Points of Contention: Thoughts After the Flyers Lose to Flames in Shootout


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If the Flyers want to be a playoff team this year they have to stop doing what they did against Calgary Saturday – and that’s giving up points.

The Flyers coughed up two third period leads and lost in a shootout 3-2 to Calgary at Wells Fargo Center. It was their league-leading eighth shootout this season and it was the eighth time in the last 12 games the Flyers played extra hockey.

Shootouts are always a game of chance, and one in which the Flyers historically have been terrible.

This year, they’ve been mediocre in them at best, going 3-5. That’s five points that they’ve missed out on because they lost a game that went to a shootout.

Looking at all five of those games this season, it’s hard to say the Flyers weren’t the better team in each game.

  • At Vancouver 10/12 – this was the Flyers first loss of the season, and the team played really well despite all the crazy travel. They hit the travel wall a few days later with back-to-back clunkers in Calgary and Edmonton, but this one was winnable.
  • Vs. Toronto 11/2 – The Flyers dominated this game, but couldn’t put away the struggling Leafs. If you remember, this is the one that went like 146 rounds in the shootout before the Flyers finally lost.
  • Vs. Washington 11/13 – This one is the only one that maybe you say, OK, they’re good with just getting one point. Carter Hart was great in regulation, especially in an awful first period. But the Flyers dominated the second period, part of the third and overtime. They had chances to win this game before the shootout, and didn’t.
  • Vs. New York Islanders 11/16 – The worst of the losses. The Flyers blew a 3-0 third period lead before dropping the game in the shootout. It made matters worse since it was a division game.
  • Vs. Calgary 11/23 – Blew two one-goal leads in the third period. Missed a number of chances earlier in the game, especially in a fantastic second period where the ice was tilted.

That’s five points the Flyers have given up that they probably shouldn’t have. At least four. right now they cling to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have a one point lead over Toronto and three points over Tampa, but the Lightning have three games in hand.

How much more comfortable would it be if the Flyers had a five or six-point cushion right now? That’s the difference all of these shootout losses are making.

So, why is it happening?

“That’s a good question,” said Jake Voracek, who scored his 200th career goal against Calgary. “I wish I had an answer to that, but I don’t. I don’t know. I don’t have that answer.”

The reality is the Flyers don’t score enough, especially at 5-on-5.

The guys who were carrying them early in the season have slowed up just a bit.

Oskar Lindblom, who has been surprisingly productive this season, leading the Flyers with nine goals so far, hasn’t scored a point in three straight games, the longest stretch of the season without a point, and he only has one goal in the last seven contests.

Travis Konecny, who leads the team in scoring with 23 points, hasn’t scored a goal in the last six games and has just one goal in the last nine contests.

The Flyers were relying on their power play to put up points for much of the season and still have a solid 20 percent success rate with the man advantage, but they are just 4-for-31 (12.9 percent) in their last nine games. The Flyers are 4-2-3 in those nine games with six of them going past regulation.

Alain Vigneault has juggled lines, trying to find combinations that will work at 5-on-5. He was reluctant to break up Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Konecny, but did so to try and get better balance throughout the lineup.

It has helped in the sense that Couturier’s line is still the best thing going with the Flyers forward group. Jake Voracek jumped up on that line and has played well there. Not just scoring a goal, but the trio did a masterful job of shutting down the Calgary top unit of Johnny Gaudreau-SeanMonahan-Elias Lindholm.

Yeah, Lindholm scored the tying goal in the waning minutes of regulation with the goalie pulled, but that was on a fortunate bounce off the end boards and not because of poor defense.

Claude Giroux has been a bit resurgent, moving back onto the left wing rather than playing center, but the Flyers aren’t getting much from their depth lines.

Kevin Hayes has goals in the last two games, but one was an empty net goal and the other one was as well, although the goalie was on the ice:

He’ll take this goal, but he still needs to be more productive.

James van Riemsdyk continues to be snake bitten from counting stats and has been relegated to the fourth line, but he still drives play really well and against the Flames he was the Flyers best play driver, with a Corsi For percentage of 76.92 (according to NaturalStatTrick.com).

And yet… the goals just aren’t there.

In 12 games in November so far, the Flyers have scored four-plus goals just three times, have scored exactly three goals five times, and have two or less four times. The Flyers are averaging 3.04 goals per game this season. That’s 15th out of 31 in the NHL, or smack dab in the middle. Their goal differential this season is minus-1. They’re one game under .500 when looking at winning percentage. They are battling for the final playoff spot.

It all adds up. They are exactly what they are. They aren’t under-performing. They aren’t playing beyond their talent. They are better than they’ve been in previous seasons because they are more consistent, but they are still in the realm of mediocre.

All the kids the fans have been clamoring for are here. Carter Hart. Phil Myers. Joel Farabee. Morgan Frost.

As their slogan suggests, the Flyers are going to Fly or Die with this group this season. Every game though seems to be a total toss up.

Thoughts on the benching of Shayne Gostisbehere

It’s about time.

The Flyers have not been happy with his play for close to a calendar year. The talk last year about moving on from him was very real. It probably would have happened over the summer were it not for the uncertainty of the Ivan Provorov contract situation.

Now, not only is he a liability in his own end, but he’s not even doing the things he used to do well offensively.

The translation here is Vigneault is willing to deal with the defensive deficiencies of Gostisbehere if he can fix himself as far as play-driving and chance generation.

But, if Gostisbehere can’t do that, then the Flyers are better off without him.

You know who had a really good game without Gostisbehere? Justin Braun.

Braun usually is dragged down by the pairing with Ghost as he’s not good enough to always cover for his partner. But, playing with Sanheim, who also had a strong game against Calgary, allowed Braun to be more reliable and play his position more naturally.

Braun’s Corsi For percentage at 5-on-5 was 70.37 – best among all Flyers defensemen. Sanheim was 66.67, tied for second with Provorov.

Braun has been a huge reason as to why the Flyers penalty kill has been among the very best in the NHL this season, but aside from that, he hasn’t looked great – until Saturday.

Gostisbehere may get back in the lineup because the third pairing of Phil Myers and Robert Hagg, while not bad defensively, really struggled to drive play, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Braun and Sanheim stay together.

Not only that, the Flyers may well be ready to move on from Gostisbehere, but his value is incredibly low at this point. The Flyers really need him to start playing and playing well enough for a stretch of games to either benefit their own product or to make him more attractive to other organizations. Either way, I think you’re looking at the top four being set right now and the bottom three going to be a bit of a rotation.

Did you notice…

  • Morgan Frost had a rough game. His turnover led to the the first Calgary goal:

and then he said he made the wrong choices on both 2-on-1 breaks he had – the first with Michael Raffl where he passed when he probably should have shot, and the second with Giroux where he shot and probably should have looked to pass. Frost was passed over to be used in overtime and the shootout. These games are going to happen. Don’t kill him, but don’t be surprised when they happen either.

  • Provorov, who has never missed a game, was questionable coming into this contest, but played through a lower body injury. He then took a shot off the leg that seemed to really hurt him. He played through it, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
  • Did anyone notice a play where Sanheim may have gotten hurt? There was talk swirling after the game that he may have gone in for x-rays, but I have not been able to confirm that yet. So, let me know if you saw something.
  • David Redditch was incredible in goal for the Flames. The Flyers could have won the game several times in regulation. Most notably right here:

  • Conversely, Calgary could have won here, so, call them even:





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18 Responses

    1. Relax, we have the goaltender of the future and a bunch of guys in the minors who are 2-3 years away.

      1. There’s nothing for me to “relax” about. We might as well be talking about the Wings or the Soul or the Union. This is an irrelevant team playing in an irrelevant league/sport. I’m merely calling what I (and everyone else) sees.

  1. Ghost has to go, has been brutal for over two years now. Flyers just are not as offensively skilled as other teams. Voracek is 30, but plays like he’s 40 most of the time. Giroux is still a good player but needs more help, Hayes and JVR are two spots on this roster that are killing this team. Both are overpaid slugs of shit. Lindblom and Konecny give the team the most juice when on the ice along with Frost who has looked ok. I’m all in favor of AV calling the vets out publicly

  2. Wentz is having his worst game ever. I say we get him 2 receivers next year, if he can’t get it done then…. get rid of him.

  3. Carson is bad em cay. He playing stink poop em cay. Now he has a bad hand em cay. He is taking a deuce in the urinal not funny em cay.

  4. Bwanks and Russ making mad money!! Eagles -1, great pick!!

    Can’t wait to hear erskin talk about how great Wentz is this week!

  5. Just saw Spuds walk behind D Gunn during the post game, Spuds def copped a feel, but you could see it in his face that he wasn’t impressed. He turned to the guy behind him and i believe he whispered the words “cornball brotha”

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