Flyers-Blackhawks: Postgame Review
Lately, it's been a struggle for the Flyers to score goals. They needed two last-minute desperation goals to force overtime against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. On Wednesday, there were no goals to be found.
The Blackhawks can thank Corey Crawford for that. The veteran goalie for Chicago was masterful, and handed the Flyers their third shutout loss of the season.
Here is the Postgame Review.
- Crawford was stellar, but the Flyers had their chances too. There were a pair of breakaway chances in the first. There were numerous odd-man rushes that were mis-executed.The Flyers speed was encouraging and they were able to match the pace of the Blackhawks for really the entire game. The problem is that a team like Chicago can turn things on in an instant. For 20 seconds, everything went their way and the Flyers paid for it for the remainder of the game.
The Flyers also had chances later. There were mad scrambles at the net. There were three power play opportunities after the deficit was at 2-0 where the Flyers could have chipped away and gotten back into the game. They didn't.
- For as good as Crawford was -- and he was terrific -- Brian Elliott had a strong game in goal. Elliott made 32 saves in the loss and Chicago could have easily ended up with more than two goals.Goaltending is a touchy subject for Flyers fans, and truth be told, they had to deal with lackluster performances from the duo manning the net this season for the Flyers, but Elliott wasn't at fault for this decision.
At some point, you have to capitalize on your chances. Chicago did twice. The Flyers never did.
- Adding injury to insult, the Flyers played the last 40 minutes with only five defensemen again. This time, it was Radko Gudas being forced out of the game with an upper-body injury.Gudas was the Flyers most veteran defenseman in the lineup, so having his presence around is certainly meaningful with a young group. And imagine the lineup the Flyers will put on the ice in St. Louis on Thursday if Gudas can't play. Will O'Neil will be the sixth defenseman, along with Brandon Manning and Mark Alt in the lineup. Less than a week ago, O'Neil and Alt were playing in Allentown and Manning was only in the lineup because Andrew MacDonald was out injured.
The Flyers defensive fortitude is being heavily tested early and it's trial by fire for the Flyers rookie defensemen.
- The Flyers really can't ask for much more out of Ivan Provorov. He played 28:07 in Monday's overtime loss. On Wednesday, he topped that, playing 29:51, nine second short of half of the game.Provorov was a minus-2, but had one shot, three hits and one blocked shot while handling quite the workload. And considering where he was a year ago when he first played at United Center in Chicago, he's come such a long way in a short time.
There's no mistaking it anymore, he's the No. 1 defenseman on this team.
- This game was the perfect example as to why Monday's loss to the then-winless Coyotes was so disappointing. Sure, it's nice to get a point in a game where your play didn't warrant one and where a late comeback gave it to you. But the Flyers needed to take care of business there so that these games against Chicago and St. Louis didn't feel magnified, especially with several injured players not making the trip to provide relief.The Flyers didn't take advantage of the situation on Monday and now it cost them on Wednesday as the depleted lineup just couldn't withstand the Blackhawks. Chicago was on a three-game losing streak, so they were somewhat fragile and the chances to turn the game around, even in the early going, were there.
Now the Flyers get to deal with a St. Louis Blues team that is also impacted by injuries, but off to an excellent start regardless. The Flyers will need their best effort, which is easier said than done in your third game in the last four days, but it's necessary if they want to avoid going into Saturday's game with one point in the standings in their last three games.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.