The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 13 straight for the first time in franchise history, but, for the most part, it hasn’t been for a lack of effort.
It’s because the team is crippled by injuries and doesn’t have much depth.
It’s because something always seems to go wrong at the most inopportune time.
It’s because no one is stepping up at key part of the game.
In seven of the 13 losses, the Flyers have led or have been tied in the third period.
You know how those seven have ended. … just like the other six games during the skid.
“Things didn’t go well for us in the latter part of last season, and I think we’ve brought a lot of those things into this season. ” said interim coach Mike Yeo, whose team will try to ends its winless streak Saturday in a 1 p.m. matchup against Los Angeles at the Wells Fargo Center. “One of the things we’re really trying to do right now is re-establish what it takes to win a hockey game.”
Things like a strong, consistent forecheck, crisper entries into the offensive zone, and converting more Grade-A scoring chances, like their opponents.
The two practices and a day off gave the struggling #Flyers a chance to "exhale and clear the head a little bit," per Yeo.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 28, 2022
General managed Chuck Fletcher talked about some other weaknesses.
“Our retrievals, our transition. We don’t get out of our zone quickly or cleanly enough for my liking,” he said on Wednesday. “We defend too much, and it’s hard to score goals when you’re defending.”
Scoring first would also help. The Flyers have allowed the opening goal 10 times during their 13-game losing streak. They always seem to be chasing the game, and in the rare times they do jump ahead — like Tuesday, when they took a 2-0 lead but eventually dropped a 4-3 decision to the Islanders — they are so fragile that as soon as they face adversity, they fall apart.
“First, we need to find a way to get a win. We need to take the temperature down,” Fletcher said. “We need to get a good environment back around here, so we can make objective, smart decisions. There will be a lot of decisions to make. There will be opportunities to improve the team.”
After losing to the Isles, the Flyers had a day off then and back-to-back practices. That gave the players a “chance to exhale and clear the head a little bit,” Yeo said after Friday’s practice in Voorhees.
He thinks that will help them in Saturday’s matinee against the Kings.
Yeo gave his team a reminder that they have to be mentally ready for a game that starts early, and need to be sharp from the opening faceoff. He didn’t feel they were ready in their last matinee, last Saturday’s 6-3 loss in Buffalo.
On Saturday, Isaac Ratcliffe, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound left winger, will play on the fourth line and make his NHL debut for the Flyers. Yes, it’s time to experiment and see what the young kids can do.
“His size is a bid advantage. That’s something not a lot of people have,” Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim said,. “So if you can use that at this level and protect the puck and be hard to play against, he’s going to be a good player.”
Six players who started the season with the Phantoms — Max Willman, Morgan Frost, Gerry Mayhew, Ratcliffe, Connor Bunnaman, and Cam York — will be in the lineup Saturday. … Center/winger Derick Brassard, working his way back from a hip injury, took part in practice and continues no make progress. No timetable has been set for his return. … Joel Farabee, Sean Couturier, Patrick Brown and highly touted prospect Tyson Foerster skated before practice. … Fans will be allowed back in practices starting Monday, per Fletcher.