Of all the games on the NHL slate today, the Philadelphia Flyers faced the fiercest odds at the underdogs. On the road against the best team in the league, winning was a long shot.
The Carolina Hurricanes won their fourth straight today, 3-1 on home ice. They extend their point streak at home to thirteen games. On the other end of the spectrum, the Flyers lost their eleventh in a row on the road.
Philadelphia couldn’t dominate a period outright. Still, the score was tied, 1-1, heading into the third period. A part of the identity of the Flyers this season is the inability to win close games. Despite hanging in with the NHL’s best, the final three began the unraveling.
“It’s good for us to play in these games, to learn how to win. We have to really embrace playing in hard hockey games, and I thought for the most part we did that. Our guys responded to the other team scoring first, we really responded to the disallowed goal, and unfortunately we just didn’t get it done.”Mike Yeo; 3/12/2022
Here are some observations from today’s 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes:
Martin Jones (+)
Occupying the crease ahead of tomorrow’s home game was Martin Jones.
In addition to a powerplay opportunity, the Carolina Hurricanes totaled more shots in the first period than the Philadelphia Flyers. Nonetheless, Jones turned all of them away.
During the second period, both teams found themselves in a 4v4 scenario. The Flyers had a powerplay chance, but it lasted for nine seconds. Kevin Hayes was penalized as his powerplay unit pressured the slot, leaving a residual man-advantage for the Hurricanes. Andrei Svechnikov had two breakaways. Finally, Derek Stepan fooled Jones with a tricky pass to Steven Lorentz, who converted on an open net during five-on-five hockey.
The other goal surrendered by Jones came on a deflection. Jordan Martinook deflected a shot by Vincent Trocheck at the point. A failed clear forced by Ian Cole sealing the boards kept the attack in the offensive zone. Jones battled the best he could, but Carolina eventually wore him down.
Everything about his performance was stable. Ahead of the trade deadline, Jones represents value to a team that needs a goaltender. Perhaps he will be dealt to create cap space or for a draft pick between the fifth and seventh rounds.
Bully Brassard (+)
Derick Brassard stormed the gates with Cam Atkinson, but the goal didn’t count because of goaltender interference. Atkinson, then, made a heads-up play, short-hopping the puck off Andersen. Brassard finished, scoring off the rebound to tie the game, 1-1. The shift between these two players, unwavering from a waved-off goal, was remarkable. In the second period, Brassard and Atkinson were undeniable.
It was also a milestone goal for Brassard. The 200th of his NHL career.
The assertiveness and heat Brassard brought to his game today was deserving of his placement ahead of Morgan Frost. Many questioned if playing Brassard, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, made sense instead of Frost, a pending restricted free agent. To Mike Yeo, it does; he’s auditioning for an NHL coaching job. For franchise longevity, Frost makes sense unless he’s due to be moved at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.
“I thought his first two periods were real good. In the third period, maybe it slipped off a little bit, and that’s just learning how to play in these tough games. You have to want to be in that moment; you can’t be afraid of making a mistake, you can’t be afraid of things not working out. You have to really embrace it. It’ll be a good building block for him as far as how he played in the first two periods and a learning experience to make sure he’ll continue to do that.”Mike Yeo; 3/12/2022
Brassard had a milestone day, as did a former teammate of his, Stepan, who notched his 500th point in his 700th NHL game.
Is Philadelphia Right for Provorov? (-)
Winning and losing is a team effort. Yeo has to face press conferences every night with whoever was the starting goaltender for the game. Carter Hart, Jones, and Yeo had to face the music all season long, like the professionals they are.
There was this one time. Ivan Provorov departed from a press conference after fielding one question, remarking that it was a “waste of time,” to put it mildly. Some of that reminded us of Shayne Gostisbehere towards the end of 2020-2021, where he began to lose his cool. Frustrated about the season, it’s bleeding off the ice.
Following a loss to the Minnesota Wild, Yeo spoke about how Provorov is handling losing. He said that Provorov is a better player than he shows, but like the team did that night, he contributes to crumbling at the sight of adversity.
The future is looking bleak for Provorov, a core member of the defense, and it may be time for Chuck Fletcher to consider moving him if his development continues to regress at the rate it is.
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)