At least the Philadelphia Flyers lead the NHL in something, as their seven losses after regulation are tops in the league so far this season. It’s been truly impressive, in the worst kind of way, as the Flyers have managed to go down to defeat every single time they’ve been knotted with an opponent after 60 minutes, with Sunday night’s loss to the Arizona Coyotes being the latest example.
Mercifully, at least the Flyers have only made us sit through one shootout, with the other six setbacks coming in overtime. And while the team has shown some effort and resiliency to grind out a point in many of these instances, I think it’s fair to point out that these extra-time setbacks are doing more harm than the theoretical “good” of gaining a point in the standings.
Philadelphia Flyers seem to be stuck in the NHL’s “mushy middle”
Even though the NHL has become the ultimate “participation trophy” league ever since it started awarding the loser point (yes, I’m going to use the harsh term) way back in 1999, that doesn’t mean that fans have to be duped into thinking their clubs are better than they are. For instance, 22 of the 32 teams in the league have a points percentage over .500 this year, which really makes the Flyers’ .431 mark stand out as shoddy, even though it doesn’t seem too terrible when viewed in a vacuum.
On top of this, the Flyers have won just 9 of their 29 games to date, or 31% of the time. That means they have lost 69% of their games, loser point or not. If you’ll recall, the Flyers only won 25 games during the miserable 2021-22 season. Care to guess what they’re tracking for this year? Yep, 25 wins once again, although their staggering loser point pace could push them a good 8 to 10 points up the standings from where they were last year.
Here we have a case of overtime and shootout losses directly hurting the organization by lessening its draft lottery odds while providing no real benefit to getting the team anywhere within a country mile of playoff contention.
Some might argue that the team is “building character” or some other intangible by at least forcing opponents into overtime, but I disagree. The extent to which the Flyers have been outplayed in the extra session this year has only served to underscore how outgunned they are against almost every other team in the league until they get some actual star power in here, which has in turn led to them going the bizarre route of using two defensemen during 3-on-3 overtime.
Philadelphia Flyers aren’t helping themselves bounce back in December
Some tidbits related to the Flyers’ OT performances this season:
- The Flyers have gone to extra time on seven occasions in their first 29 games. They are 0-6 in the overtime itself and have lost their only shootout after the OT went the distance.
- Those seven overtime periods have accounted for an extra 25:29 of time this season.
- The Flyers have been outshot 20-6 during that timeframe.
- Yes, they’ve ALLOWED as many goals as shots they’ve taken on opposing netminders.
- The Flyers are the only team in the league without a win after regulation this season and one of just two teams (Florida Panthers) who haven’t scored an overtime goal.
- That’s bad.
This is the lousiest situation to be in, as literally anything else would be preferable. Don’t blow a late lead, hanging on to win in regulation? Fantastic, wins are wins. Force OT and then actually win once it gets there? That’s something exciting for the fans to latch onto, sounds good. Simply lose in regulation? As long as the team is playing hard, short-term pain for hopefully long-term gain has a chance to be worth it if it helps the team in the lottery. But bleeding out loser points in spurts and sputters? The worst.
In the end, the Flyers have such a head start on loser points that they will probably end up “costing” them two or three spots in the final standings come April, those points nudging them ahead of a few clubs that the Flyers are equally as bad as. Heck, they may even be the worst team in the league in actuality, as they sport an 0-2-2 record against teams that are behind them in points percentage this year. And it all goes back to these loser points.
No, I’m not advocating going out and being embarrassed 5-0 every night. But the “three-point game” scenario of going to overtime isn’t helping the big picture. Conversely, if OT can’t be avoided, can’t they at least mix in a win once in a while to keep things fresh? As things stand currently, however, this is about as frustrating as things can possibly be for players and fans.
It remains to be seen how the ping pong balls will treat the Orange and Black when the lottery is upon us. There are no guarantees no matter how bad of a record your team puts up, but these kinds of losses and “extra points” aren’t doing anything to extricate them Flyers from the awful spot they’re in, either. Let’s just hope that a bunch of crummy overtime losses this year aren’t the difference between the Flyers landing Connor Bedard in next year’s draft or not.