The Flyers’ last two wins have come in irritably similar fashions, which cannot leave the team or fans feeling comfortable.
Go down big in the first, claw back for a win.
At this point, the Flyers need points, so a win is a win, even against Buffalo. The comeback shootout victory gives the Flyers a glimmer of momentum heading into a back-to-back home matchup against the 2nd place Capitals – coming off their own OT victory against the Devils – starting Thursday night.
Flyers vs. Capitals: Three Storylines
The Moose Call
Like an intern at an open bar, Carter Hart is a hot mess right now.
The 22-year-old was pulled after the first period on Tuesday after letting in three goals on eight shots – against a team that had not scored more than two goals in the previous six games.
Coach AV saw enough and Hart admitted his game was a mess during the post-game press conference.
Re-signing Brian “Moose” Elliott is, by far, the best off-season move GM Chuck Fletcher made – although that bar is pretty low. Moose entered the game cold, let up a goal that was off his own player’s stick, but made key saves to give the Flyers a fighting chance at a comeback.
It worked…this time.
Moose is the stable presence between the net and will get the start on Thursday night. How the coaching staff deploys the rotation after that will be very interesting as both goalies need to play due to the intense March schedule.
If Elliott performs Thursday night, do they keep riding him or get Hart back in there?
Playing the Slots
Carter Hart’s positioning deep in his net contributed to the three first-period goals against Buffalo – he was given no support in high-danger areas.
The Flyers were caught puck-watching on all three goals and left Buffalo players unattended in the slot area with plenty of room to get full wood on shots. The lack of coverage in the slot area comes down to team defense, minding gaps, getting sticks and bodies in front of shots.
None of that was done in the first period.
The Flyers collective team defense has to shape up, and practice on Wednesday will hopefully help against the high-powered Capitals, who exposed that weakness in the Flyers game during their last meeting.
Tuesday’s victory was far from a dominating showing, but the Flyers did show some pep and rallied to a 5-4 shootout win.
The energy was primarily provided by Scott Laughton, Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Ghost.
- Laughton had a head-cracking first period, but a gangbuster skate-kick move to set up Kevin Hayes.
- Jake was all over the ice and revving his ginger engine – playing with a lot of emotion.
- Giroux showed he could get into the dirty areas and score a goal.
- Ghost took the safety off his cannon and blasted home the game-tying POWER PLAY goal.
Was it desperation? Maybe.
A weaker team? Yes
Did it the spark the Flyers needed to get the win? Absolutely
Can those players build on their individual performances? Will the rest of the team start to click simultaneously for the first time this season? They certainly will not be overlooking the Caps, and now two months into the season…it is time.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire