5 observations: Flyers shoot blanks in sleepy road finale in Winnipeg
In their final road game of a disastrous season, the Philadelphia Flyers suffered a sleepy 4-0 loss Wednesday in Winnipeg.
One down, one to go.
That would be Friday’s season finale against the visiting Ottawa Senators, a game in which the Flyers (25-45-11) and their fans will be put out of their misery.
The Flyers, decimated by injuries most of the season, finished with an 11-25-5 road record. There’s only been one season since 1991-92 in which they had fewer road wins.
One down, one to go.
Winnipeg goalie Eric Comrie, 26, who has been waived three times in his career, made 34 saves and collected the first NHL shutout in his 27-game career.
The Flyers were blanked for the seventh time this season.
Interim coach Mike Yeo said the Flyers “didn’t have all our jump tonight.” He said the early penalties had them “chasing” the game the rest of the way.
“We didn’t seem to have the energy to come back,” Yeo said.
Here are five observations on their latest loss:
1. The Flyers’ position in the draft lottery improved.
The May 10 draft lottery is based on points accumulated in the regular season. The fewer points, the better your chances of winning the lottery.
The Flyers remained with the fourth-lowest point total in the NHL, and didn’t catch the Devils.
Philly has 61 points, two fewer than New Jersey, which has two games left. Seattle has 58 points, the third-worst total. The Kraken blew a 2-0 lead and lost Wednesday to Los Angeles, 5-3.
The Flyers are assured of finishing with the third-, fourth- (likely), or fifth-worst point total.
To see how the lottery race looked entering Wednesday, click here.
A fake Gritty and a Giroux fan in Winnipeg tonight. Photo: Zack Hill. #Flyers pic.twitter.com/DAZJbWkz8H
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 27, 2022
2. Special teams still a problem.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (28th goal) scored 10 seconds after the Jets’ first power play started, giving Winnipeg a 1-0 lead with 14:37 left in the first. He beat surprised goalie Felix Sandstrom after making a spin move from the side of the net.
With 12:27 left in the second, Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 28th goal while on a five-on-three Winnipeg power play, putting a shot under Sandstrom’s right arm.
Meanwhile, the Flyers had problems getting the puck into the offensive zone, let alone getting quality chances, on their first power play in the opening period. They were outshot, 2-0, on their initial power play. Not good.
They finished the night 0 for 4, making them 2 for 41 (4.9%) over their last 14 games. Winnipeg was 2 for 5.
If you combine the success rate of their power play and penalty kill, the Flyers are last in the NHL this season.
Deadly precision from number 2⃣7⃣ 🎯
🍏: Blake Wheeler#GoJetsGo | #PHIvsWPG https://t.co/8KRQopoRIy pic.twitter.com/yLz2UKRQSk
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 28, 2022
3. Joel Farabee continues to search for goals.
Farabee was moved from center back to his natural position, left wing, but he still struggled. Playing 17:23, he had two shots, both in the waning minutes.
He was on a line with center Kevin Hayes and Bobby Brink.
In his last 11 games, Farabee has just one goal and is minus-12.
4. The Flyers have lacked resiliency all season, so Wednesday wasn’t a surprise.
When the Flyers fall behind, rarely do they recover. So when the Jets scored first, there was a “here we go again” feeling that resonated.
The Flyers are now 5-36-4 when allowing the game’s first goal. That and the fumbling special teams are just two of the many areas that need correcting next season.
5. Felix Sandstrom wasn’t at his best.
The rookie played solidly in his first four starts and had a .914 save percentage, but he wasn’t as sharp Wednesday. He stopped 23 of 26 shots.
“It wasn’t my best game tonight, but I have to keep battling,” he said. “It doesn’t get better if you get down on yourself.”
Sandstrom, 25, is 0-4-1. He can become an unrestricted free agent, and it will be interesting to see if the Philadelphia Flyers resign him this summer.
Kyle Connor (three points) scored an empty-net goal to make it 4-0. It was his 45th goal, tops in a single Winnipeg season since the Jets relocated from Atlanta. … Montreal (10) is the only NHL team with fewer road wins that the Flyers (11). … Former Flyers great Reggie Leach was at the game and visited the press box. … It was the Flyers’ first game in Winnipeg since Dec. 15, 2019. … Travis Konecny had his six-game point streak snapped. … Snake-bitten Owen Tippett has had about 50 chances since being acquired by the Flyers last month, but has just three goals in 20 games. He had five shots Wednesday. “Poor Tipper played one of the best games you’re going to see without scoring a goal,” Yeo said. … The late Keith Allen and Rod Brind’Amour are among nominees on the ballot for the 2022 Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Allen should be a no-brainer.