The Philadelphia Flyers lack killer instinct


It’s no secret, the Flyers have a hard time keeping their foot down when they have a lead. It’s not something new, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

As recent as the game against San Jose, the Flyers held a 3-2 lead heading into the final period of the game. In typical Flyer fashion, they allowed Joe Thornton to waltz right into their zone and wrist one past Calvin Pickard to tie things up. Timo Meier would later score the game winning goal in overtime for the Sharks.

The Flyers lack killer instinct. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Killer Instinct is defined as “a way of behaving in order to achieve an advantage for yourself without considering or worrying if it hurts other people.” The Flyers don’t need to worry about their opponents scoring if they are piling up goals for themselves. It’s as simple as that.

Too often have the Flyers let games slip through their fingers. Earlier this year against the Florida Panthers, the Flyers trailed 1-0 after the first period. During the second period, Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal, and Claude Giroux all scored in succession. Following the Flyers 3 consecutive goals, Florida added one. After Florida made it 3-2, Simmonds and Giroux tallied one more each, making it 5-2, and Mike Hoffman capped off the scoring in the second period, making it 5-3 Flyers after two.

The Flyers went on to allow two more goals in the last period of the game, leading them to overtime. Luckily, the Flyers pulled it of in a shootout, which is rare for the orange and black, but it’s just another instance of the Flyers not having enough to put away a team in regulation.

Against Columbus earlier this season, the Flyers led 2-1 after the first period. After the second period horn had blown, the Flyers were trailing 4-2. The Flyers added one more goal in the third, but also allowed two more to Columbus, losing the contest 6-3. Another instance where the Flyers had a lead, and blew it down the stretch because they just didn’t have that killer instinct it takes to step on the throat of an opponent and take the game when they can.

This may seem like a problem the Flyers just started encountering, but it’s been happening a good bit under current head coach Dave Hakstol.

October 7th of last season saw the Flyers blow a 2-1 lead in the third against the Anaheim Ducks, but pull it off in overtime thanks to Wayne Simmonds. Three days later saw the Flyers claw back from 3 goals down, take a 5-3 lead in the third period, only to allow 3 goals to the Nashville Predators in the last 13 minutes of the game, the last one coming with :36 left in the game.

Fast forward to the month of November, the Flyers held a 2-0 lead over the Winnipeg Jets after the first period. The Jets went on to score a goal in each of the remaining periods to even things up, and then won the game in a shootout. Two days later, the Flyers lead the Calgary Flames 3-1 at the end of the first period. Calgary tied it up in the 2nd, but the Flyers added one more to retake the lead. Before the end of the second period, the Flames tally one more to tie the game at 4. The third comes and goes with no scoring, and the Flames take the contest in overtime.

Too many times, fans have seen the Flyers squander leads because of the safe style of hockey they play when they have the lead. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, because it rarely works to their advantage. If the Flyers hope to contend this year, they’re going to need to understand that when they have a lead late in the game, they need to keep their foot down instead of riding it out in neutral.


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports