What Went Wrong with the Flyers?

Carter Hart (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Carter Hart (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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If the defense remained largely the same and the offense improved in many ways, then it seems to me like the real difference between the Flyers success in January and their struggles in March boils down to goal-tending.

During January, the duo of Carter Hart and Brian Elliott posted a solid .910 save percentage and kept the Flyers in several games that could have easily gotten out of hand. Conversely, the netminders the Flyers faced in January put up a pathetic .864 save percentage in games against the Orange and Black.

Offensively, the Flyers were able to up their overall pressure in March, but the goaltenders they faced rose to the challenge, posting a .918 save percentage and allowing a mere 46 goals on 564 shots against. The Flyers goalies, however, completely wilted under the sustained pressure, posting an atrocious .834 save percentage and gave up between five and nine goals in seven of their 17 games. There is simply no excuse for an NHL goalie to post numbers like these, regardless of how poorly their defense is playing.

This is not at all meant to excuse the performance of the defense corps. Bad defensive play has been the one constant for the Flyers all year. What has really changed is how their goaltending has reacted to it and how the opposition goaltending has reacted to the Flyers’ pressure.

Although goalie play may have cost the Flyers in March, there is a sliver of hope moving forward, as Elliott and Hart seem to have found some footing as of late. Though Elliott gave up six to the Capitals on Tuesday night.

It may be too late this year, but it stands to reason that if the decline of goalie play sunk the Flyers this year, its improvement could lift the team heading into next year and beyond.