In the third period versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers fell apart. It ruined an otherwise well-contested battle between the two teams through two periods. After the 6-3 loss, the Flyers traveled to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers. The Rangers lost to Philadelphia in a shootout (of all the ways for the Philadelphia Flyers to win.)
Usually, it’s asked, “on the second of a back-to-back, did fatigue set in?” Instead, the Flyers defeated a division rival as dangerous as the Maple Leafs. Broad Street took over Broadway, 4-3.
Aside from wins and losses, there are a handful of critical talking points to discuss from this weekend:
Ronnie Attard (+)
Ronnie Attard had a mostly successful debut, though the final score was a 6-3 loss. At times, he squared up defensively to William Nylander, which is stellar for an NHL debut. Of course, the defense fell apart overall, but it was a collective collapse. Attard stood his ground alongside Nick Seeler, which is impressive.
Against the Maple Leafs, Attard had a shot on goal and notched powerplay minutes.
“I liked his assertiveness, his range, his stick; he looks like he’s willing to shoot the puck. I think it’s a good first game for him.”Mike Yeo; 4/2/2022
Attard continued on the powerplay against the New York Rangers. The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t convert a powerplay on either night, but he’s finding his rhythm in a new role.
“I think we saw some pretty key moments for all those guys; whether it’s Ronnie playing on the powerplay or Cates with the game on the line at the end of the game is out there killing penalties. You got Frosty, Yorky, and Tipper out there in a three-on-three situation against Panarin; those are some pretty good players. Some crucial experience for all those players.”Mike Yeo; 4/3/2022
Benching Yandle (-)
I understand the uneasiness to bench Keith Yandle, but we’re putting the NHL Ironman Streak on a pedestal.
Playing 989 games is not an easy accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination. In the same breath, Yandle probably should have been benched the night after he claimed the NHL Ironman record. Why? His performance didn’t merit that start. The Philadelphia Flyers did right by starting him consecutively to earn the streak in a lost season.
On the other hand, there was no harm in starting him next to Attard. Everyone knows what Nick Seeler and Kevin Connauton are. They’re expendable at the end of the season, even as a seventh defenseman, like Yandle.
Yandle could have reached a thousand consecutive games, but we all forget that Phil Kessel will overtake his streak anyway. The right move would have been to call Yegor Zamula and send down Connauton or Seeler. At least a prospect would have received more NHL ice time. That would have been “letting the kids play.”
Kevin Hayes disagreed with the decision. We all know he’s very great friends with Yandle, but he explained in detail, removing bias:
“The impact that Keith has on myself and the guys in that locker room is something that can’t be measured. I know sometimes the media’s all over him, but what he provides to some of these young guys on this team is something that no one else can do. I know he’s one of my best friends, but the way he goes about his everyday life is truly professional. He’s a role model for a lot of people. I think if you ask every person in that room what they think about Keith, you’re going to get a lot of positive feedback.Kevin Hayes; 4/2/2022
That guys’ been playing since 2009; he hasn’t missed a game since then. Shows up to the rink today; he’s the last guy to leave the rink. It’s something that he strives to be. He’s truly a professional human.”
Hollywood Hayes (+)
Ever since he returned to the lineup, Hayes looks like he’s returning to his 2019-2020 form. His fingerprints were on two of three scoring plays against the Toronto Maple Leafs, identifying both times with Ivan Provorov. Then, Hayes scored the game-winning shootout goal against his former team head-to-head with Igor Shesterkin.
“That was, for me, one of Hayesy’s better games that I’ve seen all year. [He was] just all over the ice.”Mike Yeo; 4/3/2022
Hayes has thirteen points (5G, 8A) in his last ten games, including the shootout game-winner. He’s making plays when he’s on the ice. Defensively, the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t reciprocating and protecting the production of their offense. Some of that does rest on Hayes’ shoulders, however.
“You always have to be trying to make something happen when you’re a player. You always have to be trying to create. You always have to be trying to generate momentum, generate scoring chances, but it has to be equally as important to make sure you’re not giving up those opportunities.”Mike Yeo; 4/2/2022
If you’re looking at analytics, Hayes has a 39.9%CF during even-strength hockey over his last ten games. He’s capitalizing and facilitating the offense, but the other part Yeo stresses are eating his game and the Flyers alive.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)