’t a perfect showing for Brassard (his line with Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson lost their matchup, putting up an adjusted 45.25 CF% and 39.91 xGF% at 5-on-5), we still saw him putting in some really good work. One major complaint about the Flyers’ recent play has been how they’ve struggled to get to the net for dangerous chances, and last night Brassard got rewarded for doing exactly that. So credit to him for that, now we just need to see more of his teammates doing that same work. More of this please!
The power play does...something?
We want to be upfront off the hope: this still was not a stellar showing for the power play, they still have some work to do, but there’s good news to be found here in the fact that they took a bit of a step forward in this one. All told, the Flyers had 7:13 of 5-on-4 power play time to work with in this one, and they got themselves a few nice looks. They totaled 10 shot attempts, five shots on goal and scoring chances, and three high danger chances. Their puck moving looked sharper, and they got some nice looks, specifically, coming from distributing from below the goal line, which was neat to see.
And they did get rewarded for that good work, with Brassard’s second of the night coming on the power play. There’s still a lot of work that needs to go into turning this thing around, but if nothing else, this was a good step in the right direction.
Not a bad night for Martin Jones
Jones ended up with the loss in this one, and the night was a bit of a mixed bag, but despite the result it is worth mentioning that his play really was not all that bad on the whole. He got caught out of position a couple of times and that led to goals against, and that was really tough to see, there’s really no way around that. But the Bruins also put 44 shots up on him, and if he was having a really poor showing, that could have easily translated into a truly ugly blowout. He was fine but slightly off in this game, human again, and a showing like that can get pretty easily wiped away when the team in front is going, and, well...
The Flyers made a few ugly turnovers and gaffs in front of Jones which exacerbated things a bit, and that was tough to see too. But overall his play was not too bad, nothing to have us too concerned going forward. We’ll take it and move on to the next.
Something’s got to give
The Flyers hit something of a somber milestone last night, as this loss marked the first time this season that the team has lost two games in a row. Now, Two losses in a row in a vacuum certainly isn’t the end of the world, but given the struggles the team has faced of late, it’s fair to feel a bit of concern here. There were positives that we can and did pull out of this game, but the offense has continued to struggle and the positives that we saw last night weren't enough to convince us that the team is on the cusp of turning things around in a significant way. And with two games missed and still no update on Kevin Hayes, it feels less and less likely that when the news does come that it will be good. So the Flyers are going to need to find an offensive boost from somewhere else, and whether it’s a change to their game plan or structure or through some player shuffling, something has to give sooner or later. The Middle of the Metro is extremely tight, and the Flyers are close to losing that fourth spot that they’ve been managing to hold on to. They need to find a way to turn things around here in short order.