Flyers-Islanders: Postgame Review
The effort was better, but the result was the same. It seems no matter what the Flyers do, they can't shake this losing streak they have going.
The streak hit six on Wednesday night, as the Flyers head into Thanksgiving with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Islanders.
Let's take a closer look in our Postgame Review.
- Better Effort - Dave Hakstol said after Tuesday's loss that work ethic and preparation were two big problems. The Flyers actually got some work ethic on Wednesday night.We'll dive into this a bit more in one of the later points, but this is the way it goes with a young team that doesn't have the experience yet. The Flyers aren't going to see results on Day 1 with two newcomers to the lineup and a very young roster.
That said, it gets tough to stay positive about the future when the present is so dismal makes it really difficult to see the positives. They were there, especially after a night where everything was in question with this team, but the results need to show to and they just aren't for the Flyers.
- New Guys in Town - You can't say that newcomers Sam Morin and Danick Martel didn't make a bit of a difference in this game.They were not on the scoresheet, but Morin made his presence felt with three hits, one shot, four penalty minutes and a blocked shot. His physical game is certainly a big part of things, and that will only increase. Defensively, he didn't look bad either.
As for Martel, he did pretty much everything but score. His speed generated an early breakaway and he was a constant threat. It may have been his NHL debut, but a first NHL goal and point are not far behind if this keeps up. In addition to having three shots, Martel led the team with four blocked shots.
If he keeps playing like this, it won't be a short-term trial run at the NHL level for him.
And it wasn't just the two newest members of the lineup. The Flyers had six rookies in the lineup on Wednesday with Martel, Morin, Travis Sanheim, Nolan Patrick, Robert Hagg and Taylor Leier. You wanted to see the kids. You're seeing the kids.
- Penalty Kill - It's really hard to put into words how poorly the penalty kill is playing at this moment. The Flyers PK opened Wednesday's game allowing two power-play goals on the Islanders first two power plays. One of the goals came at 5-on-3.Even though the Flyers locked that down for the rest of the game, this is becoming way too consistent. The Flyers allowed three power-play goals to Calgary last Saturday. They allowed two to Vancouver on Tuesday. And now two more to the Islanders. Allowing seven power-play goals to the opposition doesn't just expose a weakness, it magnifies it.
The two power-play goals scored by Vancouver on Tuesday wouldn't have changed the result if they hadn't been there. But one power-play goal allowed against Calgary or the Islanders on Wednesday does. The Flyers struggles on the penalty kill are costing them games, and they need to tighten that up quickly.
- Some Secondary Scoring - After going game after game with the same offensive contributors, it was nice to see a change in that on Wednesday. Taylor Leier opened the scoring with his second goal of the season. Michael Raffl finally got on the scoresheet to open the second period.Until Leier's goal and eventually Raffl's as well, the Flyers only goal from a forward not on the top line in nearly the last three weeks had come from Nolan Patrick on Saturday. To find the next goal from a forward not on the top line before that, you have to go all the way back to Valtteri Filppula's goal against Colorado on Nov. 4.
The goal seemed to spark both lines for Raffl and Leier. The Flyers secondary forwards played much better in this game, and with a few goals finding the net, they seemed to be able to shake off a bit of the frustration. That was good to see with a hefty schedule of games ahead.
- Overtime - In the first two seasons of the 3-on-3 overtime, the Flyers were a very solid team at understanding the best way to win: puck possession and quick transition. That helped them put together a combined record of 17-11 in overtime.This season, the Flyers have already three games in the 3-on-3 overtime while winning one. This one ended after just 32 seconds.
Give John Tavares a lot of credit. He's a tremendous superstar player in this league and showed it. And it's not like Sean Couturier did anything wrong in his coverage. Tavares is basically pushed to the perimeter the entire shift and uses a ridiculous effort to maintain possession, a key to overtime.
But this was not Shayne Gostisbehere's best game. Far from it in fact. And the third-year defenseman gets caught watching the play and not covering his man, Josh Bailey. Bailey sneaks into the slot, Tavares finds him and Bailey not only has time to get a shot off, which Brian Elliott made a great save on, but gets his own rebound before Elliott can find it and Gostisbehere can recover to score the game-winning goal.
Breakdowns will happen, as evidence by the lineup that included six rookies. That said, you not only need to limit the breakdowns and mistakes, but expect to see guys learn from them. Gostisbehere has had a rough go lately, and has been particularly poor in the 3-on-3 as the last line of defense before the goalie.