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What we learned from the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

After a tough weekend and losses in both games of the home-and-home series against the Sabres, the Flyers hit the road for a little trip up North and were hoping to work towards righting the ship against the Maple Leafs last night. And while they were able to keep things close for a bit, some of their own mistakes came back to bite them and the Leafs’ offense was able to take over, and this all ended in the Flyers’ sixth consecutive loss. Fun times out here.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

By the numbers

Dipping first into some of the numbers here, we see that this one overall didn’t go as poorly for the Flyers are we might have predicted, given the pair of games they were coming off of. That said, it still wasn’t a stellar game for them. They lost the overall share of shot attempts at 5-on-5 (48.24 percent-for), as well as more danger chances (41.46 percent of scoring chances and 46.67 percent of high danger chances). So it wasn't a terribly lopsided affair as far as the chances went—and perhaps being able to keep things relatively close is a small victory in and of itself—but it also wasn’t a very dynamic offensive showing for the Flyers. The Flyers put up 55 shot attempts and 39 shots on goal across all situations, but only nine of them were high danger chances, and facing off against a Leafs team with more shooting talent and a goaltender playing well, they were going to need to do a bit more to make a real impact on the scoresheet themselves, and they fell flat there.

Penalty kill trending up

This weekend was pretty catastrophic for the Flyers’ penalty kill, and they had a chance to rebound against... the best power play in the league. And while they got a bit of help in the fact that Auston Matthews was going to be out for this one, it still wasn’t going to be an easy go for them.

But the good news is that they did take a bit of a step forward last night. All told, in just over seven minutes of penalty kill time, the Flyers only allowed the Leafs three shots on goal and two scoring chances, and that came in large part due to their strong work on entry defense—they were aggressive therein and were able to keep the Leafs from making a clean entry in the first place. This was good because, of course, when the Leafs did get set up, the Flyers fell back into bad habits. Once again it was a bit too much standing still, and the Leafs were able to capitalize with one goal in the end. So, this was better, but still not perfect from the Flyers.

Working hard or hardly working?

We talked a little bit after the Flyers’ pair of losses to the Sabres about the importance of putting together some more hardworking plays and not just relying on their opponents making huge mistakes and dropping golden opportunities right into their lap to score goals. And the Flyers, to their credit, did do some of that on their two goals on the night in Toronto.

On the first goal, we saw James van Riemsdyk got two looks on rebounds, and was able to sneak the second past Campbell, and then on the second, after an initial rush chance, Travis Konecny collected another rebound and kicked the puck towards the point, and Ronnie Attard was able to keep it in and take the puck in for a (great) shot himself. They didn’t give up on those plays, did a bit of getting to the difficult areas, and pushed and made the most of what they were given.

The problem, of course, is that these types of efforts were relatively few and far between, as we alluded to in our section on the overall shot share. We liked the efforts on those two goals and we’re glad van Riemsdyk and Attard were rewarded for their efforts, but we need to see a lot more of that type of work.

Another fine night for Martin Jones

The Flyers certainly did not have an easy task ahead of them last night, facing off of one of both the top scoring and top shot generating offenses in the league, and that meant things were going to be interesting for Jones in particular. All things considered, it was a relatively quiet night for Jones, as he faced 28 shots in total and just six high danger shots, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy one either. Four goals against and an .857 save percentage might not scream “he did just fine,” but Jones’s individual play was indeed just fine, he was steady enough on his own, but once again, the defense breaking down in front of him didn’t offer him a whole lot of help (more on that later). His play wasn’t strong enough the steal the game for the Flyers, but we also really aren’t coming away from this one with any real complaints about Jones’s play either. He’s stepping up well in Carter Hart’s absence, and it’s a shame he isn’t getting the results to better reward him for that.

Let’s have a laugh

We kind of went in on Yandle for his line change snafu on Sunday, and we’re a little sorry to follow that up by dunking on him again here, but we simply cannot resist it here. We need the laughs. Just look at the defense on this goal.

Experience Philadelphia Flyers Hockey.