On a day when many people are celebrating a clean slate and making resolutions, the Circulars were still trying to shake off their bad 2021 habits. Saturday’s game seemed doomed from the start. After all, many home fans and late-night viewers had yet to take their seats in the seats for the night before the Flyers fell behind in the game.
Like many games on the seven-game scoring streak, the Flyers have made it competitive and interesting at times. But that was apparently which team was the best and which deserved the result. the kings made things easy at times.
The law of averages essentially caught up with the Flyers. Out of the break, they were lucky enough to get a win in Seattle and stole a point in San Jose. Rightfully so, they have nothing to show for a loss that featured sloppier play, mismanagement of the puck and continued gaps in defensive coverage.
Here are five takeaways from the 6-3 loss to the Kings.
1. First team asleep
It was a difficult night for the Flyers’ starting lineup. Usually, a starting five means very little. The aperture change typically takes about 45-60 seconds and is relatively trouble-free. For the trio of Kevin hayes, James van riemsdyk, and Max Willman, and the pairing of Ivan Provorov and Justin braun, it only took the Kings 12 seconds to step onto the chessboard.
It was the result of a sleepy game. Philippe Danault won a plateau fight and moved the puck behind the net. Trevor Moore is removed from play by Braun, but the puck moves further towards Viktor arvidsson, who was alone due to poor coverage from Provorov. Arvidsson caught everyone off guard and tucked the puck into a wrap to make it 1-0, just like that.
It was the start of a night minus 5 for Hayes and van Riemsdyk, minus 2 nights for Provorov and Willman, and a night minus 1 for Braun. The same group was on the ice for the Kings second goal, very similar to the first, only with Moore scoring the goal with a rebound.
This trio of Arvidsson, Danault and Moore also combined four goals and 11 points in the evening.
2. Farabee stays warm
For a few brief moments, the Flyers evened the game. At the 13th minute of the first period, Joel farabee was in the right place to rebound and score his 10th goal of the season.
It has been a strange season for Farabee. He scored in the first three games of the season and collected six points during that time to enter the season in great shape. In the next 14 games, he scored only one goal, which was also his only point during that time. In the eight games since, Farabee has scored six more goals and added an assist for seven points.
Farabee’s 10th goal this season has also made 30 overall in his last 80 games. He’s also on track to score 25 goals this season, which, considering the ice age from late October to Thanksgiving, is pretty good.
There are a lot of uncertainties ahead for the Flyers, especially if the results continue to level out and move them lower in the standings. Farabee was once again one of the bright spots. You get honest effort from him pretty much every shift. He’s also one of the most consistent producers on the team.
His future with the team has never really been in question after signing extra time in the offseason, but it is becoming increasingly clear that no matter which direction the Flyers take, Farabee will likely be a player to play. monitor in the years to come.
3. Discipline issues
After nearly replying their first goal to regain the lead in the first, the Kings kept pressing and finally got a great opportunity of a total lack of discipline for the Flyers.
It started with a harshness penalty on Travis Konecny, one that is easily preventable. Konecny simply lost his temper, trying to push the limits with the hassle. When Konecny gets into the skin of the opponent and does so subtly, it can be a great quality. But there is a fine line that you must avoid and Konecny was not there.
it didn’t help that Rasmus Ristolainen joined him in the penalty box 59 seconds later with a boarding penalty that was also avoidable. That gave the Kings 61 seconds of 5v3. They ultimately didn’t concede until the start of the second period, but the damage was done nonetheless.
Konecny’s discipline problem did not end there. Just seconds into the third period, the Flyers were on the power play when Konecny was called out for a 10-minute misconduct. Once back on the ice, he played another quarter-game for 19 seconds, with 6:10 left.
4. A bold appeal
Just seconds after Konecny’s misconduct, the Flyers’ power play turned to a two-man advantage with another penalty from the Kings that left them with 32 seconds 5-on-3. Sensing the magnitude of this opportunity in a 4-1 game, the Flyers called time out and Mike Yeo made a courageous appeal.
From the face-off, the Flyers took control. Although there are over 17 minutes remaining in the period, Martin jones was on the bench for an extra attacker making it a 6v3. That extra off the bench was Hayes, who rushed straight to the right circle and was set up for a receiving shot and a goal .
For now, that has made it a two-goal game and brought the Flyers back, a quick response to the 5-on-3 opportunity and plenty of time to try to close the gap. It’s not often that you see a coach try something like this, but it was definitely a call that paid off in the time.
5. Defensive woes
It’s no secret that teams are facing a lot of roster issues lately. The Flyers certainly have theirs, although help is on the way. While they did not have Carter Stag, Scott Laughton, and Derick Brassard for that game, they will join the team on Sunday before their next game in Anaheim.
That said, throughout this surge in COVID cases, the Flyers have not had any forced adjustments to their defensive group. Provorov and Braun stay together, so Travis Sanheim and Ristolainen, and Keith yandle and a combination of Kevin connauton and pseudo seeing.
There is still the lack of Ryan ellis, both due to injury and COVID at the moment, but it’s not really here or there at this point. Ellis wasn’t going to be back for that road trip or in time for anything coming up on the schedule in the new two weeks. What you see from this defense is what you are going to get.
Provorov and Braun had a bad first half. As the game progressed they improved, but Yandle and Connauton’s third pair struggled mightily. There are possession issues, puck handling issues, execution issues, positioning issues, etc. the errors just keep piling up.
The goal of the offseason roster change was to have a player like Ellis as an anchor alongside Provorov. It would give the Flyers the best duo they thought they needed to handle the toughest clashes. This would have left Braun playing with Yandle, who may still have his flaws as we see now, but could also be easier to bear in limited doses and with Yandle having the advantage of another veteran defender over his pair who plays a more stay-at-home style.
Instead, Braun starred in the top duo for most of the season. This left Connauton and Seeler to fill the void on the third pairing. It is quite obvious that there are huge flaws in this. Yandle has been detained several times over the past month. The Flyers tried to help with the addition of Connauton, and while he had a few decent games, Saturday’s wasn’t pretty either.
These problems have been particularly noticeable in the last three games. The Flyers struggled to get started in the game against Seattle and ultimately clinched an overtime victory. They were largely outplayed in San Jose, stealing a point off the back of a rookie goaltender. In this game, the overall process was maybe slightly better, but the results certainly balanced out.
And that was against teams ranked 29th, 17th and 15th in the standings. Next week, the Flyers will see Anaheim, 10th, then Pittsburgh, 12th, before meeting the Sharks again. The following week: Carolina ranked highest, Boston ranked 21st (with several games in hand on virtually every team in the league) and Rangers ranked 6th. And as long as Ellis is not yet ready to come back and prospects like Cam York and Egor zamula are deemed not yet ready, this is the group that you will continue to see.
This is how quickly those fleeting few weeks of positive waves could fade away altogether. Following the change of coach, the Flyers didn’t just have a point streak. They were winning matches. They ended the 10-game losing streak in Vegas, took care of the business against Arizona, outscored the Devils, rebounded from a shootout loss in Montreal with an entertaining overtime victory over Ottawa, then returned. of an 11 day break finding a way to win in Seattle too. It was a six-game streak with a 5-0-1 record and 11 of 12 points.
But that streak quickly turns into what the last three games have been: a lucky win in Seattle, a stolen point in San Jose, and an unbalanced loss in LA. It’s a 1-1-1 record in the last three games, which doesn’t sound so positive.
If there’s anything this new year and the start of the 2022 part of the calendar will bring, it’s more clarity on where the Flyers are heading this season. For now, they remain alive in the playoffs, deceptively one point off the last wildcard spot behind Detroit. But there are two teams behind them within three points. The Islanders are also six points behind the Flyers with four games in hand.
Either they will continue this race picking up points in clusters and do so against tougher competition, or they will potentially collapse into one of the low end of the NHL as they were so close to doing a few weeks ago. barely.
Kevin Durso is a Flyers Insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers Editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on twitter @Kevin_Durso.