It turned out to be too much to ask for the Flyers to string together consecutive victories. Against the Edmonton Oilers, the team made missteps from the start, and while they didn’t play abysmally, they certainly didn’t do enough to gain any sort of advantage on one of the best offensive teams in the league. It was another one of those losses that epitomizes the utter sense of despair this season has surrounding it.
It only took 31 seconds into the game for the Flyers to decide to put their penalty kill to the ultimate test. Scott Laughton was called for tripping against Connor McDavid — in the midst of what was an awful opening shift to begin with — and the Oilers were able to ice their league-best power play early. Stress ensued, but the Flyers miraculously lived to tell the tale and did not get scored on.
Travis Konecny had a great chance to shoot the puck with a little over seven minutes left in the period, but he opted to pass. Why? Because it’s the Flyers, that’s all I’ve got.
Kailer Yamomoto was then called for high-sticking at 13:00, but upon replay, it became clear that it was actually Ivan Provorov’s stick that hit Konecny in the face. I’m not sure Konecny knew it was friendly fire either — or he was trying to sell that it wasn’t — because he spent time trying to show the refs that there was blood in hopes for a double minor. This is where I would write that any power play is a gift you accept with no complaints, but the Flyers are bad at them. It would be better if the Flyers could actually just decline any power plays they’re offered, because what good is two minutes where they can’t score?
Of course, the Flyers were granted more power play time! They were on a 5-on-3 for 51 seconds after goaltender Mikko Koskinen shot the puck into the stands and had a delay of game call against him. It was the kind of penalty to sit back and laugh at, because how does a goalie mishandle the puck so badly? However, not even the two-man advantage could help the Flyers get a power play goal. It was the same song and dance as ever throughout the Flyers two overlapping power plays.
The worst part was that the Flyers weren’t even bad during it. Part of this was likely attributed to the Oilers’ penalty kill rank being on the low end. However, even with some of the better looks the Flyers had, nothing went in the net.
Oskar Lindblom was then called for tripping at 17:21. Of course, the Oilers weren’t going to let the Flyers perfectly kill off two of these. Leon Draisaitl decided to show us all what a successful power play actually looks like and scored.
Did you know when the Oilers score first, they have a perfect win rate? Jim Jackson and Keith Jones made sure us watching at home knew.
In the dying seconds of the period, Travis Sanheim had a good chance at scoring, but no dice. It would have been much better to go into the second tied, but instead, this period ended with the Oilers leading 1-0.
The period started off a little slow until Lindblom took a second tripping penalty. Thankfully the Flyers redeemed themselves from the last go-round by killing this one off. Carter Hart made some good saves, and the defensive work itself wasn’t too shabby either.
After a TV timeout, NBC Sports Philadelphia felt the need to talk about Joel Embiid and James Harden, and it perfectly encompassed how bad the Flyers are right now. “Please don’t lose hope in all Philly sports, we have the 76ers!”
Konecny decided to join the tripping brigade — seriously, all four Flyers penalties to this point were tripping ones — and gave the Oilers yet another power play. At one point Connor McDavid had one of his patented breakaway attempts, but Hart stopped him, and it helped the Flyers kill off yet another penalty.
The Flyers were picking up steam throughout the period, including some really good chances from Claude Giroux, but it wasn’t enough. In fact, it turned right back around as the Oilers all converged into the net with a lot of hacking and whacking, and Yamomoto scored.
Upon replays, it looked like Evander Kane may have knocked Hart’s stick away, which could’ve been worth a review or challenge, but that never happened.
Rasmus Ristolainen got a penalty for high-sticking — breaking our streak of tripping penalties — and the Oilers were on the power play again. Laughton almost had a shorthanded chance, which would have been amazing against this particular power play, but no dice.
The Flyers ended the period down two goals and with 20 seconds of penalty kill still waiting for them in the third.
Going into this period, Mike Yeo decided to shuffle up his lines a bit. Instead of running Lindblom, Laughton, and Konecny as a line anymore, Lindblom was playing with Gerry Mayhew and Derick Brassard, and James van Riemsdyk joined Laughton and Konecny. It reflected the poor play that line in particular was having — remember, they racked up four total penalties — but also, the Flyers were in a hole. Sometimes changing things up works, so it was worth a shot.
Honestly, not much happened throughout the third. The Oilers were defending their lead, and the Flyers were trying to chip away at it, but not much of anything really happened. Koskinen fended off every shot he faced throughout the period, and Hart did the same in his net. No one took any penalties, which was an improvement in that aspect, but the 5-on-5 play was honestly lackluster to watch with just a few inspired chances here and there.
At 2:19 left in the game, the Flyers pulled Hart for the extra attacker. However, it didn’t work. The Oilers were able to force the Flyers into their own zone, and they played a bit of tic-tac-toe figuring out which player deserved to score the empty netter. They gave it to McDavid for the final touch.
The clock trickled down, and the Flyers couldn’t even eke one goal in to stop Koskinen from getting the shutout, so the game ended 3-0.
One of the biggest concerns throughout this whole game was how often the Flyers were going on the penalty kill. To do so against the Edmonton Oilers of all teams is a foolish thing! I wondered if the Oilers have an effect on teams to make them take more penalties — because when your power play is that good why not put yourself into position to try to ice it all the time — but as it turns out, going into this game, they’re tied for third-least amount of penalties in the league. So no, the Flyers were just letting themselves become that undisciplined against the Oilers.
It also feels like the Flyers got goalied. The game ended with shots favoring the Flyers 39-32. Considering the Flyers spent a good 10 minutes of this game shorthanded, you would expect the totals to be the other way around. To outshoot the opponent and have no goals come of it, though, speaks to how this wasn’t the Flyers’ sharpest game. Perhaps that’s to be expected when the Flyers haven’t had a whole lot of sharp games this season to begin with.
With that, see you all on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. ET when the Minnesota Wild come into town as the Flyers’ eight-game homestand continues.