Well Philadelphia Flyers fans, we have gotten to the point where the Flyers haven’t won in eight straight games, something I did not think anyone was ready for. The Flyers are currently 0-3-5 in their last 8 games, picking up a measly five points out of a possible 16. It’s not catastrophically bad, but it’s not good.
The Flyers also moved from eighth place in the Eastern Conference and a potential wild card spot to 13th in the conference and last in the Metro Division. Sure, the Metro Division is a pretty close race, but this is not where the Flyers want to be two months into the season just as conference games are just starting up.
Let’s take a look on how they got where they are:
Game 1 – Home vs. Minnesota Wild, Shutout 1-0
- After the Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek dominated the Chicago Blackhawks in their last win, the Flyers other three lines had problems scoring. No one managed to find the net on the stellar Devan Dubnyk as he shutout the Flyers at home and in Minnesota.
- Goaltender Brian Elliott kept them in the game, however, only surrendering the game winning goal that had hit off of him in a crazy sequence.
Game 2 – Away vs. Minnesota Wild, Shutout 3-0
- After this game, the Flyers were held without a goal for 156 minutes and nine seconds straight. They did not have a goal from anyone other than their top line for 198 minutes and 23 seconds. To put this in perspective, the last goal at the time had come from Dale Weise, to tie the game up against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 4.
Game 3 – Away vs. Winnipeg Jets, Loss 3-2 in SO
- This would be the first of four games where the Flyers would blow a two-goal lead and then proceed to lose the game. The Jets tied the game in the last-minute of the third period on a goal from Mark Scheifele. The Flyers played well in the overtime but lost in the shootout.
- The Flyers would also get rookie Nolan Patrick back in this game, but lost the services of one of their veteran defensemen, Radko Gudas. He was suspended for 10 games after the hit he put on Mathieu Perreault.
- Nevertheless, the Flyers did get scoring but not from their 2nd, 3rd or 4th lines. After this game, it reached a total of 263 minutes and 23 seconds without a goal from the other three lines.
Game 4 – Home vs. Calgary Flames, Loss 5-4 in OT
- The Flyers blew another two-goal lead for the second game in a row, after leading 3-1 at the end of the first period. Philadelphia allowed Sean Monihan to score three power play goals in the 2nd period for a hat trick and the game was tied at 4. The Flyers eventually lost in overtime after a breakaway goal from Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik got past Elliott.
- The Flyers’ penalty killing unit took a beating, surrendering three goals on five power play opportunities. It came from a lot of undisciplined play, including an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Shayne Gostisbehere while he was sitting on the bench.
Game 5 – Home vs. Vancouver Canucks, Loss 5-2
- This was definitely the most embarrassing loss of the 8-game losing streak. The Flyers broke down defensively allowing the Canucks to score two quick goals, after getting an early goal from Ivan Provorov. One of those goals was a breakaway from Daniel Sedin.
- The defensive pairs were really exposed in this one as the only true veteran on the ice was Brandon Manning.
- Goaltender Michal Neuvirth played in net for his first start since Nov. 4 against the Avalanche. He was taken out in the third period and replaced by Elliott after allowing four goals. Neuvirth looked incredibly sloppy in net and had issues controlling the rebounds on some tough Canucks’ shots.
Game 6 – Away vs. New York Islanders, Loss 4-3 in OT
- The Flyers called in the reinforcements of Danick Martel and Sam Morin for this game. It was the breath of fresh air that they needed in the lineup, but it was not enough to get two points instead of one.
- Gostisbehere had another off night on defense in this one and broke down a few times with several turnovers and poor decisions. He also committed a terrible crime in overtime, puck watching. Josh Bailey was able to score easily once Ghost kept his eye on the puck, instead of the player behind him who he was supposed to be guarding. Not great.
Game 7 – Home vs. New York Islanders, Loss 5-4 in OT
- This is the third game of 7 where the Flyers have blown a two-goal lead. Philadelphia led 4-2 at the end of the second period and it was a stellar period for them as they scored four goals on five shots on net. In this game, both Gostisbehere and Wayne Simmonds ended their goalless droughts.
- The Flyers made a lot of mistakes but also showed some improvements. They also played Brandon Manning a lot. He played at total of 23:45, second only to Provorov, the team’s star defensemen. Manning seems like a good guy, but is not the person you want playing 23 minutes when you have some rookie defensemen, who have really stepped up their games, AND you have Sam Morin on the ice. USE THE GIANT MAN.
- Philadelphia got themselves into trouble with puck watching and it came back to haunt them for the second straight game. Voracek was the culprit this time as Nick Leddy scored the game winner in overtime.
Game 8 – Away vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Loss 5-4 in OT
- It’s now about half the games in this losing streak where the Flyers have managed to get a two-goal lead and then blown it in the following period. The Flyers led 3-1 at the end of the second period, after goals from Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny. They would have scored more goals, if at least the four shots that had hit off either the post or the crossbar had gone in. Super frustrating, it was the third-straight OT loss.
- Monday night was also the first game in the last 4, where the Flyers allowed their opponent to score the first goal of the game. Jake Guentzel had an absolute laser past Elliott. Other than that, the Flyers kept even with the Penguins in the first period and trailed 1-0 at the end of it.
- Also in Monday night’s game, the Flyers got a new look at their penalty kill and surrendered a goal… well two if you technically count that one guy’s (you know the guy) goal to win the game. It did not look bad as it has been which means there are definitely signs of improvement.
- Defenseman Andrew MacDonald returned to the ice and played pretty good, well minus the one penalty that led to the Penguins’ second goal of the game. (It didn’t look like tripping at all but *shrugs*) Hakstol also challenged that goal for goaltender interference which it totally was in my opinion, but the referees said no. What exactly is goaltender interference anymore?
While a lot of people can see the bad things that have come from an 8-game winless streak, there have been some good things. The Flyers have been able to earn points even from their overtime losses and Brian Elliott has looked absolutely stellar in net where he saw a career high 52 shots on net against the Penguins and saved 47 of them.
The top line is still as sharp as it has been and the second line looks like it’s finally getting some momentum with the addition of Danick Martel. The Flyers will take on the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center for their last game of November on Tuesday night.
One thing is for sure though, if this gets to a 9-game losing streak, Hakstol’s job will definitely be on the line.