Sloppy second period causes Flyers to drop second straight preseason game

Sep 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) and goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) and goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Flyers were back at home as they faced the Washington Capitals in the second half of their preseason back-to-back slate. It saw the debut of Tony DeAngelo and Nic Deslauriers in a Philadelphia uniform while a few other veterans made their preseason debuts as well. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to be happy about as they dropped their second straight in a 3-1 loss.

As for the few positives that came from this game, Wade Allison did a solid job at proving he has what it takes to play at this level. He used his speed and muscle to create a couple of offensive opportunities. He also wasn’t afraid to use his body as well when need be. The key for him is to show the Flyers that he can stay healthy because it looks like he has the talent to impact the game at the NHL level.

"“That’s part of the game, it’s gotta be done. That’s the way I play the game, that’s the way we’re trying to create an identity here, so that’s big for me.” Allison said about his physical play."

Allison did take a big hit during the second period and left the ice for a brief amount of time. He returned not much later and looked no worse for wear out on the ice. Sounds like he just needed a moment to process things.

"“I had to figure it out, that one hurt real good…I’ll get a good sleep tonight and we’ll be back at it tomorrow.”"

A big key at first seemed to be the willingness to block shots. The Flyers did a good job at making sure that not a lot of pucks came in on Sandstrom in the first period. Players were diving out left and right to block shots. Seems like they may have been trying to prove a point to the coaching staff who continued to watch from up top. Despite playing against most of the Capitals’ youth, the Flyers looked like they wanted to impress regardless of the opponent.

And while they were able to largely shut down anything in the first period, the Capitals came out much better in the second. There was a point where they had as many goals (2) as the Flyers had shots (2). Connor Brown put Washington on the board first as Ivan Provorov couldn’t corral a puck, giving Brown a chance to unleash a laser that made its way past Sandstrom.

The Capitals added on as another player making their debut for the team got on the board, this time via the power play. It was Dylan Strome who hit on the one-timer from the right faceoff dot. The Flyers had been 10/10 on the PK to open the preseason prior to that. The Flyers finally were able to get some pressure late in the period due to a Kale Kessy unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. He tried to get Nic Deslauriers to drop the gloves, ragdolling him quite a bit before both did drop the gloves. But the refs stopped anything from happening.

They weren’t afraid to shoot it when they got the chance, especially considering their lack of shots up to that point. But it was all Charlie Lindgren as he gloved every one-timer that Philadelphia threw his way. A couple of keep-ins by Travis Sanheim helped keep the pressure on but they couldn’t cash in on their four shots on the man advantage.

While the Flyers weren’t able to solve Lindgren, they did finally break through on Zach Fucale, who entered in the third period. Allison used the body to create the turnover along the boards of the offensive zone, which allowed Owen Tippett to take over. He sent a pass over to Kevin Hayes who found nothing but net on the one-timer.

"“That’s Wade’s game, he’s a north-south player that plays heavy, plays hard. I obviously scored but it wouldn’t have happened without him. He’s one of those guys that’s trying to certify himself in the NHL and I think he’s doing a good job. He works really hard on and off the ice.” Hayes said about Allison’s game."

Ersson did a good job at keeping Philadelphia in the game, but he had absolutely no chance on the Capitals’ goal that made it a 3-1 score late in the third. A bad decision by Rasmus Ristolainen at the blueline gave Washington a 2-on-0 opportunity. It was Strome with his second of the night as Brown grabbed his second point on the give-and-go.

In the end, there wasn’t a lot to be happy about after this one. Hayes mentioned he felt his game “wasn’t a great display of Flyers hockey.” Even some of the young players who are hoping to give the coaching staff some hard decisions didn’t feel at their best. Especially Tyson Foerster who had the opportunity to play on the top line with Hayes and Tippett.

"“I just didn’t feel on tonight. I couldn’t really handle the puck. I only had two shots. I think I played better in the first game but there’s room for improvement in both games.”"

It was another second period that doomed the Flyers as this has been something that has been a key downfall for them in the past. They had six shots in the middle frame, though four of those came on the late power play. Otherwise, they had two even-strength shots to the Capitals’ 10 total shots.

While Brad Shaw wasn’t here last season, he knows how important the second period is in showing what a team is able to do. Teams that feel like they are on the upper echelon tend to have better second periods. And it’s something the Flyers have to work on if they want to become a better team.

"“If we’re gonna become a good team, we have to clean up our second periods. That’s a puck management issue to some extent. That’s recognizing the pulse of the game a little bit, being a bit more plugged in. That’s recognizing that most of the elements of the game become more important because your margin for error is slimmer because you can get caught out on a long shift.”"

The Flyers will have an off day tomorrow as they’ll head back on the road for games against Boston and the Islanders on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll return home to finish up the preseason next Tuesday, also against the Islanders. So there isn’t a whole lot of time to clean things up before the regular season starts.

And if this game, especially that second period, is anything to go by, then there is quite a bit to work on.