This pivotal stretch for the Philadelphia Flyers got off to a resounding thud. The New York Rangers give the Flyers problems regardless, and it’s rare for them to beat Henrik Lundquist anyway. Even so, this was not the way to start. It’s time to take a look at the Good, the bad and the Ugly from last night’s 5-2 loss.
The streak is over:
Jake Voracek finally got on the scoresheet, scoring twice including one on the power play. With 37 points in 40 games, Voracek leads the Flyers in scoring this year and has been fundamental in the teams Offensive success. But this was the first time that the 27-year old scored since the game against Dallas back in December. It was his 17th career game in which he scored at least two goals..and it’s easy to see why. Voracek had seven total shots in the loss, leading the team in that category.
The penalty killing was a perfect 1-1 (I’m not counting Brayden Schenn’s penalty to end the game). An area that has cost the team in recent weeks, the Flyers PK unit wasn’t overly active last night, but with 9:32 left in the first, the Flyers had to retain structure and stop things getting out of hand and surprisingly, the unit did just that.
Steve Mason is the number one goalie on this team. He has also played 21 of the last 23 games coming into this one. Michal Neuvirth had been out since early November and was activated. Why not play him? Remember last year when Mason put the Flyers on his back and willed them into the playoffs? What happened against the Capitals? Eventually fatigue sets in. I still wonder why Anthony Stolarz didn’t play more during he past 23 games.
Absolute lack of urgency:
The Flyers had lost four in a row, and six of seven overall going into the game. And after a scoreless first, they give up one in the second before absolutely imploding in the third. The team cannot continue to play from behind and expect to win in this league. They simply do not have the talent to eradicate a problem that has lingered for one season too many.
Opportunities are thinning:
All the good feelings that arose during their 10 game winning streak is now ancient history. The Flyers have now lost seven of eight and the road is only going to get tougher. They have 11 games left in January and all but one is against a conference opponent. Meaning yes, they are four point games. Especially since the Flyers have played more games than anyone who is chasing them.
The Flyers were a marginal potential playoff team going into the season. If they continue to play the way they have been, it’s going to be a longer summer than anticipated for the orange and black.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports