The Philadelphia Flyers defensive struggles continue as they drop the second in as many games to the Boston Bruins in a 6-1 loss Saturday night.
The Flyers can’t seem to get out of their own way. Even though their record is RECORD, they continue to struggle defensively. They can’t seem to win many neutral zone battles or transition into the opposing team’s zone that well. This trend continued Saturday night in their 6-1 loss. The Flyers just continued to lose puck battles which is now making them lose games. This was the first truly disappointing loss of the season for Philly.
They did change up their lines a tad (see below), but they still failed to generate much offense for the majority of the game.
Flyers’ Struggles Continue
Let’s just summarize this period in three words:
Ten to four.
The Flyers were outshot significantly in this game early once again. After being outshot 14-3 in the first period in Thursday night’s shootout loss, the Bruins gained momentum early. This period started out slow, with hardly any shots in the first eight minutes of the game. In fact, the only shot on net recorded in the first half of the game was a Patrice Bergeron goal. Bergeron snuck one behind Carter Hart on the powerplay.
The Flyers defense looked… better in the first, but still not enough. Their offense continued to struggle in the shots department. It’s a good thing its quality, not quantity of shots that wins games, but they have to start shooting the puck to win. #Hockeyanalysis
The second period of this game was much better for Philadelphia. The Flyers started this period off on the right note. Jake Voracek continues his hot streak, setting up Kevin Hayes for a redirection goal just a minute into the period.
As the tweet alludes to though, the Flyers would quickly squander their momentum. Brand new Boston Bruin Craig Smith respond just about a minute later. Smith capitalized on a great pass by Charlie Coyle during a scrum out front.
Aside from the goal’s department, special teams continued to struggle for the Flyers in this one too. Claude Giroux drew the team’s first powerplay about midway through the period. It went to complete waste again, as the Flyers did not get more than a few seconds of constant possession in the Bruins’ zone. Nolan Patrick looked like he forgot how to stickhandle, turning the puck over at least three teams in the matter of 30 seconds in the neutral zone, then fanned on a shot.
After Kevin Hayes was taken down with no call made, the Bruins quickly capitalized. Charlie Coyle intelligently poked his stick forward and got some lucky elevation on the puck to sneak one past Hart.
The only three Flyers that looked like they wanted to play hockey during this period were Carter Hart, Jake Voracek and Kevin Hayes. Aside from their teamwork for a goal, those two created constant pressure all period. Carter Hart stood on his head for the most part as well, especially considering his lack of support defensively.
Coach Alain Vigneault did make some minor adjustments to his lines. However, they did not come across with better results.
Defensively, the Flyers looked better. It looked like their d-men began to play a bit more at home, and made some solid stick checks overall. The Bruins odd man rushes stayed down… until they didn’t.
Patrice Bergeron received a great outlet pass from his d-man, in which he missed the net. Erik Gustafsson then whiffed on an outlet pass, allowing Bergeron to make a stellar pass to Brad Marchand, who put it past Hart. Marchand extended his personal point streak against the Flyers to seven with this goal.
Quickly after this goal, Mark Friedman would pick up a penalty on a rookie mistake. He let his emotions get the best of him, leading to a poor unsportsmanlike conduct call. This led to another Brad Marchand goal on the powerplay. This was the one goal this game that Hart likely had the best chance of saving, but it was a great shot by Marchand nonetheless to score their second powerplay goal of the game.
The Flyers would draw a penalty again as Anders Bjork would get called for a hook eight minutes into the period. No surprise, but the Flyers did not capitalize here either. The only thing to come out of the powerplay was Travis Konecny taking a cross check to the back of the head, without a penalty being called.
You would think that the Flyers would stop taking penalties due to the Bruins’ success on the powerplay, but that would make too much sense. It just wasn’t the Flyers’ night. The Bruins would capitalize on a silly penalty taken by James van Riemsdyk quickly.
As for the rest of the game, the Flyers just couldn’t get much together. Not much physicality, offense, or defense. The only positive was how much chemistry Hayes and Voracek are generating recently. Just a collectively bad game for the orange and black.
In both of the games against the Bruins, the Flyers were simply the inferior team. Boston controlled the tempo and played with physicality, and Philly did not. However, the next matchup should be a prime chance for the Flyers to regroup and get back on the winning track. The Flyers will look to bounce back from their rough slate against the New Jersey Devils. Game one of that series will kick off Tuesday night at 7, with game two being Thursday at 7.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre