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What we learned from the Flyers 4-3 OT loss to the Hurricanes

Some observations for your morning...

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, that certainly was an adventure. The Flyers had themselves a weird 3:00pm game yesterday (weird for the start time and also for just how this one played out). The Flyers got a tired Hurricanes team yesterday, playing on the second half of a back-to-back and coming off a win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh the day before, and still had some trouble with them. The Flyers took the edge in energy, and some nice production from a couple of their depth players kept them in the mix, but they weren’t able to hold off the Canes completely. After dominating the overtime period as a whole, they finally got their good bounce and came up with the game winning goal with just 18 seconds left in overtime. Close, but no cigar for the Flyers, and the new losing streak’s hit five games.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

Two big things

A high effort game

There’s a lot of credit to be given to the Flyers here, particularly for how they were able to start this game. They came out with a lot of energy, and they were able to really well dominate play (they outshot the Hurricanes 10-2 and outchanced them 9-1 in scoring chances in the first period). The team had good jump and were hard on pucks, and there were certainly spurts where this really paid off for them. Now, all that said, we can say that this was a high effort game (the team was competing very well), but it wasn’t exactly a very tidy one. The Flyers were first on a lot of pucks, but we didn’t see this immediately translating to as many good chances as we might have expected. They were losing handles on a lot of pucks as well, whiffing on passes, and that had them scrambling around quite a bit as well. We like the effort, it’s better than we were seeing just a few weeks ago, but the execution is still a work in progress. We saw flashes where they were looking really dangerous, but it was still only just flashes. But hey, one step at a time, we’ll see if they can build on that tonight against the Blues.

On shooting yourself in the foot

Just like we saw flashes from the Flyers in this one where they were looking quite dangerous, we also saw wild swings in the opposite direction where we were wondering if they were even playing NHL hockey against the Canes. Let’s roll the tape on a couple of those moments.

If you’re wondering what in the world was even happening here, well, you’re not alone. We’re picking on the defensemen here, but these were just brutal plays. On the first goal, Yandle leaves a huge gap and allows the pass to get through, and Seeler fails to pick up Teravainen coming in for the shot. And then on the second, Ristolainen gets caught with the puck in his skates for a second and doesn’t pick up... anyone... in front of the net. There’s some tough bounce type action going on there, but the awareness also wasn’t top notch.

And that’s kind of the reality of things with the Flyers right now. They’re getting passable to good performances from Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun right now, and outside of that, the defense is easy to exploit, and the Canes were able to do just that,

Bits and bobs

I am once again asking to see Cam York

And thinking about those defensive breakdowns, and combining that with how mightily the power play struggled yesterday, and has struggled of late, it’s hard to avoid frustration with knowing that the team has their best power play quarterback, and a defenseman who looked more than competent playing in their top-4, just sitting in the AHL. Sending York down for the All Star break so that he could get in for some more games was understandable, but keeping him down there now is not. There might be something to be said for wanting to make sure that he gets a lot of minutes, an opportunity he would have with the Phantoms, but there’s also really no reason why he couldn’t be doing that up here. Because really, half of the defense corps is a disaster right now, and if he’s looking steadier than any of Yandle, Seeler, or even Provorov right now, perhaps it’s time to pass of some of their minutes to him.

Martin Jones answers the call

It was a decent showing for Martin Jones yesterday, and it was a tough position that he was put in going into it. Carter Hart was slated to start this one, but it was announced just a few hours before game time that Hart would be out with an eye infection, and Jones would be in. It was a weird one for him, as he didn’t face a whole lot of activity early on (he faced just two shots in the first period), but he did well enough in this showing (he certainly seemed to be tracking better than in his last start). We talked about the defensive struggles already, and with that considered, there’s not a whole lot that Jones could have done on those goals against. Could he have had them? Sure. But he also could have used a whole lot more help.

Gerry Mayhew keeps rolling

We talked about this being a hard working game for the Flyers, and something of a poster child for that was Mayhew. And that’s not really much of a surprise—Mayhew’s been a stellar energy player for the Flyers since he was brought up, but he added to his list of strong individual showings here. He picked up the Flyers’ first goal of the game—his fifth in his last seven games played—and was tied for the team lead with four individual scoring chances. He brought good jump with this one, and was one of their stronger puck possession players (he had a great showing here in overtime as well, even if it didn’t end in a goal). Things are still rolling well for him, that’s for certain.

Isaac Ratcliffe also stands out

Speaking of individual standouts, Ratcliffe had himself another very solid game yesterday as well. Good on Patrick Brown for getting a goal in his first game back in action, but the work here by Ratcliffe to set it up was just stellar.

He wins the puck battle behind the net, outmuscling his opponent, and even as he’s being pushed down, he battles to chip a pass across the crease for Brown to tap in. In short, he did all the heavy lifting on that play, but the team certainly reaped the benefits.

It’s kind of funny how these things go sometimes—this is exactly the type of work they were trying to get him to do more consistently at the AHL level to make him more effective, and it’s all clicking for him now that he’s made the jump up to the NHL. We’re aware of some of the streakiness he’s battled with in the past, and are watching to see if it pops up here, but right now he’s not really showing any signs of slowing down. He’s been a real treat to watch.

Hanging in there

We do have to give the Flyers credit here—they did really hang with the Hurricanes in this one. Even tired from playing the afternoon before, the Hurricanes are a very good team, and that much was abundantly clear yesterday. And while it may be hard to swallow, as the Flyers’ losing streak has hit five games, but the team is turning a bit of a corner here. These were three tough divisional games in a row where they’ve been right there in. There’s still quite a bit of work to be done for them to actually close out those types of games and start putting together wins, but there are steps being made in the right direction.