The Philadelphia Flyers ended their two-game set in Florida with a disappointing loss to the Panthers. They were able to hang on for a point in a wild shootout loss on Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t scratch out another one on Sunday afternoon.
Defensive miscues and turnovers ended up costing the Flyers, who couldn’t solve Roberto Luongo until late in the third period.
Here are five storylines from the Flyers’ 4-1 loss to the Panthers.
Oduya struggles, injured in Flyers debut
Johnny Oduya’s first game in orange and black was not one to remember. In fact, it was one to forget. The 36 year-old defenseman looked every bit his age as he filled in for the injured Andrew MacDonald, who was ruled day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Oduya was the Flyers’ worst defenseman on the ice, and to cap it off he got injured himself in the latter half of the game. He took a hard hit late in the second period and played just one nine-second shift in the third period. He was on pace to play about 18 minutes after playing 5:56 in the first period and 6:17 in the second period, but that was cut short.
The injury was the low point in a day full of lows for Oduya. He had the worst corsi for (33.33%), scoring chances for (30%), and expected goals for (22.97%) of all Flyers at 5v5 play. On top of that he got burnt by Aleksander Barkov on the first goal. He failed to get in the lane or break up the pass, allowing Barkov to walk in alone for a breakaway goal.
Oduya did not make a great first impression with the Flyers. He left the game walking “gingerly” according to reports, and is questionable to play on Wednesday.
If Oduya can’t go on Wednesday, and MacDonald is still out, we could see Travis Sanheim get the call. However, if at least one of Oduya or MacDonald can play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Flyers not make a move for a seventh defenseman, or just call up someone like Will O’Neill.
Leier benched after turnover
It seemed like all four of the Panthers’ goals were scored rather quickly. Barkov’s breakaway goal came out of nowhere off the rush, Evgenii Dadonov’s first goal (that should’ve been stopped) was off a long pass after some good offensive zone time by the Flyers, and his second one was in transition as well.
Taylor Leier entered the offensive zone on the left wing with Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton joining him from the bench on the right side of the ice. Leier could’ve sent the puck in deep to where Laughton would’ve been able to retreive it, but instead he attempted a backhand pass into the middle of the ice. His pass was deflected, bounced over the stick of Raffl, and sent the Panthers the other way. Barkov quickly got the puck up to Dadonov, who unleashed another quick shot for his second goal of the game and a 3-0 lead.
Getting pucks in deep is an old and tired cliché at times, but plays like that are exactly why people harp on it. Leier made a riskier play to pass the puck into the middle of the ice, and it cost him. He paid for it not only with the goal against, but he was also benched for the rest of the game.
The NHL time on ice report has him taking one four-second shift in the third period, but I’m pretty sure they mistakenly had someone on the ice as him. The Flyers’ bench isn’t in screen for the four seconds he is apparently on the ice, from 15:47 left to 15:43 left, but you can see Scott Laughton (#20) and Michael Raffl (#12) on the ice during that, with Jake Voracek coming into the frame a few seconds later.
Leier played less than four and a half minutes in the game. He had been a healthy scratch for a decent stretch prior to returning to the lineup recently, but it looks like he could find himself there again.
He has been a good checking winger with speed, but turnovers like these could cost him his spot in the lineup, at least for a game.
Penalties disrupt Flyers’ flow
After allowing just eight power plays against in their previous eight games, the Flyers found themselves shorthanded five times against the Panthers as they lost their discipline in the second half of a back-to-back. Lazy penalties like slashing, hooking, and high-sticking gave the Panthers the majority of their power plays.
The Flyers were able to kill off four of the five power plays, but the penalties disrupted the flow of the game. They were shorthanded twice in the first period, twice in the second period, and once in the third period. The Flyers also had two power plays of their own, one in the first period and one in the third with the game out of reach, and they were unable to do anything with them despite a handful of shots on goal.
Slowing down the game could be a good thing at times, but it seemed to do more harm than good for the Flyers in Florida.
Mrazek loses goaltending battle again
For the second time in as many days Petr Mrazek lost a goaltending battle. On Saturday he was simply outplayed by one of the best goalies in the league, despite both netminders giving up a few soft goals. But on Sunday it was all on Mrazek.
Mrazek can’t be blamed for all four goals against, as his defensemen hung him out to try a bit, but he should’ve stopped at least one or two of them. Barkov’s goal was a great move, so you can’t fault him there, but both of Dadonov’s goals were stoppable.
Dadonov’s first goal was particularly stoppable, and Mrazek seemed to know it based off how he reacted. He was then beat again on a similar shot by Dadonov, albeit on a partial breakaway, and then another partial breakaway was put home by Jonathan Huberdeau. Radko Gudas got embarrassed on that last goal, but Mrazek overplayed the forehand shot and was completely opened up by Huberdeau for a five-hole goal.
Mrazek had a good start with the Flyers in his first few games, but he’s been a bit shaky recently. Hopefully he can take these two days off and return to form with another back-to-back set coming up this week.
One point in Florida
The good news is that the Flyers weren’t completely shutout in Florida. They left the two-game set with one point from a shootout loss in Tampa, before falling in regulation to the Panthers.
It’s not a point to particularly be happy about, since they should’ve had two against Tampa Bay, but grabbing one point keeps the Flyers away from a regulation losing streak and it keeps them afloat among the top three teams in the division.
The Flyers remain in second place in the division. They are two points behind Washington and one point ahead of Pittsburgh. Washington (at Anaheim on Tuesday) and Pittsburgh (vs. Calgary on Monday) will both be in action prior to the Flyers’ next game, which could be a playoff preview against the Penguins.
(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
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