The first game of the post-Giroux era is in the books, and it wasn't a stellar one. The Flyers went on a quick road trip up to Ottawa to face off against the Senators, and it was a bit of a yawner. The Flyers didn’t really get going, not totally, in this one, and ended up dropping this one 3-1. Nothing shocking here, just another meh game from the Flyers.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick.
Two big things
This one went as expected
This was, shall we say, not the prettiest or most exciting of game for the Flyers. And all of that we should have predicted—this was not going to be a great matchup from the start, with two teams at the bottom of the league standings facing off, and then adding into that the strain of travel on the Flyers, and the hangover from really emptying the tank to pull off a win over the Predators for their captain’s last game. There was a lot working against them here, and while they could have rallied and defied those expectations, gotten the best of the adversity, but we’re not terribly surprised that they didn’t, either.
That offense did not get going
As we just alluded to, this was not a strong offensive showing for the Flyers. They came out with a bit of jump, the energy was good, but we did see that dwindling as the game went on, and in any event, the team still struggled throughout to get much cohesive play going, and to create much in the way of offense. The Flyers were really dramatically out chanced in this one. At 5-on-5, they put up just 33 shot attempts to the Senators’ 66, and were out chanced 14-30 in scoring chances, and 3-9 in high danger chances (and the Flyers put up exactly zero high danger chances in the third period when they were playing from behind and trying to make a push to tie things up). Credit to Martin Jones here, this game could have easily gotten out of hand on the scoresheet and the skaters weren't going well enough to keep things close (though he did also get some help from the fact that the Senators aren’t exactly loaded with shooting talent right now). In any event, this game was technically within reach for the most part, but things just weren’t clicking for them offensively. We can chalk some of that up to fatigue, but here’s hoping they can shake that off and find some cohesiveness again, or else this is going to be a long final stretch of the season.
Bits and bobs
A is for Atkinson
The Flyers did get a bit of offense, just one goal scored on the night, and it came from Cam Atkinson, which was kind of perfect. In the absence of their captain, the Flyers didn’t immediately name a new one, but they did give Atkinson an A, adding him to the leadership group. It was a natural move—Atkinson was acquired in part for his ability to unofficially help on the leadership front, he wore an A in Columbus, and now making it official here only made sense. And what they got from his last night is also exactly what you want to see from the team’s leaders—this season has been hard and they only seems to be getting harder again, but Atkinson set a nice example, coming in with jump and working to drag his teammates into the fight with him. It wasn’t enough to drag the whole of the team to a win, but it was a welcome sight.
Frost back to center
For starters, it was nice to see Morgan Frost doing okay for this one, after he took a puck to the face after a weird clearing attempt by Justin Braun at the end of Thursday’s game. This season is so cursed and him having taken a relatively serious injury from that would have been par for the course. But bullet dodged there, we guess.
In other news, Frost is back to playing center with Giroux gone, and even though he looked best while playing on the wing recently, the Flyers didn’t really have a choice but to move him back to center. He did okay there last night, we’ll see how he continues to trend, but the silver lining at least is that this does open the door for a bit more stability for him—he’s been bounced between levels and that’s done a real number on his confidence, but they need him at the NHL level right now, and that should be the case for the foreseeable future. This should offer a bit more stability, and here’s hoping that they can give him the tools to succeed and the space to do a bit more creating, and he can get going again.
Man, this was weird
We should have guessed that this would be the case, but somehow it was even worse, and it was so weird to see the Flyers without Claude Giroux in this one. For how long he’s been with the team, for how durable he’s been and how few games he’s missed in that time, as well as just for how much he’s driven the offense in that time as well. It’s a new era out here, that’s for sure, and it’s going to take some time to get used to.