There is that saying about good teams having the ability to win games in different ways, but the Philadelphia Flyers are the polar opposite. They’re finding all kinds of ways to lose.
It is no secret that goaltending has been an issue for the Broad Street Bullies for what seems like forever. While Carter Hart has shown some promise, it doesn’t appear that he is the answer for the team in the short term. Currently, Philly is third last in goals against in the entire National Hockey League.
But lately, goaltending doesn’t seem to be the only problem. Sure, it hasn’t been great, but as the Flyers endure their second four-game losing streak since Dec. 9, their offence has severely underachieved.
An attack consisting of players like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, James Van Riemsdyk, and Wayne Simmonds sounds like something that should cause opposing teams fits. However, since Dec. 20, that combination of five players has teamed up for just 20 points. Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning has piled on 15 points in that same stretch by himself.
Claude Giroux summarizing the Flyers season.
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) January 2, 2019
The team’s deficiencies also extend to their special teams. Philadelphia bottoms out in power play, while their penalty kill hasn’t been much better. In its last 45 power play opportunities, the PP units have scored just three times.
The thing is, all of this underachieving has happened while the Flyers have had a pretty decent schedule. To this point of the season, they have had the 12th easiest strength of schedule, according to Power Rankings Guru. From this point on, they’re slated to have the second most difficult list of opponents in the NHL. In their remaining 43 games, they play 22 against teams currently in the playoffs. So things may even get worse for the black and orange.
This season, the club has made major changes everywhere except on the ice. By canning both general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol, they have shown they want to go in a different direction. With GM Chuck Fletcher inheriting a team of players in which he has no real attachment to, he may be a little more willing to move a big name veteran than his predecessor.
On a fairly talented team that was in the playoffs just one season ago, the roster has not reacted well to major shake-ups. While it is easy to look at Philadelphia and say goaltending is the problem, that is not the entire truth. Really, from top to bottom, it has been a very poor effort. This is a club capable of much more than being one point ahead of the NHL’s basement. But with an increasingly challenging schedule on the loom, it may be too late to claw their way out of it.
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