The Philadelphia Flyers are spiraling down the standings and it just feels like there can really be nothing done about it.
With the team embracing wholeheartedly their eight-game losing streak, wallowing in their own grief, Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault is looking at any possible option to get this team back in that precious win column.
“Right now, we’re not scoring, we’re not finishing, so we’re going to have to find a way to win games 1-0 or 2-1. And until we get some of that finish that I know some of these players have, but definitely right now we’re not seeing it, we’re not executing it. So we’re going to have to tighten up defensively and find a way to win.”
The Flyers are indeed, not finishing their chances. Since Nov. 1, only the New York Islanders have scored less goals than Philadelphia, despite the team having the 12th-most shots on goal and 18th-most scoring chances in all situations during that timeframe. It’s not like the team is unloading their offensive arsenal upon their opponents each night, but they are certainly average or above-average in getting their own opportunities. To have 374 scoring chances and 25 goals to show for it, is some insane run of bad luck or just ineptitude around the net.
Not to mention, one of the Flyers top goal scorers in Joel Farabee had to leave the game against the Rangers on Wednesday, after he lost a skating edge and crumbled into the boards during the first period. There has been nothing concrete determined on a potential injury or timeline if he is deemed to have one, but it is very Flyers to have your most promising player to get out of this offensive hole, suddenly be unable to play.
As a result in this drought, Vigneault is aiming to really “tighten up” on the other side of the puck, hoping that the team that has allowed the 10th-most shot attempts against and the 4th-highest amount of expected goals in all situations this season, will suddenly become good enough defensively to win those tight games while their offense is resembling the middle of the most dry desert imaginable. Or maybe they will just rely on Carter Hart to bail them out as they have all season long.
Not saying it’s impossible, but it would be extremely uncharacteristic for the players on this team and the coaching staff that is telling them what to do, to suddenly pull off this example of the most shutdown of shutdown hockey. The easier conclusion is that eventually the offense will return and they can outscore their defensive woes, but that has yet to be proven.
Vigneault will have his defensive work cut out for him as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche come to visit Philadelphia less than 24 hours apart this weekend. Maybe something will happen by then from a management point of view—because something has got to give.