Why can’t the Philadelphia Flyers ever win in overtime?

Philadelphia Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

When most hockey gets to an overtime period, there is a glimmer of hope. Maybe we can pull out a win at the last minute! Not the fans of the Flyers. For us, it seems that going into overtime is just prolonging what will become a loss. It sucks and I hate it. We all feel that sense of doom and gloom.

Since the 2010-11 season, these are the Flyers’ overtime records:

2010-11 Season: 6-12

2011-12 Season: 10 -9

2012-13 Season: 3-3

2013-14 Season: 7-10

2014-15 Season: 8-15

2015-16 Season: 13-14

2016-17 Season: 14-10

2017-18 Season: 11-14

2018-19 Season: 9-8

2019-20 Season: 10-3

2020-21 Season: 8-8

2021-22 Season: 5-11

2022-23 Season: 0-7 (so far)

Overall, that is a record of 104 wins and 124. So, for the most part, it’s not that much of a disparity. But since last season, the Flyers are a piddling 5-16 overall after the third period horn sounds! Granted some of these are shootout losses; which, by the way, the Flyers have a 54-97 record in shootouts since 2005-06. Yikes!

So why? Why do the Flyers lose overtime games? Yes, a point in an overtime loss is better than nothing. At least they can move up in the standings, but an overtime loss is more demoralizing; especially in many of the losses this year where the game was so winnable.

I think there are four common factors. Let’s take a look at these:

Philadelphia Flyers: Speed, Speed Speed

The Flyers are not a fast team. They never have been. They used to be built on size and strength. They were the Broad Street Bullies and Bobby Clarke when he was the GM tried to recreate that. Then when the first lockout of the 21st century happened, the NHL changed the rules and the hitting teams the Flyers had were now outdated.

That’s been almost 20 years. The Flyers, have yet to have a major speedy threat on the ice. They don’t have a guy, like a Patrik Laine, Nathan McKinnon, or a Connor McDavid, who can just fly.

When the ice is opened up with just eight guys out there, a speedster can take off and score as he blows past defenders. The open space allows for players who can move swiftly to showcase their skills. The Flyers don’t have that. And if you look at the overtime loss against Vegas, you saw that with  Jonathan Marchessault scoring with Kevin Hayes trailing behind.

Philadelphia Flyers: Getting Tired

Usually, the team puts out its best players on the ice. That’s kind of obvious. But sometimes, it seems like our guys are tired. Many of them have just played their butts off in the closing minutes, and they go back out there. Maybe it’s because we don’t have strong enough players to close out a game (more on this in a second). But it always seems like they are just plain out of gas.

This shouldn’t be the case, especially after Coach Tortorella’s gauntlet at the beginning of the year during training camp. But it looks, on the ice anyways, they are just worn out.

Philadelphia Flyers: Injuries

This year, as well as last year, the Flyers have been ravaged by injuries. Most of those injuries as players who are key to the success of this team. A good team can lose one or two good players. Nobody can lose six to ten like Philly has. I know it is an excuse, but it is true.

Philadelphia Flyers: Personnel

Let’s be honest, this team lacks a good group of top quality guys. They have some good guys and some great depth pieces, but no superstar. Ok, so, some teams can get by with being loaded with good, but not great players.  At the same time, this team lacks someone that they can “go to” at a moment’s notice and carry the team.

This really is showcased in the shootouts. As stated above, the shootout record for this team is terrible. Why? Again, it comes down to personnel. We don’t have a speedy sniper who can deke out a goalie and leave him high and dry.

Without “that guy”, you are going to suffer losses. Owen Tippet and Noah Cates can’t carry this team like Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau, Wayne Simmonds, or Claude Giroux could. Without that guy to carry the load, these losses will continue to mount up.