Flyers-Hurricanes: Postgame Review
Well, all good things must come to an end, and for the Flyers, February is a thing of the past. A six-game win streak and 12-game points streak as part of a historic February run are now a thing of the past with a disappointing 4-1 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Ultimately, the Flyers were probably due for a game and result like this, but a new standard has been set for how the Flyers should approach a game and play and the team didn't live up to it in front of the home crowd on this night.
Let's get to it with our Postgame Review.
- Due for a Rough Night - When you've won six games in a row and managed to squeeze at least one point out of 12 straight games, chances are you are due for a clunker, a game that absolutely does not go your way.Yes, some of the bounces didn't go the Flyers way, but this wasn't a good game at all as the Flyers sleepily went through to motions of a game, but were never really in control of the game.
This is the friendly reminder that things don't get easier just because you've been winning lately. The Flyers looked like the more winded and tired team all night, overpassed again and struggled with puck control. There were numerous puck battles lost and position just wasn't great either.
Quite honestly, the game on Monday night in Montreal was probably one the Flyers didn't deserve to win by found a way to win. It seemed like from that game, the letdown of 12 straight games with a point was coming soon.
Here we are.
That said, the fans weren't pleased with the effort and they shouldn't be. When you're coming off a month of February like the Flyers had, a new expectation has been set. The expectation is that a win is possible every night. There haven't been many games where the Flyers fell far behind in games and were out of it before the final few minutes of a period, but this was one of them and effort warranted that.
- The Manning-Gudas Pairing and Fourth Line - I don't know what it is about dressing these guys every single night, but this group of five was easily the worst among the Flyers on the ice in this game. There weren't many players who played well, but when Carolina was really pushing, you could expect to see the duo of Brandon Manning and Radko Gudas on the ice, getting outmuscled and outworked constantly.There were also times where the Flyers fourth line of Jori Lehtera, Dale Weise and Valtteri Filppula, easily the most expensive fourth line in the league, was matched up against the Hurricanes top line in a complete mismatch. It spells disaster for a team that needs to consistently roll lines and do so in a manner that doesn't let games slip away.
I'm not saying that these players don't have their moments or don't have qualities that make them worth a lineup spot, but how you can look at their play, even over a sustained period of success for the team, and see a group of players making a difference, I don't know.
- Sitting Weal - Which brings us to this: the Flyers had Jordan Weal and Matt Read as healthy scratches at forward for this game.There's an element of understanding with Weal's case. It has been 10 games since Jordan Weal scored a goal and he has just one assist in that time. Perhaps one night off can help him clear his head. That's understandable.
But if he doesn't play in Florida, now you have a problem. You want a player to clear his head while in the middle of a scoring drought? That's fine. You want to essentially punish a player for that? Wrong move.
Weal has been a driving force in the Flyers offense without the points. Most of what he does on a nightly basis isn't pretty and doesn't show up on the scoresheet, but he's more than capable of helping the bottom-six be better at creating opportunities than what the Flyers had out there on this night, and that was with fairly decent games from Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl and Taylor Leier.
- Patrick-Lindblom Duo - The Flyers have a legitimate second line right now, and not because Jake Voracek is on it. The pair of rookies in Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom have dynamic offense skills that they just keep trying to unleash.For most of the night, this was the lineup generating zone time and chances.
If this is Lindblom's audition, he's handled it well. Patrick continues to build on his offensive zone performances every night. Together, they are waiting for an explosion. It just feels like a big stretch of points is coming from these.
- Avoid a Trend - Every team drops a game like this into their schedule. Want proof? On the same night that the Flyers lost for the first time in regulation in a month, the Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the Boston Bruins, 8-4. So it happens.What separates the great teams from the good ones is quickly turning the page and coming back strong from that loss. The Flyers can move on to Saturday knowing that this loss didn't cost them anything more than a chance to move back into first place in the division. There were no points lost to Pittsburgh or New Jersey, so all other margins remain the same.
March is going to be a difficult month for this team, with several games against playoff teams to test where they are among the rest of a close conference. If this becomes a trend, the division will quickly be forgotten and holding a playoff spot will be back in the discussion. Saturday is a chance to erase that thought, and it will come against the best team in the conference.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.