Thursday gave the Flyers a chance to pull two points closer to their division foe, the Washington Capitals. However, they would produce another error filled outing that translated to a disappointing loss, despite dominating 5 v. 5 possession metrics.
CF:16 CA:11 CF%: 59.26% ZENO:2
The first period was nearly a perfect specimen of the frustrating brand of hockey the Flyers have delivered thus far this season. They competed hard, made smart plays, and were starting to engage in the suffocating brand of neutral zone defense they can play, and looked good doing it. Of course there was an exception on two separate occasions, which turned the tide.
In what has become routine, the Flyers squandered 18 minutes of sharp play with a few foolish decisions. A bad connection between Elliott and Provorov led to an Ovechkin goal. Elliott needed to make a smarter play, it was an unforced error.
A bad exchange between Aube-Kubel and Sanheim, coupled with a Gustafsson positioning malfunction led to a Conor Sheary breakaway goal. There was a lot that went wrong at once. NAK or Sanheim could have played the puck deep. Gustafsson could have adopted a more defensive position.
In both cases, poor decisions introduced needless risk. It changed an even period into one where the Flyers trailed.
CA:15 CF:7 CF%: 68.18% ZENO:2
The Flyers posted excellent possession metrics again in the second period, out chancing the Caps by twelve, but bad luck and sloppy play in the defensive end left them trailing on the score board again.
CA:9 CA:6 CF%: 60.00 % ZENO:1
Finally the Flyers offence had a bit of a spark, with Provorov sniping during a stretch of 4 v. 4 play. Laughton would rip a wrist shot on the rush. But the Flyers could not muster enough for the tying goal before the Caps would score an empty netter to secure the victory.
Unlike the previous periods, the Flyers were able to cover their defensive end adequately. The team did not introduce needless risk to claw back into the game. The difference between the third period and the others was the elimination of the careless plays.
PHI D Justin Braun CF:18 CA:2 CF%: 90.00%
Braun had a monster possession night. He was able to limit chances, only yielding two, one of which he had little to do with as it was Elliott’s ill-fated pass that Ovechkin scored on. Braun was noticeable on offense as well, picking up two shots and had several good passes.
WAS D Justin Schultz CF:4 CF:15 CF%: 21.05%
Schultz spent much time in his own end and was cool under extended pressure. He was effective enough to prevent the Flyers from scoring while he was on the ice.
CF:40 CA:24 CF%: 62.5% ZENO:5
Mistakes outweighed possession on the ice in this one. Looking just at the corsi stats, it would seem that the Flyers would have easily won, taking each period’s possessions stats.
In reality the game was a two goal loss by the Orange and Black driven by mental mistakes. Save for six minutes in the third period, the game lacked a competitive feel.
There are a variety of areas where the Flyers do not seem to be performing, but it is fair to question if all of the issues are stemming from team wide sloppy play. If the team could eliminate the mental mistakes, it is possible a lot of the other problems would diminish or even disappear.