Well would you look at that, another two losses in a row. The Flyers had a chance to pick up some momentum this week after a nice win over the Capitals on Saturday, but they’ve seemingly squandered all of that good built up at warp speed with losses to the Oilers on Tuesday, and now the Wild last night. Things are getting extra bleak again, folks.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick.
Not looking a gift horse in the mouth
This game was, at least on the scoresheet, close. The Flyers lead this one until just past the midpoint of the third period, and if you’re just looking at the scoring report, it does look like the Flyers were able to hang with the Wild for most of this game, but this... isn’t really true. The Flyers were close on the scoresheet, but even that wasn’t really so much a product of consistent good work by the Flyers (though their scoring plays were nice) as it was a product of just really poor goaltending on Cam Talbot’s part (oh hey, remember that guy?). It’s not like the team came away from this one patting themselves on the back for keeping this one close, so we’re not setting the record straight there, but it is worth noting. The Flyers also got kinda lucky in this one, in some ways.
Not really in it
Which brings us to the larger point here—while it may have looked like the Flyers were in this one, they very much really were not. The Wild got the better of the chances at 5-on-5, out-chancing the Flyers 60-40 in shot attempts and 28-14 in scoring chances. Even as they were leading on the scoresheet, it felt like the Flyers were largely holding on for dear life. And even though they were getting some good play fro Carter Hart to back them up, with how poorly they were managing the puck (more on that later), in a lot of ways, it felt like only a matter of time before that came back to bite them, no matter how well Hart was playing. The team didn’t look cohesive enough in this one, and pairing that with the mistakes made throughout, they let this one get away from them.
And we’ll toss the mic over to Yeo before we move on, because he was clear in his criticism of the team after this one, as frustration mounts, and that’s worth highlighting:
We can either really get together here and battle through this and become a better team or you can be frustrated going into games not feeling right and next thing you know a mistake happens and things snowball where we can pick each other up. I made some mistakes, our whole team made mistakes and this is where we gotta bail each other out and that’s what good teams do. That team made a lot of mistakes too but they kept fighting, they kept pushing for each other and then they found a way to win. We didn’t do that as soon as adversity struck we crumbled.
Once again, they have a chance to try to right the ship going forward (how many times have we said that this season?). We’ll see how they respond on Saturday.
But let’s hit on one positive before we get back to the doom and gloom. Tuesday’s loss to the Oilers was a really rough one for Scott Laughton and his line with Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom, so much so that they had to be broken up in-game. And after that, Mike Yeo challenged them to be better, and that was something that Laughton in particular seemed to take to heart. He picked up one of the Flyers’ four goals on the night on a very nice play, also assisted on Travis Konecny’s goal, and led the Flyers in scoring chances at 5-on-5, with three. He cleaned up his game quite a bit and was a good driver of offense, in a game where the team as a whole struggled with that.
We’re a little bit in the weeds here, but if nothing else, it was nice to see someone respond well when called upon.
The Flyers, on the whole, were not terribly sharp in this one, and while there were a lot of issues throughout the game and lineup in this one, there were some really brutal turnovers at critical times that really sank them. Let’s go to the tape on those.
what patience, what style, what grace, what a rocket by gaudreau pic.twitter.com/9SEsEXDApG— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 4, 2022
With under ten seconds left in the first period, that's a soft pass by Brassard to try to clear the puck out of the defensive zone that doesn’t even make it past the blue line. The Wild were able to jump (literally) on that, catch the Flyers sleeping a bit, and tie the game with four seconds until intermission.
MATTHEW THEODORE BOLDY pic.twitter.com/Tb3JnCqgpF— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 4, 2022
And here we see Provorov lose the puck along the board and then get caught a little flat footed trying to fix his own mistake and break up the play, and the Wild pulled themselves back to tied in the third period.
And these were pretty terrible, but they also weren’t the only turnovers we saw in this one. The Flyers weren’t very clean with the puck in this one, and as Yeo pointed out in his presser, turnovers were an issue for them right from the drop of the puck. This was ugly.
On not getting lost in the structure
One of the more interesting notes from Yeo after last night’s game came as he noted that even though the team is working to make some strides to improve their underlying process, they can’t just go and get lost in that structure. And this certainly did seem to be something worth pointing out. There are a lot of things ailing this team right now, and the way things spiraled last night is a prime example of why they should be playing a little smarter and working to limit their mistakes, but this also isn’t to say that the team should just be playing to execute their system and not make mistakes. They have to also be looking to make a play (and not The Perfect Play, as we’ve also seen them caught up in, but just a play). They’re in a better spot than they were even just a week ago, but they’re still a pretty thin team, and they can’t really be passing up opportunities to make a play to create some offense.