The Flyers entered their three-game, five-day road trip, sizzling hot. Philadelphia was clicking on all cylinders, winning six of their last seven and picking up points in 16 of their last 19 games. Sitting atop the top three in the Metropolitan division, an identity was quickly forming, and the Flyers looked unstoppable.
Playoffs were growing to be a lock and everything seemed to be going in the Flyer’s favor. The penalty kill had been unstoppable, and goals were coming from all four lines. Flyers fans had their playoff hopes high, except maybe for Philly Sports Network’s own Derrik Bobb.
Then, enter that road trip.
There was not much good to this road trip. The Flyers lost all three of their games, with an average goal differential of three. Philadelphia scored a total of five goals during the three games, while allowing a whopping 14.
In hindsight, the team, as you will see, was very shorthanded. This being said, one major positive of the team was that the rookies seemed to be fairing well. Now that about half of the forwards started the season in the AHL with the Phantoms, it was time to evaluate the depths of the Flyers’ farm system.
After calling up David Kase, the Flyers wound up having to bring up familiar faces Carson Twarynski and Nic Aube-Kubel (NAK). Kase played meaningful minutes for the first time in his career and brought a needed intensity along with Twarynski. Meanwhile, in his first big league game this season, NAK picked up his first career point, setting up Shayne Gostisbehere in the third period of the Winnipeg game.
The best way to sum this up is by simply one word:
Let’s look at the list of Flyers who have faced an injury in the recent weeks:
- Travis Konecny (out indefinitely, concussion)
- Oskar Lindblom (out for season, Ewing’s Sarcoma)
- Tyler Pitlick (out indefinitely, concussion)
- Scott Laughton (week-to-week, groin)
- Michael Raffl (out for 4 weeks, finger)
- Nolan Patrick (out indefinitely, migraine disorder)
Notice any trend within that list?
They’re all notable forwards, including Philadelphia’s two leading goal scorers. Their lineup for Sunday’s puck drop with Winnipeg was far from ideal:
First of all, the lines for Sunday were not only bad, but ugly also. Six of the forwards started in the AHL, and then Chris Stewart is a lineup plug here and there. We knew goal scoring was going to be a challenge for this road trip. The Flyers faced the 28th ranked defense in Minnesota, and only managed a mere 18 shots. Despite the offensive struggles, however, their defense and goaltending may have been worse.
It can be argued that part of the problem was the inability and lack of backchecking from the inexperienced forwards. A few things that won’t come up on the stat sheet is Phillipe Myers bad turnover leading to a goal, or the lack of man-on-man coverage in their own zone. Their defensive woes allowed 14 goals in a short three-game span.
One other ugly part of the weekend was rookie Joel Farabee. Despite standing up for teammate Matt Niskanen and fighting the much bigger Marcus Folignio, Farabee took it a little too far next.
In Sunday’s game against the Jets, Farabee charged after Mathieu Perreault very late.
This hit led to a five minute major and a game misconduct, where the Jets started a scoring parade of four unanswered goals in a five-minute span. To follow this up, his emotions getting the best of him is causing the NHL to review the hit, leading to a possible fine or suspension.
The Philadelphia Flyers return home for the majority of this week. With only three games from Sunday to Sunday, the Flyers need to take this time to regroup. Meet up with Lindblom, get a few practices in at Voorhees, and spend some time in their own homes.
Philadelphia hosts Anaheim on Tuesday and Buffalo on Thursday before heading up to Ottawa again on Saturday.