5 Observations: Flyers Fall to Caps As Offense Struggles Again
The Philadelphia Flyers slipped to 1-2 in the preseason with a 3-1 loss Wednesday to the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center.
Here are five quick observations:
1. The Flyers continued to struggle offensively.
They had just 21 shots for the second straight game. They had too many one-and-dones, and too many shots from the perimeter.
Hey, it’s early, right?
The Flyers have scored a total of four goals over three preseason games — winning 2-1 against Boston, dropping a 2-1 decision to Buffalo, and losing, 3-1, to the Caps.
Expect a lot of low-scoring games this season because the Flyers, especially without Sean Couturier, don’t have a lot of firepower. If they are going to be competitive, they will need to win a lot of 2-1-type games.
🚨 GOAL! 🚨
Hollywood buries a feed from Tipper and cuts the deficit in half. #WSHvsPHI pic.twitter.com/dLx81Ap2yX
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 29, 2022
2. Kevin Hayes, playing his first preseason game, and his young wingers gave the Flyers some life.
With Couturier sidelined, Hayes will start the season as the Flyers’ No. 1 center. He was between left winger Owen Tippett and right winger Tyson Foerster for most of the night.
Early in the third, Wade Allison (eight hits) replaced Foerster, and his check caused a turnover in Philly’s offensive zone. That created a two-on-one in which Tippett skillfully fed an all-alone Hayes for a one-timer, getting the Flyers within 2-1 with 16:16 left in regulation.
“I obviously scored, but it wouldn’t have happened without him,” Hayes said about Allison. “He’s one of those guys trying to certify himself in the NHL, and I think he’s doing a good job.”
But Dylan Strome (two goals), finishing a 2-on-0, made it 3-1 with 3:40 remaining.
3. After a scoreless opening period, the Flyers were dominated in the second.
Ivan Provorov couldn’t control a bouncing puck in his own zone, and it led to a goal by Connor Brown as he beat a partially screened Felix Sandstrom. The Caps continued to swarm and win a lot of puck battles. About three minutes after Brown’s goal, Strome scored on the power play to make it 2-0. (Brown and Strome were offseason additions for Washington.)
The Philadelphia Flyers’ penalty kill had been 10 for 10 in the preseason before Strome deposited a one-timer from the right circle.
Washington had 10 of the first 12 shots in the second.
4. Goaltender Felix Sandstrom stayed in the running for the backup spot.
The 25-year-old Swede stopped all 17 shots he faced in a 2-1 win over Boston on Saturday, and he turned away 13 of 15 in two periods on Wednesday before being replaced by Sam Ersson.
Sandstrom probably will want one of the two goals back, but overall he has done a good job as he battles Troy Grosenick for the No. 2 spot.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) September 29, 2022
5. In their first time together in a preseason game, the No. 1 pairing of Ivan Provorov and Tony DeAngelo was just OK.
Earlier in the day, associate coach Brad Shaw said he was eager to see how the Provorov-DeAngelo pairing looked. They had some good and bad moments, which was to be expected as they work toward building chemistry. The duo was on the ice during a sloppy sequence that led to the Caps’ first goal.
They are “still learning to play together,” Shaw said after the game. “They’re two very different players. And they both like the puck.”
Shaw said plenty of adjustments will be made before they get in sync.
“They give us the best opportunity against top players,” he said.
The Philadelphia Flyers outhit the Caps, 46-22. … Rasmus Ristolainen had five hits and had an active stick breaking up plays. … Philly is now halfway through its six-game exhibition schedule, and its next game is Saturday afternoon in Boston at 1 p.m. (NBC Sports Philadelphia+). … Washington’s Peter Laviolette (717) and the Flyers’ John Tortorella (673) are one-two, respectively, in wins among U.S.-born coaches. … The Caps’ Charlie Lindgren robbed Allison of a first-period goal with a point-blank save. Allison took a big second-period hit and briefly left the ice before returning. … Tanner Laczynski centered Nic Deslauriers (nine hits) and Hayden Hodgson on a hard-nosed line. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that unit being together at the start of the season. … Nick Seeler blocked four shots, and Scott Laughton won 69% of his faceoffs (9 of 13).