Flyers Weekly Recap: Can’t Win ‘Em All

The Flyers had a somewhat disappointing week against the Sabres and Bruins. The Flyers took only three points out of the eight points possible.

Saturday 1/16/21:

The team announced forward Sean Couturier will be out two weeks with a rib separation. This is a big loss for Philadelphia as it’s estimated the Selke Award winner will miss about seven games in that time frame. In a 56 game season, it’s going to feel like a lot more than seven games. In response, the guys in orange plugged Morgan Frost into the lineup but that went south quickly later in the week.

Monday 1/18/21:

Philadelphia took on the Buffalo Sabres in the first game of a back-to-back series.

Before the game, Philadelphia and Sabres came together to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and Willie O’Ree, the first black player in NHL history, who debuted on January 18th, 1958.

The team looked flat in the first period. It was very clear that the winless Sabres wanted it more.

Around the four-minute mark, Curtis Lazar would throw a wicked backhanded shot past Carter Hart to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. They would be lucky to get out of the period only allowing one goal.

In the second period, things only got worse for the Flyers defense. Carter Hart would commit the first penalty of his career when he “tripped” Curtis Lazar, sending the Sabres to the power play where Sam Reinhart would score from an almost impossible angle. Sabres 2, Flyers 0.

That wasn’t Reinhart’s only goal of the night though. Just about three minutes later the puck miraculously found its way to the slot where Reinhart was just waiting for it. He moved it off his backhand and fired a shot under Carter Hart’s arm giving the Sabres a 3-0 lead.

Curtis Lazar wasn’t done either. Two minutes after Reinhart’s second goal, Brandon Montour floated a puck off of Hart’s shoulder. The puck would ping-pong its way over to Lazar who had an easy tap in goal. Carter Hart was pulled prematurely for the first time in his career and the Sabres were up 4-0.

The Flyers had some decent chances to get that goose egg off the scoreboard to start the third period, but Sabres goalie Carter Hutton shut them all down.

Around the halfway point, Sabres defensemen Henri Jokiharju threw a puck toward Brian Elliot that literally didn’t leave the ice. It snuck all the way past three Flyers and eventually bounced off Erik Gustafsson’s skate and into the back of the net. 5-0 Sabres…

The Flyers would finally crack the score scoresheet when Michael Raffl side-stepped a hit at the blue line, moved the puck to his backhand, and sauced it over to Nicolas Aube-Kubel who one-timed it home. Bye-bye shutout!

The Sabres tacked on one more goal after Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s hit that would end up costing him a fine by the National Hockey League. Victor Olofsson would fire it past Elliot after some great passing by Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall.

Final score, Buffalo 6, Flyers 1. Not a very fun game for the team wearing orange.

Tuesday 1/19/21:

Brian Elliot got the start for the Flyers on Tuesday night.

In the first period, Ivan Provorov laid his body on the line blocking what would’ve been a power-play goal for the Sabres. The Flyers also killed a five on three penalty but couldn’t capitalize on the momentum. Overall both teams had some good chances, but couldn’t convert.

Things started to heat up in the second period after Ivan Provorov was pushed by Brandon Montour into Carter Hutton. Montour got mad and went after Provorov, which really made no sense because Montour was the one that pushed Provorov. No penalties were called.

Both Morgan Frost and Philippe Myers exited the game in the second period. The Flyers announced Frost suffered a dislocated shoulder and would be out indefinitely. Myers suffered a fractured rib and is considered week-to-week. These are huge losses for the Flyers, and you really got to feel bad for Morgan Frost who is trying to prove he belongs with the big club.

The Flyers finally broke through when Oskar Lindblom fired a long cross-ice pass to Travis Konecny, who played it off the boards and found himself on a breakaway. Konecny did a quick head fake, moved the puck to his backhand, and slid it under the five-hole of Hutton, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead with about two minutes left in the second period.

The Flyers would put the game away with about six minutes remaining in the third period when Erik Gustafsson lobbed a pass to Kevin Hayes that helped set up a 2-on-1 with Jakub Voracek. Hayes made a nice pass to Voracek who slapped it into the net.

Last but not least, Kevin Hayes scored an empty-net goal all the way from his own zone.

Final score, Flyers 3, Sabres 0. Brian Elliot made 40 saves and got the shutout in his first start of the season.

Thursday 1/21/21:

The Flyers hit the road for the first time this season when they shipped off to Boston for a two-game series.

Neither team would score in the first as Carter Hart stopped all 14 shots that came his way.

With the Flyers on the power play, Claude Giroux snapped a wrist shot that barely hit Travis Konecny’s jersey and into the back of the net, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead about halfway through the period. The goal was the first power play goal Boston had given up all season, breaking a 13/13 streak.

Then with about two minutes left in the second, James van Riemsdyk scored on a tic-tac-toe goal, shoveling it into the net right after the Bruins had killed a penalty.

Philly had a two goal lead heading into the third period, but during the intermission, the Bruins decided they didn’t like that.

It all started when David Krejci made a nice spin-o-rama pass to Jack Studnicka, who would tap it past Hart for his first NHL goal 57 seconds into the period.  Just a minute later Craig Smith made a miraculous play to keep the puck in the Flyers zone. He fired it off of Carter Hart’s pads and right onto the stick of Charlie Coyle. Coyle spun and shot it right between Hart’s legs to tie the game at two apiece.

The Bruins seemed to be controlling the game for most of the third period until Travis Sanheim crashed the net hard and a Jake Voracek pass just bounced off his skate and past Rask. The Flyers somehow led 3-2!

The Bruins just wouldn’t die though. After a bad offensive zone penalty by the Flyers, Nick Ritchie scored to even it back up.

The game went to a shootout where the Bruins won the game with a final score of 5-4.

Saturday 1/23/21:

Carter Hart got the start again looking for his first win since the Penguins series.

Unfortunately, the Bruins would open up the scoring when Patrice Bergeron scored to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period.

The Flyers would only have four shots on net in the first period.

In the opening minute of the second period, Carter Hart made a sprawling, scorpion-like, save to keep the Bruins from taking a two-goal lead. 20 seconds later, Kevin Hayes deflected a Jakub Voracek shot past Jaroslav Halak to tie the game!

The tie wouldn’t last very long. Craig Smith picked up an easy tap in goal after some poor coverage by the Flyers defense, giving Boston a 2-1 lead.

Later in the period, Charlie Coyle scored on a nice one-handed deflection goal and it seemed like any chances the Flyers had of coming back were gone.

The Bruins would score three goals in the third. Erik Gustafsson’s mistakes are embarrassing and they are leaving the rest of the team out to dry. In the last four games, he’s a -2 in the plus-minus category, he’s not the Matt Niskanen Flyers fans were hoping for. The defense really needs to step up the rest of the season if they want to be a good hockey team.

Final score, Bruins 6, Flyers 1. The second time the Flyers lost by that score this week.

Looking Ahead

Next week, the Flyers will play two games in New Jersey against the Devils before coming home to take on the New York Islanders.