The Philadelphia Flyers were eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday night. A 5-3 loss to the Devils, combined with a Bruins win, made it mathematically impossible for the Flyers to catch them.
It was a disappointing effort for the Flyers as they got the final nail in their coffin to end a disappointing season. They fell behind early, battled back to get within one goal, but then fell apart in the third period yet again.
The Flyers managed just 21 shots on goal in the game –– including three in the first period –– and Alex Lyon only made 14 saves on 18 shots in the loss.
Here are three takeaways from the Flyers’ elimination loss:
Parade to the penalty box
The Flyers allowed the Devils to score on both power plays in Tuesday night’s game. In fact, the Flyers’ poor special teams was one of our five takeaways from the loss. Unfortunately, the Flyers didn’t learn their lesson.
Wade Allison, Scott Laughton, and Philippe Myers each took a penalty within a 7:24 span in the first period. Any momentum that the Flyers had hoped to gain was lost as they were forced to go shorthanded for a good portion of the first period.
“They were average penalties from our end; things that you have to stay away from if you want to have a good start and play a fast game,” Alain Vigneault said of the three early penalties.
The three penalties in the first period resulted in two goals for Yegor Sharangovich and the New Jersey Devils. The first one was a shot that Alex Lyon needed to stop and the second one was a complete breakdown by the skaters in front of Lyon.
“There’s no doubt that giving any team three power plays in the first period is going to make it challenging on your team. Our penalty killing, as we know, has been off,” Vigneault said.
The Flyers’ penalty kill is one of the many issues that must be addressed in the offseason. They have a 72.9% success rate, which is the second-worst in the league. Only the Devils (69.9%) have been worse this season.
“We’re trying to work some of our young personnel in, and it’s been a learning experience,” Vigneault said of the penalty killing issues this season.
The Devils scored two power-play goals for the second straight game to put the Flyers in a 2-0 hole that they could not climb out of. The Flyers have now allowed multiple power-play goals in 10 games this season, including four games after the trade deadline.
The penalty kill did the Flyers in again on Thursday night.
Alex Lyon lets in a few leaky goals
The Flyers turned to Alex Lyon in net on Thursday night. Brian Elliott didn’t play too well in the third period of Tuesday night’s loss and Vigneault wanted to give Lyon a turn.
Lyon has had a few chances to prove himself as a NHL-caliber goalie and he hasn’t been able to take advantage of them. He showed why again on Thursday night.
The Devils’ first goal was a shot that Lyon absolutely needs to save. Sharangovich shot it from the circle and even he was surprised that it went in.
Lyon didn’t really have much of a chance on the Devils’ second goal as the defense broke down. That was once again what happened on the third goal with the Devils scoring on an odd-man rush.
However, Lyon allowed another iffy goal in the third period. The Flyers were trying to battle back and tie the game at three in the third period again and could’ve used a save from Lyon. Instead, Pavel Zacha beat Lyon on the short side. The puck may have ramped up Travis Sanheim‘s stick, but it’s still a shot that should be stopped.
Goaltending has been another major issue for the Flyers this season and it reared its ugly head again on Thursday night.
Scott Laughton gets off the schneid with Flyers’ first shorthanded goal
The Flyers were one of the best teams at scoring shorthanded last season with eight goals –– Kevin Hayes had four of them –– but had yet to score one until last night. Scott Laughton broke a 25-game goalless drought with the Flyers’ first shorthanded goal of the season.
“It’s been a while, but at the same time you don’t win. It would’ve been nice to pot one when we’re fighting there for a playoff spot,” Scott Laughton said. “Nice to get one, but doesn’t really matter.”
Laughton had been a bit snakebitten recently, especially around the trade deadline. It seemed that he had several scoring chances but couldn’t convert on any of them. That only got worse after he signed his contract with the pressure on his shoulders.
As Laughton said, however, it doesn’t really matter at this point. It’s nice for him to get on the scoresheet and for the Flyers to get a shorthanded goal, but it’s nothing more than a footnote in a disappointing season.