Nothing changed during last night’s finale of a Home-and-Home series against the Ottawa Senators.
With just 1:11 left in the third, Filip Kuba took a shot from the point that changed direction and went passed Bryzgalov. That was the 2nd time that game that a Sens goal went off a Flyers’ stick. However, the Flyers had plenty of chances to take command of the game, but failed to cash in on special teams. The Flyers went 1 for 6 on the Power Play.
The other thing that may have cost the Flyers some chances was the return of Jagr. Normally that would be a good thing, but Jagr didn’t look the same. It appeared he was favoring some sort of injury which was probably his groin. Jagr, who doesn’t like to miss much time, only missed two games which is really not typical for a groin injury. Most Groin injuries take at least 10-14 days to heal and that’s if it’s not serious. Groin injuries could actually take months to heal and may require surgery if it’s the worst case scenario. (See Briere three years ago.)
The Flyers are struggling to stay consistent since their seven game win streak last month. At first, the Flyers reacted well to the news of losing team captain, Chris Pronger but now I think the absence is catching up to them. Since December 17, the Flyers have gone 5-6-1. Not great numbers if your team has players named; Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Flyers Defense seems lost. I don’t think it’s the talent we have because the Flyers on paper have one of the deepest Defenses in the NHL. I think it’s the direction that’s causing the Flyers’ D to loosen their ends. Kimmo Timmonen is the leader of the Defense right now. Kimmo needs to band this defense together and get them going. Matt Carle and Brayden Coburn tend to disappear in some games which are causing them issues. Coburn and Carle are turning over the puck in the defensive zone with failed clears or lapse in communication and it’s costing them. Marc-Andre Burdon turned over the puck in the game against Chicago. He was being pressured and attempted a pass but it landed right on the tape of a Blackhawk and led to the game tying goal.
The Defense needs to look up first before they pass. A lot of blind passes are happening and it’s not working. The Defense needs to slow the pace down and look around. If they don’t find any options and are being pressured, the need to just get rid of it. Let me clarify; don’t attempt to carry the puck through a man, or pass it when being pressured. Flipping it out of the zone is the safest choice. Turnovers on the defensive are leading to too many goals.
The other issue with the Flyers that could be costing them would be their discipline. The Flyers are currently number one in PIMs in the NHL. 200 of their 240 penalties are minors. Their PK ranks at 16th with 82.5%. This is disastrous. The Flyers can’t afford to be spending time on the PK and using energy night in and night out not only on the PK but on the attack if they’re playing “catch-up.”
Down the stretch the Flyers need to establish some consistency with the defense, limit their penalties and rest some key players. The Flyers have a good checking line to keep the puck in the zone and help wear down their opponents, but they won’t be on the ice if the Flyers are trailing. This also makes their stars more vulnerable to injuries. The Flyers cannot afford any more injuries to the defense.
Even though I believe the Flyers have plenty of depth with the defense I expect them to make a move within the next month. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens due to the cap and certain players playing very well. Last year Hartnell would have been trade bait but since he’s become the 2nd player in points on the team and a very valuable asset to the “G” line, I don’t see him going anywhere. (He also has a NTC.)
Homer is a hard GM to read. Nobody thought he’d move Mike Richards or Jeff Carter especially after signing him to an 11 year contract. Unless the Flyers find consistency, someone is going to be brought in. I know the Flyers faithful are shouting for Shea Weber. Can we bring another big name in? Time will tell. The Flyers are in full control of their destiny.
Which two teams opened the 1997-98 regular season, with a two-game series in Tokyo Japan?