This Flyers season has gone so off the rails, I am almost not even sure what to say anymore.
After almost breaking the Buffalo Sabres’ 17 game losing streak on Monday, the Flyers posted another abysmal score line in a 6-1 loss. This past month has been the most puzzling and frustrating month of hockey I have ever witnessed, and there has been a lot of mediocre hockey I have had the chance to experience being a Flyers fan.
The Flyers were not even being utterly dominated most of the game, at one point they were outshooting Buffalo ten shots to none in the second period. Heck, Sean Couturier hit the post just over ten seconds into the game.
The Sabres’ first goal was a lucky deflection off the inside of Justin Braun’s leg, the shot was heading wide of the net and was just an unfortunate goal. A great example of why they say just get the puck on net.
Buffalo’s second goal started with a shot from Braun getting blocked at the point, which sparked an almost-breakaway for Riley Sheahan. He then found a trailing Buffalo player all alone for a clean look on Brian Elliot. Another poor first period for Philadelphia, which automatically forces the team to dig themselves out of holes almost every game. It is just not conducive to winning hockey games
I will say, if Braun is going to shoot in that situation where all of our forwards are down around the net, he has to make sure that does not get blocked. If you do not get the puck through there, it can start an opposing rush, which is exactly what happened.
I touched on this a little but above, but the Flyers really were all over the Sabres for most of the second period. Ivan Provorov cut the deficit to one goal when he scored four minutes in, and Buffalo looked like they lost all of their first period momentum.
A few minutes later, it was a completely different game. Seemingly out of nowhere, Erik Gustafsson fell asleep for a few seconds and allowed an uncontested pass right in front of Elliot to make it 3-1 in favor of Buffalo. I recall hearing that his defense had been improving during his time in Calgary, but I think it is fair to say we have seen him hurt this team defensively multiple times, more than Shayne Gostisbehere has.
Under five minutes left in the second, it became 4-1 and Elliot was pulled for Alex Lyon. Even though this is a goal that I would Like Elliot to save, it is still really tiring to watch our starting goaltender being pulled almost every game.
Losing 6-1 and being the team that no one in the NHL wanted to be in losing to Buffalo, it just is another morale-killer. I am not sure if we should be buying or selling, or if teams are even looking to deal with us right now. Gostisbehere cleared waivers yesterday, but it is still unclear of the Flyers’ motives why he was placed there in the first place. I am not sure I buy their explanation of, “it allows us to be more flexible with the taxi squad.”
Next up, we get to face off against the first-place New York Islanders again. The Flyers are so unbelievably fortunate that the Boston Bruins are only three points ahead of them in fourth place. Even after losing to the worst team in the NHL, the Flyers need to pull themselves together this Saturday night. The Rangers are right on their heels, sitting only two points behind Philadelphia.
They still are in a position where they can make the playoffs, it just depends on if they want to play a full 60 minutes of hockey consistently. I pray that last month was a true anomaly, and that we never have to watch such a brutal stretch again, at least for a long, long time. Although, I am not sure what will change with how things have been going.
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