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5 observations from Flyers’ frustrating 4-1 loss to St. Louis Blues

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Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, 500th
Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton was stopped on a first-period breakaway by St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Flyers are like an episode of HBO’s Succession. Interesting to watch, but filled with misery.

Lots and lots of misery.

The misery continued Tuesday as the Flyers dropped their sixth straight, falling to the St. Louis Blues, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.

That’s 19 losses in the last 21 games, in case you are scoring at home.

The Blues scored three third-period goals, including two empty-netters, to break a 1-1 tie.

“That was a winnable game for us, and we have to find a way to do that,” interim coach Mike Yeo said.

“Right now, it feels like we have to play a perfect game to win, and it’s not happening,” captain Claude Giroux said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Some observations:

1. Brayden Schenn is prettttty, prettttty good.

The former Flyer scored his 10th goal in the last 12 games and continued to torment his former team. He knocked in a rebound — his 15th goal in 34 games — to open the scoring with 8:10 left in the first, giving him three goals and five points in six games against the Flyers in his career.

Philly sent Schenn to St. Louis in a 2017 trade that netted them draft picks that turned out to be Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost.

Farabee, 21, may be ready to return from a shoulder injury Saturday. He led the Flyers with 20 goals last year and has 11 goals in 33 games this season. Frost, 22, who has just two goals in 30 games this season, is still trying to find himself.

Schenn, 30, has scored 28, 17, 25, and 16 (in 56 games) goals for St. Louis in the seasons before this year.

2. Give the Flyers, shorthanded because of injuries, credit for playing competitive hockey in their last four games, all against strong teams — Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina, and St. Louis. 

The Flyers were playing on back-to-back nights, but they stayed with the well-rested Blues in an evenly played game. Philly had the edge in faceoffs and hits, and they had more scoring chances in the third period.

But once again, they couldn’t close the deal.

Oskar Lindblom tied the game at 1-1 with a blast from above the left circle with 11:51 left. But Vladimir Tarasenko, who missed the previous game with an undisclosed injury, responded 42 seconds later to put the Blues ahead for good. Yes, allowing a goal on the shift after they scored has become a common theme during this Lost Season.

“Right now, we’re too much up and down,” Lindblom said.

The Lindblom-Scott-Laughton-Travis Konecny line was the Flyers’ best unit. Konecny had an assist and now has a career-best, seven-game point streak.

The Flyers don’t play again until Saturday afternoon, when they will have another shot at the Capitals and will try to avenge Thursday’s 5-3 loss. Washington scored three late goals in a 2:08 span to erase a 3-2 deficit.

3. St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington, who is having a poor season and has lost his No. 1 spot to Ville Husso (1.97 GAA, .936 save percentage, discovered his old magic against the Flyers.

The Flyers’ pop-gun offense has a way of making opposing goalies look good.

Then again, Binnington, who made 25 saves, was very good when needed. He made a nice save on Max Willman as he broke in alone early in the game, and denied Laughton on a breakaway later in the first period. (Binnington was fortunate that Claude Giroux, with a wide-open net, fired wide with a power-play chance late in the second period. And that Justin Braun hit the crossbar with a third-period blast.)

Entering Tuesday, Binnington had just an 11-10-3 record with a 3.35 GAA and .898 save percentgae. He had lost three straight, compiling save percentages of .815, .800, and .850, respectively, in those  games.

4. Love interim coach Mike Yeo’s decision to put left winger Isaac Ratcliffe on the top line with Giroux and Cam Atkinson.

The rest of the season is all about finding out about which players deserve to be in the lineup in 2022-23. In other words, it’s time to experiment with young guys like the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe played another solid game Tuesday and his steal in the Flyers’ defensive end helped send Giroux on a two-on-one with Travis Sanheim in the second period. Giroux hit the crossbar with his shot.

Yeo also experimented and put Morgan Frost on the top power-play unit, and the young forward made several good plays on the unit.

5. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and goalie Martin Jones helped their trade value.

Ristolainen had five shots, five hits, and four blocked shots, while Jones, playing on back-to-back nights because of Carter Hart’s eye ailment, stopped 22 of 24 shots and kept the Flyers competitive.

The Flyers are trying to sign Ristolainen, a prospective free agent. If they can’t, they would be wise to deal him before the March 21 deadline. He would probably bring a first- or second-round draft pick.

Jones, who has struggled mightily since the calendar changed to 2022, won’t bring a lot in return — maybe a sixth- or seventh rounder. He hasn’t won since Dec. 29 in Seattle.

“I don’t think we were at our best, but we hung around and Jonesy was good and we battled back,” Yeo said. “It’s 1-1 again late in the game, and that game’s there.”

The Blues grabbed it.

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