Flyers-Hurricanes: Postgame Review
The Flyers nearly pulled off another improbable third-period rally. It's entertaining for sure, but it usually means that the two periods leading up to the rally weren't very good.
The Flyers did not have a good road trip by any stretch, and they brought the poor play home with them in another loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
More in our Postgame Review.
- The Start - In a word: uninspired. It was a boring period from both teams honestly. Quality chances were few and far between, the energy level seemed down. It just wasn't entertaining hockey.
Carolina is not one of the elite teams in the league, but they have had their moments this season, and can certainly bring more -- more on that in a moment. For the Flyers, this was really nothing new. For every inspired opening period they play, they follow it with an truly uninspired effort that could put you to sleep. Luckily, Carolina's start wasn't very good either, so they came out of the first period with no goals on either side.
- The Second Period - It didn't take long for the Hurricanes to shift into high gear and start producing. Just 1:56 into the period, the Hurricanes scored as defensive coverage broke down and left Dougie Hamilton with time and space to walk in and pick his spot.
On a penalty kill less than 90 seconds later, the Hurricanes scored again. The Flyers power play struggled mightily all season leading into this game. One thing they have struggled to do was move the puck effectively in the zone to set up the shot option for the man in the high slot. On Carolina's goal, that was the play, getting the puck to Justin Williams for the quick release that beat Michal Neuvirth.
Before the period was over, Carolina added another goal, again on the power play. This was a thing of beauty. Sebastian Aho used his deceptiveness to draw all the attention, then made a great pass to an open Teuvo Teravainen at the right circle.
- The Near Rally - After giving up a fourth Carolina goal early in the third, the Flyers finally got on the board with a power play goal. It was a play that has been tried several times before and not yielded the result. Claude Giroux to Jake Voracek to Wayne Simmonds on a tic-tac-toe passing play. This time, it worked to perfection.
One power play goal does little to move the needle. But when Sean Couturier scored on a deflection from the slot just 1:06 later, it was a two-goal game and there was life.
Back on the power play, the Flyers got another goal as James van Riemsdyk scored from in front on a rebound, tucking it past Petr Mrazek. In just under five minutes, the Flyers took a 4-0 game and turned it into a 4-3 game. Haven't we seen this one before? The rally was all for naught though. And this time, it didn't take overtime to prove it.
- The Sinker - The Flyers were pressing for the tying goal and there's no telling what would have happened in the final 4:47 if the margin was still only one goal. Instead, a shot chance missed the net and came out of the zone, sending Carolina on a two-on-one. Teravainen was leading the rush and took the shot himself. It leaked through Neuvirth and crossed the line, all but sinking the Flyers for good.
This goes back to the goaltending. There wasn't much Neuvirth was supposed to do on any of the first four goals. Each was a well-placed shot or a deflection or something that can be out of the goalie's hands. But this chance was one he needed to stop.
The Flyers could have changed the narrative had they found a way to tie the game or even win had it gone to overtime. Instead, it was just another standard regulation loss that has become regular this season.
- The Next Move - There are changes to come for this roster. You could feel that after the Nashville game and you get the sense that now, just because the team nearly rallied, that nothing is going the change that.
The thing about making roster changes is that you usually need a playing partner. The Flyers would have to find teams willing to make a trade and what would they be selling or getting in return? Making changes to the roster isn't that simple.
In the meantime, while Chuck Fletcher inevitably works on selling off what he can from this team and salvaging the rest, the Flyers have a busy schudule to start January. They are home for two more games on Saturday and Monday. They play a road game on Tuesday. They are back home on Thursday, back on the road on Saturday, back home for two more the following Monday and Wednesday -- the 14th and 16th -- before heading into the mandatory bye week and the All-Star break with one more game on the road on Jan. 19. That's seven more games in two weeks before getting eight days off from game action, virtually one every other day. If nothing changes with the results, there's no question where the Flyers will be -- last.
The Flyers are nearing the cellar of the NHL standings. They are potentially going to be in play for a lottery pick at this rate. Who knows how long this will last before a move is made among the playing roster, but one will be made soon enough.
By the Numbers
The Flyers were the better possession team at 5-on-5, with a 62.37 CF% and 10 high-danger scoring chances.
Stat of the Game
Sean Couturier led the Flyers with seven shots on goal, fitting that he scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season in the process.