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5 observations: Flyers’ momentum vanishes as power play struggles (again) against Oilers

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Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, who grew up in suburban Edmonton, faced his summer goalie coach on Tuesday night.

So much for the Philadelphia Flyers building momentum from their hard-earned win Saturday over Washington.

The momentum disappeared Tuesday when the Flyers failed to click on a five-on-three power play. Again.

Edmonton Oilers 3, Philadelphia Flyers 0.

The Flyers, who snapped a six-game skid with their 2-1 victory over the Capitals, have now lost 20 of their last 23.

Here are five observations:

1. The Flyers’ power play is maddening to watch.

With the game scoreless, Philly had a five-on-three power play for 51 seconds in the opening period. They had their chances against goalie Mikko Koskinen, but, for the umpteenth time this season, they couldn’t finish.

The Flyers have not scored on a five-on-three power play all season. That’s hard to do, folks.

“It’s getting frustrating,” captain Claude Giroux said.

“Obviously, we’ve got to score on that,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. ” … Everybody always kind of says that usually when you don’t score on a five-on-three, you’re not going to win.”

Yeo said the Flyers are trying to make the perfect play “as opposed to being shot-oriented.”

2. Edmonton’s power play is the opposite of the Flyers’.

The Oilers showed why they have the league’s third-ranked power play. Shortly after the Flyers couldn’t connect on their five-on-three, Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl scored on a power-play wrist shot from above the left circle to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. It was his 37th goal of the season and 16th on the power play.

Since Edmonton was 16-0 when it scores first, the Oilers had to feel good about themselves. They are now 17-0.

Conversely, the Flyers entered the night with just three wins — three! — in the 30 games when they allowed the first goal. Make that now 31 games.

3. Connor McDavid is a joy to watch. (But you already knew that.)

No, it’s not a news flash, but since this was Edmonton’s first visit to the Wells Fargo Center in a little over three years, Philadelphia Flyers fans finally got a chance to watch the smooth-skating center up close.

He didn’t disappoint.

McDavid was dazzling as he slipped around and through defenders and made “how-did-he-do-that?” passes that had the crowd buzzing.

To the Flyers’ credit, they held McDavid (seven shots) to just one assist and an empty-net goal, but he was dominating.

4. The Flyers shot themselves in the foot with penalties.

The Flyers gave Edmonton five power plays over the first two periods. Too many. Way too many.

“They’ve got two of the best players in the league,” goalie Carter Hart said, “so you want to stay out of the box as much as you can.”

“When you go out to play against a team like that, one of your game plans is to make sure you don’t take penalties,” Giroux said. “They play fast and have players that move fast.”

Philly did a great job as they allowed only one goal in those five chances, but the Flyers could never get into an offensive rhythm because they were constantly playing defense.

Edmonton was outshot by a 25-21 margin in the first 40 minutes, but the Oilers had a huge territorial advantage, especially in the second period, when they made it 2-0 as Kailer Yamamoto scored on a rebound with 4:50 left in the stanza. On Yamamoto’s even-strength goal, the Flyers failed to clear bodies in front and Hart had no chance on the wild scramble.

5. Hart and Koskinen impressed their goalie mentor.

Edmonton’s goalie coach, Justin Schwartz, happens to be Hart’s coach in the summer. Hart lives in suburban Edmonton.

Schwartz had an enjoyable night. He watched his goalie, Koskinen, stop all 39 shots,  and his other pupil, Hart, stop 29 of 31.

The 6-foot-7 Koskinen entered the night with a 3.13 GAA and a .901 save percentage, but he was very good Tuesday and notched his first shutout since 2019.

The Flyers, you may have noticed, have a way of making average-to-poor goalies look like the second coming of Bernie Parent.

The Flyers had a 39-32 shots advantage, but most of them were fired from the perimeter.

“We certainly didn’t make things hard enough for their goalie, as far as taking his eyes away, making things difficult and getting those second chances,” Yeo said.

Breakaways

Scouts from Colorado (hmmm), Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, Anaheim, Minnesota, St. Louis, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Detroit, the Rangers, Ottawa, New Jersey, and Edmonton were at the game. … Travis Konecny played in his 400th career game. … McDavid tops the NHL with 77 points, one more than Draisaitl, who is tied for the NHL lead with 37 goals. Toronto’s Auston Matthews also has 37. … The Flyers were blanked for the fifth time this season. … Travis Sanheim had nine shot attempts, including three on goal, and said he was upset with himself for not converting some Grade A chances. … Cam Atkinson had a team-high five shots on goal. … The Flyers, now 1-3-1 on their eight-game homestand, host Minnesota on Thursday.

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