Will the real Philadelphia Flyers please stand up? For real now…we’re waiting. The orange and black are trying to rewrite the script of inconsistency, with rallying for their second straight victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday Night.
The Flyers are searching for more consistency. From a two game losing streak, to a two game winning streak. There were multiple reasons for this losing streak. Most notably the leaky defense, the horrid penalty killing, and Goaltending. It might be a tough stretch with some playoff caliber teams from last year, but they have to find a way to close out games with a full 60 minute effort.
“Yup, we played a full game there. It was definitely to build off for us, it’s good to see everyone in the game and all four lines were going, too, tonight,” Konecny said following the 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils this past Saturday. “I feel like other than the little mistakes we’ve been pretty solid defensively. We’re in the right positions, just bounces haven’t been going our way, little things like that. I feel like we played a pretty solid game back there, our D core was unbelievable, our forwards were getting in lanes and not giving them opportunities to get pucks to the net. We did all the right things tonight.”
Whatever the rhyme or reason for the extra jump in the Flyers legs. The orange and black came out of the gate well, against an Avalanche team that was second in the Central Division to the Nashville Predators before play began. However, Brian Elliott did all he could to keep his team in it, as he backstopped 29 saves in the 4-1 loss. The loss prevents the Flyers from achieving their first winning streak on the young season. Without further delay, here are our three observations from a tough defeat for the orange and black.
COL– PPG Rantanen (3) 3:23- assists MacKinnon, Landeskog
Col– Nieto (1) 14:54- assists Calvert, Soderberg
Col- Landeskog (8) 2:25- Unassisted
Phi- Patrick (2) 3:26- assists Sanheim, Voracek
Col- Rantanen (4) 18:45- Unassisted
How about Sanheim?
Sanheim has been one of the most consistent Flyers Defenseman on this young season. He has been working hard on Gap control, and it has been evident in his play as of late. Sanheim tallied 1 assist, was a plus 1, and finished with a season high 20:09 of ice time on the night for the orange and black.
This young stud in Sanheim was electric from the drop of the puck, to the end of game. He’s so fast, but his vision of the ice is impeccable. Sanheim took the 2nd shot of the game for the Flyers, a wrister that was a tester for Semyon Varlamov. It just shows his awareness, and it happened to be the first scoring chance for the orange and black on the night. Moreover, Sanheim had a great stick on an end around behind the Flyers net early in the second period, that spelt trouble with one Avalanche player open in the slot. He just looks more defensively sound this season.
Sanheim is happy he’s being trusted more, but he says he wants to capitalize on every opportunity he gets, “Yeah, I think, obviously the offensive part of my game is something that I kind of relied upon, especially when were down in that situation, put in those minutes and playing a lot so obviously I want to be in that situation, you just gotta try to capitalize when you get those opportunities.”
Special Teams Outage
The Flyers power play, or power outage continued today against the Avalanche. They were 0-3 on the PP with just seven shots on net. Moreover, the orange and black came into the game with just a measley 6 PP goals for, and a Power Play Percentage rate of 19.4%, which was good enough for 18th best in the NHL. It appears the players clutch their sticks, or try to look for that great pass that isn’t there. One suggestion to reignite this power play is to just shoot the biscuit on net. Take the shot when its afforded, and keep it simple. You never know what could happen.
Penalty Kill? What Penalty Kill? The Flyers entered Monday’s contest with an atrocious Penalty Killing rate of 70%, which was good for 29th best in the NHL. It appears they just sit back and eat bon-bons, while being a man down. I have written many articles on this very topic in the off-season, and it appears I will have to do another one. What will it take for ALL of our players to attack, and be aggressive while being shorthanded, as opposed to sitting back trying to block a shot. What’s even more mind boggling is that in all actuality our players are screening our Goaltender in the process. Atttttack gosh darn it, make some of these players earn their space. Use gap control while being shorthanded.
It’s so frustrating to see this good team in the Avalanche with lethal players, such as Nathan Mckinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog be given all this space to create. What are they going to do 9 times out of 10? Put the biscuit in the basket, and they did just that while going 1-2 on the Power Play for the night.
Following game Head Coach Dave hakstol had this to say on the PK last night, when I asked him if he would switch the attack style defense, “You’re not going to pressure the PK in the zone. We made a mistake on the broken play, it’s the third puck coming to the slot and instead of collapsing to the net, our top PK’er stayed out five to eight feet too high, and that’s the difference and that [the puck] goes in the back of the net.”
Elliott entered the day with his cards stacked against him to perform up to the standards of beating a well coached team in the Avalanche. However, he was flat-out dialed in from the start. During the pre-game warm ups, the Flyers Forwards and Defense fired about 10 shots to the glove side of Elliott. Practicing with his glove hand paid off in a big way, as Elliott made about seven saves with his glove hand throughout the course of the game.
The steady netminder in Elliott entered the game with a paltry 2-3-0 record, 3.69 GAA, and .878 Save Percentage. He had to be a factor in today’s contest in order for the Flyers to start a good streak. Well, Elliott did all he could to keep his team on it by back stopping 29 big saves, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the loss.
The injury bug continues to bite this team. Michael Raffl injured his left leg in the second period, and couldn’t put any pressure on it as he left the ice. He did not return to action.
Let’s hope the Flyers are able to build off this game, as they visit another tough team in the Boston Bruins on Thursday in a 7 pm tilt. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports