Flyers

Five Observations from the Flyers’ 5-1 Loss to the Lightning

YONG KIM | PHILLY.COM

Well, that escalated quickly. He said in his best Ron Burgundy voice.

The Flyers are heading into the All-Star break with a sour taste in their mouths as they got their doors blown off at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1, on Thursday night.

While there was no scoring in the first period, the Flyers looked every bit the part of a team tied for second place in the Metropolitan Division. They were keeping pace with the best team not only in the Eastern Conference, but the entire National Hockey League. But that lasted a little over 20 minutes.

The Lightning took a power play into the second period where the Flyers successfully killed it off, but shortly after, the Lightning would score to make it a 1-0 game. About nine minutes later the Bolts added another goal to double their lead.

With the Flyers on a power play, Ryan Callahan made the most of a Jake Voracek error. The former Rangers captain carried the puck past center ice, made Shayne Gostisbehere look silly, and undressed Michal Neuvirth for their third goal of the night. The second period ended soon after that.

It took 13:18 into the third period, but the Flyers finally got on the board thanks to a Travis Konecny goal on a power play. But the Bolts crushed any chance of a comeback by scoring less than a minute later. Then they scored one more time before the final buzzer to make it 5-1.

Now let’s get to my five observations of this game, one for every goal allowed:

1. Goaltending.

This game wasn’t all bad, believe it or not. The Flyers put 37 shots on net, they just ran into an incredibly hot goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy, as he was 28-9-2 with a 2.21 GAA and a .930 save percentage going into Thursday night’s game. The Flyers peppered him all night long, but couldn’t figure him out.

The downfall, however, was that the Michal Neuvirth couldn’t stop a thing in net. He only saw 22 shots but allowed five goals. Knowing the Flyers were facing a hot goaltender, Neuvy needed to step up and he fell flat.

Brian Elliott is currently battling a lower-body injury and is listed as “day-to-day”. He should be back by the time the All-Star break is over. If not, Neuvy will hold down the starting job with Alex Lyon behind him. Personally I would like to see what Lyon’s got. Who knows, maybe he can be this season’s Matt Murray.

2. Travis Konecny stays hot.

Philadelphia’s second favorite #11 scored again on Thursday night, this time on the power play. TK is really coming into his own and playing very confident hockey. This is great timing as the Flyers are going to need as many weapons as they can in order to make this playoff run a reality.

3. The Flyers need help defensively.

Let’s face it, outside of the Provo-Ghost pairing, the Flyers don’t have much going on at the blue line. Robert Hägg plays a solid game, but he’s rarely on the stat sheet. He’s young and has some upside, though. Andrew MacDonald is an okay pairing for him, but he’s hit or miss as well. The third pairing of Brandon Manning-Radko Gudas is kind of a liability. Sure they both have their moments but there are improvements that could be made there.

It would be one thing if the Flyers were struggling defensively with young guys and rookies like Travis Sanheim, who was recently sent down to the AHL to get some playing time, Sam Morin, or Mark Alt. At least those guys appear to have bright NHL futures ahead of them. A-Mac, Manning, and even Gudas could be upgraded. With that said…

4. The Flyers could be buyers at the deadline.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Prior to Thursday night’s game the Flyers were tied with the Devils for the second seed in the Metro division. The Flyers are in good position to make the playoffs and they could use a little help. Maybe Ron Hextall will try to sure up the blue line or try to acquire a little scoring help. Who knows, but for the first time in what seems like an eternity the Flyers might make a splash at the deadline.

5. At the end of the day…

The Flyers are still in pretty good position. This loss hurts but it can be a good learning experience. The Lightning are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Despite what the score says the game could have been a lot closer.

On behalf of the Philly Influencer team, I would like to wish Claude Giroux, the Flyers lone All-Star, the best at the game in Tampa.

The Flyers return to action on January 31st against the Capitals in Washington D.C.

Some lowlights from Thursday night’s game:

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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