In 2022, Mike Yeo and the Philadelphia Flyers dropped fifteen decisions in the third period, including last night’s 4-2 fallout versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the third period, the Flyers were tied or ahead of their opponent in those fifteen losing decisions. Tomorrow will be the 71st game of the 2021-2022 NHL season for Philadelphia, who are still figuring out how to win.
“Sometimes you play better than the other team but don’t get the win. I think we still got to try to find a way to win. It’s the same story a lot this year.”Ivan Provorov; 4/5/2022
The Flyers cannot maintain a lead or pull away from their opponents when the game depends on it. They’re no clutch moments. We’ve heard the phrase, “learn how to win,” often enough from Yeo and his players. In the last five games, it’s happened three times. Philadelphia allowed four third period goals versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, squandered a three-goal lead against the New York Rangers, and lost a tied game last night to the Blue Jackets with 6:44 remaining in regulation.
Tomorrow, in the 71st game of the season, the Flyers visit Columbus. Martin Jones hopes to prevent the Blue Jackets from sweeping the season series.
Noah Cates (+)
When the Philadelphia Flyers did score, it was special. Noah Cates scored his first NHL goal off a delicious feed by Patrick Brown. Brown looked toward the slot from behind Elvis Merzlikins and found Cates, who had room to set and shoot. Cates remains impressive on the penalty kill and forecheck, earning his milestone.
“A moment I’ll never forget.”Noah Cates; 4/5/2022
His sample size is four games, but he’s exponentially improved each night. Cates averages .25P/60, which isn’t a bad start to an NHL career if he can maintain that rate.
Ronnie Attard (-)
Sitting next to Cates, Ronnie Attard said he nearly jumped “two feet in the air” when he watched Cates score. Attard notched his first career NHL point, too. He ripped from the blue line, and the puck deflected past Merzlikins. A primary apple for his first point.
“I stood up and saw him with his hands in the air. Good feeling.”Ronnie Attard; 4/5/2022
Attard was looking for James van Riemsdyk netfront. He knew that if van Riemsdyk was at his office, there was a high probability that traffic on the crease could account for a goal.
In three games, Attard played with Nick Seeler, Kevin Connauton, and Keith Yandle. None of those partners to Attard should be a Philadelphia Flyer next season. It’s tough to get an idea of what Attard brings to the table with three different partners in each game he’s played, especially when they’re trivial for the future.
Shot Quality and Pacing (+)
Merzlikins was the first star following the 4-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. Yeo gave him his flowers after the game:
“The whole story of this game was their goalie. To be honest with you, we should’ve had a pretty darn good lead after two periods, and when a goalie’s playing like that, it gives a team confidence.”Mike Yeo; 4/5/2022
He stopped 47/49 shots (95.9%SV.) The Flyers broke a team-high for the season in shot totals. To top that off, the quality of chances was high. Scott Laughton, Morgan Frost, Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, and Kevin Hayes all had moments to capitalize on a scoring chance, whether on the powerplay, from a rebound surrendered by Merzlikins, or a breakaway opportunity. The assessment Yeo provides of the first two periods is on the nose.
“First powerplay wasn’t good, but after that, we found a rhythm, got set up, had a bunch of looks, a bunch of shots on net, a few tips; just got to find a way to put the puck in the net.”Ivan Provorov; 4/5/2022
On the powerplay, Philadelphia seemed to improve as the night progressed. Though they finished 0/4 on the evening, the last two opportunities were littered with quality scoring chances. Hayes and Konecny both dinged a puck off the post, which shows the Flyers were inches away from a possible win. Nothing was stopping Merzlikins from earning that victory, even if it meant making 47 saves.
“We got to keep building on the positives. I think the quality of chances generated, the amount of puck possession we had tonight; those are all positives.”Mike Yeo; 4/5/2022
For two periods, Philadelphia dictated the pace of the game. Attard and Yandle had a tough evening, on the ice for most of the pivotal scoring by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Where there are things the Flyers need to fix, they’re uncovering silver linings along the way.
His line offered the most danger to Merzlikins in terms of xGF/60 advanced metrics. Joel Farabee, Frost, and Atkinson buzzed for the first two periods before everything fell out in the third. Frost is regaining his confidence in the NHL, but it needs to be more consistent:
“I thought he was buzzing for the first two periods, then in the third period, not that he was bad, but I would like to see that continued confidence. Nothing changes in that third period. Make sure you’re not afraid to make a mistake t the time and continue to go out there, look to dominate the way he was the first two periods.”Mike Yeo; 4/5/2022
Frost seemed to be inches away from scoring on a few occasions. He was on the ice for some of those pressure-sustaining powerplays, contributing to five shots with his powerplay unit. Since the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, he and Owen Tippett developed chemistry. They both had prime scoring chances last night and it’s worth seeing how they perform if on a line consistently.
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)