Flyers Focus: Diving Deep Into Tuesday’s OT Loss



“It’s easy to get jacked up for the Rangers game or the Penguins game, but these are the games you have to have.”

That’s the message Brayden Schenn sent to reporters following the Flyers 4-3 overtime loss to the Sabres on Tuesday.

The Flyers were able to gain one point on home ice against the young, yet lowly Sabres but another trend is becoming more and more prevalent.

At times last season, especially down the stretch, the Flyers found themselves playing to their competition.   In fact, the team finished the 2014-15 season with a 7-8-7 record in its last 22 games.  In the Flyers’ seven wins, they beat NYR, STL, DET, CHI, PIT (x2) and NYI.  These teams all had one thing in common: they each made the playoffs.  Combined, these six teams had a .579 win percentage which extrapolates out to over 100 points in an 82-game season.

The teams accounting for the Flyers’ 15 regulation or overtime losses in the season’s final two months you ask? How about (CAR (x3), TOR, CGY (x2) BOS, NJD, DAL, STL, OTT (x2), VAN, EDM and SJ.  Combine those teams’ records, you get a win percentage of .471.

Simply put, the Flyers have not been good at beating bad teams.

New season, new coach, new personnel, but this core has to right that wrong.

The Sabres entered the Wells Fargo Center as owners of a 2-6-0 record.  They’d outshot opponents on the season but had been outscored 23-16 in the eight games they’d played.

Schenn’s two third period goals helped to salvage an otherwise flat performance.  Dave Hakstol’s club was playing catch up from the jump after falling behind 2-0 in the first period.

It’s only one game, but if the Flyers plan to get back to the playoffs this season under their new head coach, they’ll have to begin beating the teams with lesser talent.



A year ago, the Flyers boasted one of the most feared power play units in the NHL.  This season, they’re not off to the desired start.  The team has scored just four power play goals in 26 opportunities.  That 15.4% rate is good for 9th-worst in the league.  Compared to last year’s mark of 23.4% (3rd in NHL) with largely the same players running its top two units, you can expect to see an uptick in production as the year moves forward


We’re eight games into the season at time of writing and Jake Voracek has still failed to light the lamp.  I don’t see this as something that’s crazy concerning.  Especially playing on the team’s top line with a playmaker like Claude Giroux, the goals will come.  If Voracek can start to produce, it will make the Flyers that much better in both power play and even strength situations.


During his first four appearances of the season, Steve Mason was less than stellar.  Before leaving the team to tend to a family matter, Mason posted a 1-2-1 record with a .879 SV%.  Not what we’ve come to expect from the Flyers netminder.  Since his return, however, Mason has been very good.  He dazzled hometown fans with 37 saves in a shootout victory over the Rangers on Saturday then followed that effort up with a 36 save performance against the Sabres.  Without Mason’s .924 SV% in his last two games, the Flyers would not have been able to secure the three points it did in the last week.


GM Ron Hextall had a decision to make when he acquired Sam Gagner for veteran defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of Chris Pronger…either keep the former #8 overall pick or buy him out.  It looks like Hexy made the right call by hanging on to the skilled forward.

Gagner has been questioned in his past for being a defensive liability but thus far has tallied four points in six games played and still has not been on the ice for a goal against.  For now, his spot is safe in the Flyers lineup.

For the third consecutive game, Hakstol had to shuffle his forward deck due to an in-game injury.  Pierre-Edouard Bellemare left the Sabres game with a lower body injury and will miss at least two weeks.  Due to his absence, Vincent Lecavalier will reportedly make his season debut when the Flyers take the ice against the Devils on Thursday.

Lecavalier’s contract is one of the many gifts left under the tree by Paul Holmgren for Ron Hextall.  Lecavalier’s success before joining the Flyers borders on Hall of Fame worthy.  If he can recapture some magic from his youth, the team will be much better, but I wouldn’t suggest that you hold your breath waiting for the 35-year-old to round into form.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Flyers honored the retirement of Danny Briere.  Flat out one of the best clutch performers to ever don the Orange and Black.  In 68 postseason games as a Flyer, Briere scored 37 goals and added 35 assists.  Briere also led the NHL in the 2010 postseason with an astounding 30 points in 23 games as the team made its unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Finals.  A fitting salute to an all-around good guy.


Ageless Wonder Award – Mark Streit

Saturday against the Rangers, Streit scored his second goal of the season and skated a team-high 24:39 in the OT win.  Currently, Streit owns the team lead with six points (2 G, 4 A) through eight games.  At 37 years old, Streit is somehow managing to play at a level that justifies his cap hit of $5.25M.  A more-than-pleasant surprise.

Keep Up The Nastiness Award(s) – Claude Giroux and Sam Gagner

As noted in our recap Saturday, captain Claude Giroux and new addition Sam Gagner can do some scary things with the puck.  It’s been a long time since the team has had a pair of dependable scorers in a shootout lineup, but these two look like they could end that drought.  If you missed their shootout performance, take a peek here:


The New Jersey Devils come to town for the first of four matchups this season.  The Flyers; I-95 rivals are 4-4-1, sitting just one point behind Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division under new head coach John Hynes.  Mike Cammalleri is pretending that it’s 2008 again and (somehow) leads the team with 11 points in the team’s nine games.  Last season, the Flyers were outscored 17-12 and held a 1-3-0 record against the Devils.

Following that contest, they’ll kick off a five-game road swing.  Starting with a chance at redemption in Buffalo before heading north of the border to take on Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Next: Flyers Focus: OT Win Snaps Streak of Ineptitude

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