Flyers need to break the cycle in order to keep Stanley Cup hopes alive

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The Flyers may well have been the NHL’s hottest team heading into the playoffs, but they’ve been playing with fire ever since. A failure to bring a full 60-minutes to the table has cost them once again, with the Isles taking a 2-1 series lead after a victory that saw the Flyers burnout following an early goal. Where they go from here, is all up to them.

A cruel blow

This was the first time this postseason the team had lost despite scoring first. They were previously 8-0 when that had happened. New York aren’t a team to get complacent with, and Trotz had his men giving t the Flyers everything they had all afternoon – which is more than can be said for a Flyers team who looked sloppy in places.

The first period was exceptional and headlined by a Tyler Pitlick goal. The former Dallas was truly a ‘star’ last night, stepping up to the plate as once again, the top line struggled to get things going. But even he was left scratching his head at what exactly is causing this glitch in the Matric.

“I think they just get wheeling around a little out there.” He said after the game. “I think we’ve done a decent job keeping them to the outside, getting blocks and doing some stuff there. We got to play our game. We need to make the five-foot passes and get out of their zone chips. Just got to play our game and go north. When we get going, get behind their D and get on them, we’re good. We had some stretches in the game where we were wearing them out a bit, but we didn’t do it enough.”

When silly error at the end of the second allowed the Isles to take the lead after an earlier equalizer, things looked bleak. Defensively, the team were struggling, and offensively, it was simply disjointed.

But hope remains

“I don’t have a straight answer for you, but it’s something we have been talking about it.” Claude Giroux said after the game when asked about the underlying issue behind incomplete performances. “Obviously tomorrow, before the next game, we’re going to look at some clips and know what we have to do to keep that momentum. When we are playing our best, I think we are a hard team to beat. We just got to be able to do that for sixty minutes.”

He’s not wrong. When coming off of a loss, the Flyers are 11-0. The team clearly know they can turn it on and seem to so at the push of a button. This can only breed confidence that in sticky situations like this, they’ll be well-equipped to dig themselves out.

“I think that’s really important to be able to have a good response when you are facing these situations and that adversity.” Winger James Van Riemsdyk explained. “Obviously in the playoffs, it’s really important because the momentum swings can be huge. We want to make sure we have a strong game tomorrow night. We’ve had some good responses. We’ll just have to continue to stick to that. That’s what we have been doing for a good stretch now.”

There’s no time to sit on a lackadaisical performance where wind was visibly knocked from the sails. The Flyers have to do what they’ve done fro months – get back up, go again, and punch back harder. Doing this would get them back to a level playing field once again, but this can’t go on. Sooner or later, they’re going to have to put in a full 60-minute effort. They’ll need to do it on back-to-back nights and put a nail in the coffin. If they don’t, the hunter may well be becoming the hunted.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre