The Philadelphia Flyers were 1-1-1 heading into a crucial Metro Division matchup on Thursday night against the New York Islanders. They left the Wells Fargo Center 1-2-1 after a 3-1 loss at the hands of their division rival. Jason Chimera’s second period goal broke a 1-1 tie and Casey Cizikas added a third period marker to ice the game and send the Flyers reeling.
Coach Dave Hakstol finally inserted offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere back into the lineup and it paid immediate dividends, as he set up Wayne Simmonds power play goal in the first. The Flyers power play had been brutal with Gostisbehere out of the lineup. He provides speed, mobility and a lethal shot that few Flyers have.
Simmonds scored for the first time since January 26 against the Maple Leafs. After that, there was not much good that came out of this game.
Steve Mason was back in net for the first time since playing Carolina..and the rust showed. He had no chance on John Tavares’ goal in the first, but he looked out of position on both Chimera’s and Cizikas’ goals. Rust plays a part of it, but they are saves that you have to make when your team is not scoring goals and your long-term future could well be on the line.
The Flyers simply lacked Offensively again, one goal will simply not get it done. Yes, the Flyers did have 35 shots in the game but the orange and black simply cannot score. The loss of rookie Travis Konecney for the next month will make things even harder. He is one of the few offensive players who creates chances with his speed. Not one of the forwards put any fear into the Rangers defense on Thursday, a common theme as of late.
The Flyers wrap up this five game home stand on Saturday against the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks before heading out to Western Canada for three games in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. This critical five game stretch at home was a good measuring stick to see where the Flyers really were all about. What was discovered, was the team lacks offense as they have scored four goals in four games and are now outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall stated that “The sky is not falling.” The sky may not be falling, but the Flyers are free falling in the standings.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports