The Philadelphia Flyers were in an absolute must-win situation in Boston on Saturday afternoon. After splitting the first two games of their road trip, the Flyers needed at least a point in Beantown. Unfortunately a tough break in the final seconds cost them at least one point, if not two, in a crucial game.
Their playoff hopes aren’t completely dead, but it’ll take a miraculous run at this point.
The Flyers actually outplayed Boston in the first period, and then dominated the second, but it was special teams play early on that set the tone. The Flyers failed on a 5-on-3 chance, and then just minutes later the Bruins capitalized on their chance.
They pretty much controlled the second period, and got their only goal of the game (at 5v5 no less), but that lone goal was not enough.
In the third period the Flyers were fighting for their lives, and they put up a pathetic effort. The Bruins controlled the majority of the twenty minutes while the Flyers were playing to not lose. It was exactly the opposite of what you want to see from a team that was essentially playing for their season.
If they won the 20 minutes it would’ve been a huge four-point swing and got them back in the thick of things in the playoff race. However, they got completely outplayed and simply deserved to lose. The Bruins had more shots on goal (12) than the Flyers had shot attempts (four on goal, three missed, two blocked) in the final period. The Flyers were fighting for their season and that’s the effort they came up with.
Michael Del Zotto’s last shift was with 2:23 left in the third period, Gostisbehere’s was with 3:12 remaining. Why was Brandon Manning even on the ice?
It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but it’s almost fitting given how the season has gone so far.
- Travis Konecny finally got inserted back into the top-six as he was on the second line, with Brayden Schenn and Nick Cousins each sliding down a line.
- The top line continues to generate chances, and for the second straight game they scored a goal. Jordan Weal had a great first period, and it carried over to the beginning of the second. On his first shift he won two puck battles along the wall, got the puck to the point, and then found himself in front and the puck bounced to him from Wayne Simmonds for the tap-in. It was good to see them get on the scoresheet, but it would’ve been nicer to see Simmonds or Claude Giroux convert on the power play as well.
- Travis Konecny looked like he fit in just fine on the second line. He was helping generate chances throughout the first two periods of the game, and his speed was put to good use with Valtteri Filppula and Jake Voracek. Unfortunately it was his penalty that resulted in the Bruins’ first goal of the game, and the trio couldn’t make up for it.
- The third line had a decent game against the Bruins. Sean Couturier struggled on Thursday night after a string of good games, but he was able to play well at 5v5 against David Krejci and David Pastrnak. However, it was his lack of strength on the penalty kill in failing to tie up Krecji in front that resulted in the Bruins’ power play goal. The line looked good overall, but the few negatives overshadowed the positives since they couldn’t net a goal.
- The fourth line played pretty poorly in Boston, but luckily Dave Hakstol at least realized that and limited their ice time, especially in the third period. Even five minutes at even strength is five too many for Chris VandeVelde, who should be a healthy scratch in favor of Dale Weise or Roman Lyubimov, or countless AHL callups.
- Ivan Provorov played a good game against Boston. He was solid defensively and even had a few end-to-end rushes that created chances in a career-high 25:13 of ice time. But we can’t say the same about Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald was used and abused on Boston’s power play goal, and he looks lost on the ice at various times throughout the game.
- Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas continue to be a very solid middle-pair for the Flyers. They were the Flyers most consistent pair throughout the game, but they didn’t get the call when they needed it most. Brandon Manning was on the ice for the final goal, and he deflected it past Steve Mason as we all know, while Del Zotto was sitting on the bench. Del Zotto hadn’t played in over two minutes either, so he was fresh and would’ve been a much better choice than Manning for the waning seconds.
- Brandon Manning may have single-handedly ended the Flyers’ playoff hopes. It’s a slight exaggeration, but his horrible decision to try to block a shot with his stick in the final six seconds gave the Bruins the game. Hakstol is recognizing his incompetencies by limiting his ice time, but there is no reason for Manning to be on the ice in that situation. It was a bad play and a bad decision to have him on the ice in that situation.
The Flyers got to the front of the net, but Tuukka Rask is still a pretty good goaltender. They also had quite a few shots from the outside, however, which may have limited their chances.
The Flyers carried play through the first two periods to the tune of 35-24 in shot attempts, but a completely passive third period doomed them. Rather than going on the attack and dialing it up a notch, the Flyers sat back and waited for their fate.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick
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Sons of Penn Radio (January 23rd)
On this week of SOP Radio, we celebrate a thrilling overtime victory, discuss Dave Hakstol’s coaching decisions, and forecast potential trade opportunities and prospect development.