That’ll do it, folks. With last night’s ugly 3-0 loss to the Devils, the Flyers’ losing streak has hit the 10 game mark, something they’ve done for just the seventh time in franchise history.
And perhaps the worst part about this is that many of us came into this one with a bit of optimism. The last two games saw the Flyers take some steps forwards to have their offense look at least functional again. They were getting through the neutral zone more cleanly, getting a bit more from their forecheck, and showing a bit of creativity, and it all paid dividends on Monday, even if they didn’t come out with a win. And then they had a nice day off to reset after a crazy last two days, and it wasn’t crazy to hope that a bit of time to decompress paired with the bit of progress seen in the last two games would be enough for them to keep building. But instead they took several massive steps back in the opposite direction and wiped out all of that good work that they had done.
Keith Jones talked about this on the post-game show, and his points were pretty dead on: the worst park about this stretch is that you keep looking for bottom, you keep thinking they’ve hit it and then at least there’s nowhere to go but up, but they find a way to go lower.
The Flyers were shut out for the fourth time this season, and the second in this losing skid, and maybe it’s recency bias, but this might just be the ugliest of the bunch. The Flyers had almost nothing going offensively. They were out-shot at 5-on-5 23-21, but saw the disparity in chances generated really increase when we look at the more dangerous chances. They were out-chanced 24-11 in scoring chances and made it through most of the third period with exactly zero high danger chances at 5-on-5 (though they did manage to make it out of the game with four, by the end).
And the defense, too, was a bit of a mess last night, as we saw turnovers and breakdowns in coverage leading to chances and goals against, and still the team looked a little lost, like the hope was that backups in coverage would emerge but they never did. Mistakes happen (though more frequently than we would like here, still) but the support hasn’t been there either. Now, the defensive lapses we wouldn’t say are a step back, because the Flyers weren’t exactly clean in that area giving up seven goals in the two previous games, but at least in the last one the offense was going enough that we could come away feeling good about something, but that wasn’t the case last night.
There was a bit of good news in this one, and that is that after a pretty brutal showing that saw him allow five goals on 15 shots and then get pulled against the Lightning, Carter Hart really seemed to steady himself and responded well. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was still a good one, and he stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced, good for a .923 save percentage. The bad news remains that he didn’t get a ton of support in this one (which we know isn’t new), so that good work was wiped out to a degree, but it should still be acknowledged. The poor team result doesn’t change his good rebound.
But back to the big picture. Now, in fairness, we did not expect that Yeo was going to be able to completely turn this thing around in three days and with zero practices. That was not even remotely realistic, and it’s worth acknowledging. But what we were hoping for was to see them even remotely resemble the team we saw on Monday, with some jump and a bit of offensive creativity, and looking like they were at least trying to work together out there again. That the boost they got from having a new coach in place would carry them a little longer. That didn’t happen last night, and things got really ugly because of it. They just had absolutely nothing. To again echo a Keith Jones point from the broadcast, the team seems to be looking around for a teammate to make the right call or the right play but no one really seems willing to step up and help them make it. There’s so little cohesiveness happening as a team.
We knew that this team was going to have to put in some serious work in practice to right the ship, Yeo even said as much himself after Monday’s game, but last night’s showing was a pretty painful reminder of just how much work it’s actually going to take. Monday suggested that they might be closer to taking a significant step forward, but last night has us worried that it was a mirage all along.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick