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What we learned from the Flyers’ final pair of road games in Washington

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s the home stretch! The Flyers headed down to Washington this weekend for their last pair of away games, and they came out of it with a split with the Capitals. We got one very fun win, and then one, well, less exciting follow up, which all feels pretty par for the course with how this season’s gone. What’s a little more, right?

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

Three numbers of note

55.50 CF% at 5-on-5

You all know the drill by now, we’re going to talk about the 5-on-5 numbers first. On the whole, they’re really quite solid. Across both games, the Flyers held a pretty comfortable edge in possession, at least in some areas. All told, the Flyers came out of this pair of games with an adjusted 55.50 CF%, 52.05 SCF%, and a 48.07 xGF%, so they were able to get the better of the share of overall shot attempts, but we saw them, as we have for much of the season, struggling to generate much in the way of high danger chances, while also avoiding bleeding a ton, in turn. So the numbers come out a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s worth noting that there was still some good happening there.

And maybe, as has been the case for a lot of the season, that makes last night’s loss feel even worse. It wasn’t a very pretty game, it was kind of boring, if we’re being honest, but it was a pretty good game for the Flyers, and they really did deserve to win that one.

4 scoring chances on the power play

Before we dive into the numbers, here’s a tweet that pretty well sums up the power play’s ~vibe~. Maybe we’ don’t need to say much more beyond this.

The power play, on the season, has been a mess, and we got a bit more of that over these last two games. The Flyers had 8:20 of power play time to work with, and they did, well, they did a whole lot of nothing with that. They generated just nine shot attempts, four scoring chances, and two high danger chances, and really just looked out of sorts for most of their time out there. There wasn’t much generated in the way of pressure, they couldn’t hold the puck in the offensive zone, and they really didn’t look all that sharp at all.

In addition to that, they also gave up four shot attempts and two scoring chances, and it felt like just as often as often as they were trying to create something, somehow their power play was looking more like a penalty kill.

It’s been rough around here, folks. Here’s hoping that changes are on the horizon.

2 goals for Wade Allison

But, let’s bring this back around to a positive, because we deserve it. Allison had been a bit quieter of late, but he’s really picked things up over the last few games, and Friday saw things breaking open for him again in a big way. He picked up two goals on Friday, one from that quick shot of his from a tough angle, and another from him going to the front of the net and getting a stick on a shot into traffic. It hasn’t all completely clicked for him (the underlying numbers in this series, a 39.24 CF% and 41.10 xGF%, could still use some improving), but we’re seeing the key elements of his game flashing and already looking like they’re translating well to the NHL level. And that, if nothing else, is exciting.

And Alain Vigneault mentioned that he isn’t weighing these last games too heavily, but it does feel like these performances from Allison should go a long way. He’s playing some really good hockey right now, and it’s hard to see any reason why he hasn’t worked himself firmly into the conversation for a spot on next season’s opening night roster.

Two loose observations

Cam York’s solid debut

And the really exciting bit from this series was Cam York finally making his NHL debut. And while it wasn’t a perfect pair of showings, there was a whole lot of good that he brought, and that left us with a lot to be excited about.

He wasn’t able to pick up a point just yet, but there was a lot clicking for him right off the bat. We didn’t see any of the nerves that seemed to crop up in his AHL debut, and he slid pretty easily into his role with the NHL squad. He skated well, keeping up with the pace of the game and even showing flashes of elusiveness from defenders. His passing was really strong, and he showed a willingness to jump in on the rush when the space opened up for it. He was steady under pressure and the confidence and vision he’s been heralded for seemed evident. In short, all of the elements of his game that have made him so effective at, well, every other level, have looked like they’re translating to the NHL level.

He also seemed to gel well with Justin Braun, which was good news, because (in a perfect world and assuming Braun is still on the team next season) that’s one that we might expect to be a possibility as the team’s third pair next season.

It’s a small sample, to be sure, and we know how that first call-up adrenaline can boost players, but it’s also true that York really impressed in his first couple of NHL games, and there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about his upside and future with the team.

Consistency, consistency, consistency

And finally, of course, the elephant in the room. The Flyers were within 40 seconds of winning last night’s game in overtime, and that would have made for their first consecutive wins since March 27-29, so that considered, it would have been a pretty remarkable feat for them to pull it off. They were so close to doing it, but they just couldn’t close things out strong.

And this isn’t new. We’ve seen the Flyers play a solid stretch and then things rapidly going nuclear for them, and the rug being pulled out from under them. We don’t have answers for why this has been such an issue, nor does the team, but in a way, it really does feel sort of morbidly fitting that this is how this last full series would have played out. The fun of the first game was nice while it lasted, but this cursed season has pretty well promised that there was no other possible outcome than that crashing back down in the second game of the weekend. So it goes.

The big picture

That’s it, folks! The final road games of the season! It was a little fun, not completely fun, but we’re very nearly at the end here. How much more is left to say at this point? The Flyers did, well, like we’ve said, what we’ve seen them do time and again this season—they put up a strong showing and then followed it up with a pretty flat game. Rinse and repeat.

Just one more game on deck, gang. See you all on Monday.