The Philadelphia Flyers capped off a miserable week with a 5-0 loss to the scorching hot Washington Capitals on Sunday. A 1-3-0 record for the week with the lone win being a shootout win at home against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flyers were outscored 19-9 while losing three more games on the road. Their record now stands at 22-18-6 as they cling to the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Although, Carolina (who are one point behind) have three games in hand while Ottawa (who are two behind the Flyers) have five games in hand.
The only positive for the week was the shootout win against the Canucks. The team overcame a one goal deficit on three different occasions with Brayden Schenn tying the game up early in the third period. Michal Neuvirth came in relief of Steve Mason and stopped all 14 of the shots he faced and the three Canuck attempts in the shootout to preserve the win.
Benching stud defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere against the Boston Bruins on Saturday for the second time this season made no sense. Everyone knows that he has struggled at times in his second season. He is a team worst -17, but has the coaching staff looked at the +/- for their “star” players? Wayne Simmonds is -16, Captain Claude Giroux and Schenn are -13 and Jake Voracek is -12.
And can someone explain how Andrew MacDonald and Michael Del Zotto always seem to get a pass? Del Zotto had six penalty minutes…in the first period against the Canucks, but he was in the lineup over the weekend.
The message is not getting through to Flyers like it did a year ago. The Flyers are a team in transition. A marginal playoff team in a division that is absolutely stacked with not just good, but very good teams. Last year’s playoff run was a gift as no one expected them to be there. The Flyers have had too many lackadaisical efforts this season. They simply do not show up. You cannot play 40 minutes of hockey and expect to win, especially the way the Flyers roster is currently constructed. The sad part is, they played 40 minutes, and were still losing. It is not only about the results, there have been too many ups and downs and the effort just isn’t there like it has been previously..and it starts with the head coach. He needs to find a way to get more out of this team.
It’s widely known that you cannot fire the team (Although many Flyers fans would love to do that right now). It was an unconventional hire when General Manager Ron Hextall brought in the former University of North Dakota head coach, but there seems to be something missing with this team this year. You can accept the results, but you do not have to accept the effort. Not only are they playing bad now, they are actually painful to watch at times. The Flyers are on their bye week and each and every player and coach needs to look in the mirror and decide who they want to be over the last 36 games of the season. The season is now officially on life support.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports