Shorthanded goal no. 4: December 11, 2013 – Flyers @ Blackhawks
Chicago was the final destination on a tough road trip for the Flyers. They set out on Nov. 30 to play the Predators, and then played the Wild, Red Wings and Stars in a three-day span. After a tough shootout loss to the Senators, the Flyers wanted to end the road trip on a good note. The Blackhawks spoiled that idea, hammering the Flyers with seven goals en route to a 7-2 win.
The Flyers were only down by a goal with 14 minutes left in the second period when they were given a power play.
A pass went up the boards to Voracek. Again, he failed to settle the puck and Handzus made his move. He angled Voracek off the puck and darted up the ice with Marcus Kruger. Handzus’ shot just made it past Ray Emery to put the ‘Hawks up 3-1.
Handzus was able to score because Voracek got lazy on this play. He stopped moving his feet for just one second and that allowed Handzus to get an extra step on him.
Shorthanded goal no. 5: December 19, 2013 – Flyers vs. Blue Jackets
Fans will remember this game because of Giroux’s falling goal that put the Flyers over the .500 mark.
Prior to the Flyers comeback, the Blue Jackets owned this game. Almost four minutes were left in the first period when Voracek, again, turned the puck over at the blue line.
This is where the situation changes with defensemen covering a two-on-one. Braydon Coburn had to cover the shooter here because of how close he was to the net. Steve Mason has better lateral quickness than Emery, so there is a strong chance Mason would have made a stop.
The goal comes down to Voracek. He needs to keep the puck in the zone. Cam Atkinson deserves credit for his defensive coverage, but Voracek has to control the puck.
Shorthanded goal no. 6: January 7, 2014 – Flyers @ Devils
This is the most frustrating of all the shorthanded goals the Flyers gave up.
The orange and black were up by a goal with less than a minute to go in the third period…and got caught in their own end…by a team with one less player on the ice…with Coburn and Timonen on the ice.
Michael Ryder scored on an open net with not a single Flyer near him. Brayden Schenn would score in overtime, but the Flyers gave the Devils a point. Ryder was able to get so open because he got lost in coverage. The Flyers missed their defensive assignments and Ryder went unnoticed on the weakside.
One reason Marek Zidlicky was able to get the puck to Ryder was because Giroux left his feet. He cut out a shooting lane, but gave Zidlicky enough room to skate by and find open ice. Scott Hartnell got caught puck watching and Ryder may have been his man.
Regardless of the outcome, this goal came down to a busted defensive coverage.
The first half of the Flyers shorthanded goals were a combination of a few elements. Poor decision making with the puck, inconsistent backchecking and missed defensive assignments cost the Flyers several goals and chances to take control. As the year progressed, they got better with the puck, but they still made some poor decisions.
Part Two will be posted tomorrow.