Flyers-Blues: Postgame Review
If the games keep going the way Monday night's did, the Flyers will find themselves at the bottom of the league standings soon enough.
In a battle between two of the NHL's bottom five, the Flyers were the inferior team, making things rather easy for Jordan Binnington, the 25-year-old rookie making his first NHL start. The 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues was the team's seventh straight, and just another step to a forgettable season.
More in our Postgame Review.
- Quicksand - Wayne Simmonds said after the last loss that it feels like the Flyers are in quicksand and just keep sinking no matter how hard they try to get out. That looked very apparent in this game.It didn't seem like there was much try. The effort was pathetic, no energy whatsoever. The Blues didn't light things up by any stretch, but the Flyers played as uninspired as ever before. There was not a single player that could be pointed out as a positive in front of the goaltender -- more on him later.
This is the look of a team that knows the purge is coming. This is a team that knows it can't save the actions that will come no matter what they do. This will be a lost season for the Flyers, one where, yes, you can start thinking about draft picks long before you think about the next playoff game in Philadelphia.
And there's no signs that this will end any time soon. The Flyers play the Capitals, Stars and Devils this week. The Stars and Devils have gone through turmoil of their own, but given the state of the Flyers, it's rather unfair to judge. Once this week's slate of games is over, the Flyers will play the Wild, Bruins and Canadiens before getting the week-long bye and the All-Star break off from game action. If they had this much trouble with the Blues, I'm not sure there's a game where the end appears to be in sight.
- Puck Management - Sometimes you watch the Flyers play with the puck and think you are watching a minor-league game or worse. It's the type of stuff you see kids at the pee-wee level do on Saturday mornings, not NHLers who have previous playoff experience.The sloppy movement, the turnovers, the errant passes, it all screens a lack of focus and communication. There is so much wrong with this team on the surface and so many areas to fix that it is going to almost have to get worst before it starts to get better.
- Carter Hart - The lone bright spot of the game was the goaltender. Hart was excellent in the first period, making 13 saves, including a highlight-reel stop on Jaden Schwartz.The two goals Hart allowed to Brayden Schenn in the second and Vladimir Tarasenko in the third were tough ones. Schenn's was on a rebound where Hart had virtually no chance. You could argue that Tarasenko's shot was stoppable, but that's also an all-world forward who can snipe from anywhere. Even in a season where he has struggled, Tarasenko's abilities will shine through at some point. That's one where you probably give the shooter more credit than blame on the goaltender.
Outside of that, Hart responded to everything. He was square. His rebound control was good outside of the one chance for Schenn that resulted in the eventual game-winning goal.
You feel bad for Hart because he was the one constantly giving you effort, giving you something to feed off of. The team in front of him was just unresponsive.
Hart will get his share of wins in the NHL. He's got the talent and the chops to make it in the NHL. With a better team in front of him, the wins will come. But right now, he can't be the savior for this team that everyone wants him to be.
- Lack of Energy - You can't win if you can't score goals. Scoring goals is not as simple as just finding a way to score. You create your own opportunities by going to the net, playing with energy and getting to the dirty areas.The Flyers have a fundamental problem when it comes to puck battles. They turn the puck over easily. They have it stripped from their sticks. They lose the battles on the boards, in the corners, in front of the net, behind the net, in the neutral zone. It doesn't matter what it is. Outside of having good face-off numbers, this team struggles to battle.
This is the sixth time this season the Flyers have been shut out, and it's usually been with efforts like this. It's the 14th time they have scored one goal or less. It's the 19th time they have scored two or less. Monday's game was Game 42 on the season. It certainly explains a lot when the Flyers have struggled offensively as much as they have this season.
- Chucked - This is what's going to start happening soon enough. It has to. If Chuck Fletcher is going to sit and watch as the Flyers throw a season away with their struggles, then there was no point in making a GM change.The Flyers wanted a guy with a bias for action to take over the GM role. Action comes in all forms. Perhaps on that particular day, the bias for action was a willing to do whatever it takes to make this team a contender.
At this point, perhaps honesty is the best way to go. The honest truth is that this season is going nowhere. The Flyers are not going to somehow find a way to fall backwards into the playoffs. They will not make some miraculous second half run. It's already a throw-away season. But you can start planning for next season, and you should look into every option to make this a better hockey team. One way to solve the energy problem is rather simple. You can start exploring trades that may not net you any players, but net you draft picks and open spaces for prospects to be called up and free agents to be signed in the future. There is no sense in making moves to save this season, but you can certainly explore and find moves that can set you up for success next season and beyond. That was obvious a week ago and it remains obvious now.
The time has come and Chuck Fletcher has to do something. Because this fanbase is rapidly losing interest on the team this season and hope that the next season or the beyond is going to be any better.
By the Numbers
A result where the underlying numbers matched the eye test. The Blues did fall on the short end of shot attempts in the third period, 18-10, at 5-on-5, but the rest of the game was controlled by the Blues. Despite the third period disparage, the Blues had a 51.04 CF% for the game and led the way with 10 high-danger scoring chances to five for the Flyers.
Stat of the Game
The Flyers were outshot in each of the three periods -- 13-11 in the first, 14-6 in the second and 10-8 in the third.