The frustration felt like déjà vu. Hayes shattered his stick into pieces on Monday. These days the Flyers are probably using more sticks than usual.
Frustration – on the part of the club and its fans – reached a palpable level Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers’ problematic March hit a new low. The Flyers lost 4-3 to the Devils.
Two goals from Sean Couturier in the third period brought the score closer, but the Flyers did not equal.
As the second period buzzer sounded, the Flyers (15-12-4) heard shrill boos from the 2,882 fans in attendance.
The dissatisfaction expressed was justified.
“We have a lot of confidence in our group,” said Claude Giroux after the match. “We still think we’re going to make the playoffs. We need to be a little more consistent in our game. It starts with me. You can’t play a good game and then a bad game and go on like that. We need to collect some games here. ”
The Devils (12-14-4) are 1-2-0 against the Flyers this season.
• With a press conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET, GM Chuck Fletcher will be giving his typical state of the team address midway through the season.
It will not be a complimentary address.
In many key areas across the board, the Flyers have regressed from last season, which saw the team win their first playoff series since 2012 and return to an Eastern Conference Finals game.
Here’s where the Flyers are through 31 games compared to last season’s opening 31 games:
- Record: 17-9-5 (39 points)
- Goals per game: 3.03
- Goals allowed per match: 2.68
- Power play: 17.9%
- Penalty kill: 85,1%
- Shots per game: 32.5
- Shots allowed per game: 28.8
- Record: 15-12-4 (34 points)
- Goals per game: 3.10
- Goals allowed per match: 3.52
- Power play: 19.1%
- Penalty: 74.5%
- Shots per game: 28.4
- Shots allowed per game: 29.4
Equally unsettling, the Flyers have also regressed throughout the season. It would be one thing if they started to find their identity after a slow start.
It was not the case.
In March, the Flyers only held an intermission four times. Thirteen games in their March 17-game list, the Flyers are 4-8-1 and have conceded 57 goals (4.38 per game). They allowed 52 goals in their first 18 games in which they placed 11-4-3 before the March slip.
After allowing 2.77 goals per game last season, tied for seventh in the NHL, the Flyers are allowing 3.52 goals per game this season. Only the Senators give up more at 3.82.
“We know we weren’t good enough, we are very aware of that,” said Alain Vigneault before the game. “We know we have to improve. Our goal is to get into the playoffs, that’s our number one goal and we’re working on it. To work on this we have to get on with business tonight and that is what we intend to do. ”
The Flyers haven’t and the head coach could ask his GM for help as soon as the evaluation warms up before the April 12 trade deadline.
Presumably the Flyers won’t buy like a Stanley Cup contender. Thirty-one games in 56 regular season games and the Flyers are still on the outside as the division’s playoff picture is loaded. Are they currently worth risking a big sacrifice to maybe make the playoffs?
Fletcher will be proactive in seeking help, but the Flyers need to be judicious in what they are willing to give up.
• The Flyers surrendered a goal in the last minute of the first and second periods. Travis Zajac took the honors in the second period for New Jersey, which set off the boos.
“I think overall, as a five-man unit, we are not doing as well as last year,” said Ivan Provorov. “We were playing a lot closer, a lot tighter, we were killing plays and we were able to get the puck earlier and spend less time in our zone. Lately we haven’t played the same way so I think that’s why there have been crashes and a lot more goals. ”
• Carter Hart came in with solid numbers in his young career against the Devils, but no record seems to matter much with the Flyers right now.
The 22-year-old made 28 saves on 32 shots. He can be better and the Flyers were porous in front of him. Have you ever heard this story?
New Jersey goalie Mackenzie Blackwood faced the Flyers for the first time this season. The 24-year-old went 2-0-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average and .955 save percentage during his career against the Flyers.
His impressive game against the Flyers continued as he converted 30 saves.
• The Flyers fell behind, 2-1, in the first intermission. In March, they were outscored 20-9 in the first period.
Difficult to win like that.
Michael McLeod gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead halfway through and Kyle Palmieri regained the lead with a power play with six seconds left in the period. The wait call on Travis Sanheim was highly questionable, but the Devils took advantage of it.
They were also the best team to start the game when the Flyers said ad nauseam they needed to build on a strong performance.
With inconsistent starts, you can see why they’ve allowed three or more goals in every game but one this month.
“It’s my job to work with these players,” Vigneault said after the game. “They are good players, they care, they want to win. Obviously, we have a consistency issue right now and it’s my job to find the right buttons to press – and that’s what I’ll continue to do. Obviously I haven’t found that yet, but I’m going to keep working, there’s no doubt in my mind that these guys had the best of intentions, but it seemed early on that we didn’t have much. in the tank. ”
• Joel Farabee scored his 14th goal in 30 games to bring the Flyers to the table in the first period. His marker came on the power play, which went 1 for 3.
On the other side of the Flyers’ special teams units, the penalty was 3 for 4. The Flyers committed four penalties before the game was halfway through.
• The Flyers leave practice Wednesday and host the Rangers Thursday (7 p.m. ET / NBCSP).
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