Five Flyers Observations: It can’t get any worse…can it?

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The Flyers couldn’t have gotten a better start then they did tonight.  Just 48 seconds into the game, Claude Giroux put home a slam dunk to take an early lead. Giroux was set up beautifully by a cross ice pass from Jake Voracek.

However, from that point on, the Flyers went mute. How can a team, riding an 8-game losing streak, get a great momentous start and still lose? Well, that is something the Flyers have no problem doing.

Last night wasn’t another blown 2-goal lead, but it surely felt like it. The Flyers lacked energy after that great start, something that showed on the ice and on the stat sheet.

The Flyers outshot the Sharks 5-2 in the first five minutes of the game. San Jose outshot the Flyers 32 to 18 for the rest of the night.

However, the real viewpoint came when the Flyers put no effort out in the 3rd period.  Down by two, the Flyers never generated a scoring chance in the 3rd snd only had 5 shots on goal, 4 coming in last couple of minutes.

“A little bit of both. It’s not good enough.” Giroux said. “It doesn’t matter how the game goes, we need a better period. We just got to find a way.”

This team has gone from a playoff team to the bottom of the Metro in a matter of a month.

Here are 4 more observations from the Flyers 3-1 loss to the Sharks…

 

Player’s Closed Door Meeting
Directly after the game, just like every night, the media of both teams head down to the locker rooms to get post-game quotes from the players. Well, that was different last night. After their 9th straight loss, I guess the Flyers Captain and Alternate Captains had enough.

The door wasn’t open. You might have thought that it was the coaches having the talk with them. Instead, it was the players letting their frustration out.

“Well, we’re frustrated. The position we’re in right now is really frustration actually.” Giroux said, “It’s not the position that we thought we would be in right now. The only way to get out of it is to go back to work and grind it out a little bit more.”

The grind is something the Flyers have forgotten how to do and this meeting hopefully corrected that.

“That’s players showing leadership.” Hakstol said, “Like I just said, you go through hard times. You got to stick together, you gotta believe in the guys that are in that room and you gotta find a way. There’s no magic, nobody is gonna wave a magic wand and flip this. We gotta work our way out of it and that’s why I started off by saying, we got the group that can do it. There’s nothing that’s gonna be easy about it.”

 

Too Many Penalties
To no surprise, the Flyers were the more penalized team again tonight. The Flyers weren’t just taking penalties tonight. They were taking sloppy and horrible timing penalties.

The Flyers took two penalties tonight while on the powerplay and one on the penalty kill to fall to a 5 on 3. This sloppiness and untimely penalties, caused the Flyers headaches. To make matters worse, San Jose capitalized on two of those opportunities.  The ultimate difference in the game.

“I thought tonight was a combination of careless sticks and I call them some tired penalties, instead of moving our feet and getting into better position.” Hakstol said. “A couple of them were, I think one of the ones on the PP towards the end, Simmer’s penalty. It was an effort penalty and we end of negating the final, probably 20 seconds of that power play. But, I thought we had some penalties tonight where we were sloppy with our sticks and or a combination of what looked to me like tired penalties.”

 

“Fire Hakstol” Chants
Throughout the game, you could hear the rumblings in the crowd, “Fire Hakstol”.  However, it got worse in the 3rd period when the remaining crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, got one chant together and you could hear it loud and clear.

This is just a gut reaction from the fans pointing the blame to one person but this is not on him. The issue is a team effort that has not been there over the 9-game losing streak.

“It’s the players. We know it’s us. He doesn’t play the game.” Gostisbehere said. “We do. We know that. Quite frankly, I feel sorry. We’re the ones out there playing the game. We’re the ones out there putting the effort in and it’s not good enough.” 

“They can chant whatever they want, we’re in this together,” Giroux said, “We’re all in the same boat here. It’s not on him, it’s on everybody.”

The statements from Gostisbehere and Giroux cannot be more true. The players play the game and all Hakstol does is coach.  Yes, the coaching needs to be better. But, the players have to play to their best abilities on a night in and night out basis.

“Nobody said this was going to be easy. If you don’t want to be in this spot, that’s a choice.” Hakstol said. That’s how I react to it. There’s high expectations in this market and we have maybe the best fans in the National Hockey League and they’re full of value for having expectations. As I said, nobody said you go through hard times, nobody said that’s going to be easy. You better be able to stand up and handle that.”

 

A Month To Forget
With the 3-1 loss tonight to the Sharks, it capped off just a horrible month of November for the Flyers. After starting the season so well, the Flyers sat in a playoff spot at the end of October. Now, they sit last in the metro and 6 points out of a playoff spot.

What went wrong? The Flyers forgot how to play with a lead. During the month of November, the Flyers gave up 2-goal leads in four games and blew late 1 goal leads in six games. These stats are the reason the Flyers want to forget about November and move on.

The month of November, where the Flyers ended the month on a  9-game losing streak, couldn’t have came to an end any faster. A month riddled by poor play, blown leads, and injuries has sunk the Flyers to the bottom of the Metro Division.

However, things can only go up from here for the Flyers because they have already hit rock bottom. Something many Flyers fans didn’t see happening after a great month of October and start to the season.

Result : Flyers 1 – Sharks 3 Loss

Record : 8 – 10 – 7

Next Game : 12/2 Boston Bruins, Philadelphia PA

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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