Last night was a frustrating one for the orange and black.
The Flyers hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that had won five of their last six. Make that six of their last seven. Led by William Nylander (2 goals) and goaltender Jack Campbell, Philadelphia was shutout in a 3-0 loss.
Campbell made 36 saves to hold the Flyers to a goose egg. Looking at that stat, you might think he had to stand on his head all night. Maybe we were just unlucky. However, it happened to be a relatively easy game for the Leafs’ netminder, as mentioned toward the end of the third period by Jim Jackson and Keith Jones.
It must be said that Carter Hart played very well in this one, he looks to be back in that 2019-2020 form. He bailed the Flyers out multiple times, including this SportsCenter Top 10-worthy save:
He did his best to keep the game within reach last night. In this brutal division, Hart may well be the key to a Flyers playoff berth when we arrive at March and April.
Any time your hockey club posts a 0 on the scoresheet, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The Flyers wasted a couple of opportunities to take the lead early. Claude Giroux drew two penalties with under 10 minutes remaining in the first period. Giroux and the first unit, as well as the second unit could not even get set up on the first attempt. The second PP was somehow worse than the first.
The Flyers had another PP opportunity midway through the second, and that also was a dismal showing. It reminded me of the power play last year, a unit that seemed to give momentum to the other team while on the man advantage. This is absolutely not a good thing.
This power play needs to be fixed as soon as possible, preferably before this weekend’s road trip. At one point during the Flyers’ fourth PP, the broadcast said there had been only four shots on net when on the man advantage. One shot per power play? That cannot continue. During the Flyers’ last PP chance in the third period, some adjustments were made which was nice to see.
Alain Vigneault and the staff reverted to the same units that had begun the season looking so dangerous. James van Riemsdyk was back on the first unit with Keith Yandle at the point, with Ivan Provorov and Cam Atkinson returning to the second group. In my mind, there is no reason why Yandle should not be quarterbacking the first unit. He did happen to have a bad game last night though.
Joel Farabee is ice cold.
After beginning the season with six points in three games, Farabee has not recorded a point since. That is a point drought of 8 games and counting. The team needs “Philly Joel” to produce more consistently, which is the only hurdle holding him back from a true break out season. He had the same consistency issue last season.
It would have been nice to at least grab a point at home against Toronto, because this weekend will be a challenge. This will be true especially if Ryan Ellis still is not able to go.
Florida (10-2-1) looks to be a legitimate contender for the Eastern Conference. Their star center Aleksander Barkov has 8 goals and 6 assists in 13 games. Philly will look to avenge their 4-2 October 23 loss at the hands of the Panthers.
Tampa Bay (6-3-3) currently sits fourth in the Atlantic Division, behind the surprising upstart Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning have been a really good hockey team for years, and Steven Stamkos is firing on all cylinders with 7 goals and 8 assists already.
The first matchup is against the Panthers on Friday night.