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3 Flyers Takeaways from Senators Loss: Farabee Shines, Team Lacks Focus

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The Ottawa Senators forced the Philadelphia Flyers into a host of sloppy moments with the puck on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: AP)

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers, undone by former friends Claude Giroux and Zack MacEwen, fell to the Ottawa Senators, 5-3, at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

After a tough Saturday loss in a more than manageable game against the Colorado Avalanche, the Flyers again fell thanks in large part due to another incomplete effort, this time to a Senators team far inferior to the Avalanche. Indeed, it was the second leg of a home back-to-back for the Flyers, but they came out less prepared than a struggling Ottawa team that was also playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, as well as having to travel for it.

Zamula, Flyers Power Play Stand Out

After a dismal effort with the man advantage against the Avalanche on Saturday, the Flyers were much sharper on Sunday. Egor Zamula and Joel Farabee each had one goal and one assist on the power play as the team 2-for-4 overall. In contrast to Saturday, the power play was not complimentary of any play style in particular.

As far as the rebuild and looking towards the future, this was a game that Zamula, in general, can hang his hat on. The 23-year-old did fail to corral a puck at the blueline that would have otherwise removed the opportunity for Zack MacEwen to score past Sam Ersson on a breakaway.

“I had mistake today on the blueline,” the Zamula admitted, unprompted. “I think this mistake pretty bad for me; for my team, too, because Ottawa start playing better after my mistake.”

Zamula, however, did score a power play goal that bought the Flyers an early lead. Nobody caught wind of the loose puck but him.

“I see this puck and I think nobody see,” the Russian said of his first goal. “I look at net and I see open net. Everybody looking for right side. So, I’m happy shoot on open net.”

Farabee Continues to Shine for Flyers

Farabee, another power play hero, continued his recent stretch of dominance on Sunday. His one-goal, two-assist performance against the Senators gives him 17 goals, 22 assists, and 39 points in 47 games.

Farabee matches his career-high of 39, set in 82 games last season. In 2020-21, the 23-year-old scored 38 points in 55 games.

On all fronts, Farabee is producing at the highest level of his young career.

“I’m just going out there playing, honestly,” he said. “I don’t think I’m thinking too much about what’s going on. . . I don’t really feel like I’ve changed anything in my game from the beginning of the year.”

Although the game against the Senators was a strong one individually for ‘Philly Joel’, a win just wasn’t in the cards. Clearly, guys were worn down, playing 11/7 on the second half of a back-to-back.

“I don’t know if it’s specifically one thing,” Farabee said of the Flyers’ struggles Sunday. “Obviously [a] back-to-back, third period for both teams, everyone’s playing tired. I think it’s just a mental focus thing. Obviously some bounces didn’t go our way, but I feel like the effort was there.”

One example of a lack of mental focus was Nick Seeler’s cross-ice pass late in the period. Mathieu Joseph intercepted the pass, raced down the ice, and flicked a pass past Seeler for Vladimir Tarasenko to bang home for the game-winner.

The pass is one thing, but failing to at least cut off the pass option to help Ersson was another.

Flyers’ Forechecking, Cycle Offense Struggles Continue

One guy who did have an answer on Sunday was head coach John Tortorella, and he wasn’t overly pleased with the 60 minutes he oversaw.

“We didn’t generate enough. Against that team, you let some of their skilled [players] play in your end, it’s a recipe for not a really good game,” Tortorella offered. “We didn’t make enough plays. We did not establish a forecheck. We were just one-and-done; second half of the game, we were just one-and-done.”

They just generated so much momentum off of their goals,” Tortorella said of Ottawa, explaining further. “Once they scored they generated momentum. We score that third goal, we have to play with a two-goal lead for a while. Just for five or six minutes. We can’t get hurt right away, and they generated momentum off it. Give ’em credit.”

It’s worth noting that, with 11 forwards, it’s harder to establish a forecheck with tired legs, and especially so with nine forwards and only three lines rolling.

The Flyers replaced their fastest skater – the injured Owen Tippett – with their slowest in Nick Deslauriers. Deslauriers played 5:12.

That’s not a shot at Deslauriers, who is actually one of the team’s better grinders and forecheckers. He’s the guy the Flyers should want out there doing that, and Tortorella barely played him.

Ryan Poehling, on the other hand, only managed to play 9:23.

In general, this feels like a game where Tortorella and the Flyers weren’t at their best with their in-game management. They just missed on their evaluation of the team’s fatigue and how to play this Senators team.

This time of the year is the playoffs before the playoffs, and the all-around lackluster game cost them another two points.

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