Flyers Shut Out by Sharks for 3rd Straight Loss
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Flyers-Sharks: Postgame Points

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When things are going good, the positives can come flowing, and they sure did during the 10-game winning streak the Flyers had to open December.

But December has now come to a disappointing end with losses in five of six games and three straight after the Flyers 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday night. And when that happens, the negatives can be just as easy to identify.

Here are 10 Postgame Points from the loss.

  1. The Flyers biggest concern should be Steve Mason. Mason was perhaps the driving force behind the Flyers winning streak earlier in the month and was putting together a strong game on Friday before the injury, making 11 saves on 12 shots. Since Michal Neuvirth isn't ready to come back, are the Flyers really ready to throw Anthony Stolarz out there full-time?
  2. Stolarz played a great game in relief on Friday. There is no question about that. To make 21 saves on 22 shots coming in cold is very difficult and up until the final five minutes, when Stolarz was finally beat by an unstoppable shot, he held the Flyers in the game. He's definitely an NHL quality goalie and if he had to play regularly, he certainly looked the part. 

  3. There's just one thing about Stolarz starting regularly. You can't put him behind the team that played in front of him on Friday. For the third straight game, you saw relatively uninspired hockey. You saw a team fire at will on a goalie. And if not for Stolarz, this would have been a carbon copy of the Devils game from last Thursday. In a sense, it was. The Flyers played similarly. The score just didn't reflect that.

  4. Look, whether you're a writer or a fan, we're not coaches. We don't make the calls and set the lineups and view decisions with the lineup from a coach's standpoint. I get why Travis Konecny may have needed a game to observe some things from higher up. It can help a player, especially a young player. But when sitting a 19-year-old rookie who brings speed and skill to your game means playing a combination of Boyd Gordon, Chris VandeVelde and Dale Weise, it seems like a recipe for disaster. The trio did not play a good game at all. But then again, no skater really did.

  5. The third period was a perfect example of the uninspired play by the Flyers. They had not lost three straight games in regulation all season, were one period away from their worst six-game stretch of the season, and they started off the period getting outshot 8-2. That's simply unacceptable.

  6. A great stat brought to us by Crossing Broad's Dan Klausner. The Flyers did not have a single high-danger scoring chance in the game. Not one. The Flyers high-danger shot CF% was 22.22 percent. The Sharks was 77.78 percent.

  7. The best way to see that the Flyers were struggling: with just under three minutes to play, the Flyers were going to pull Stolarz for the extra-attacker. By the time they were actually able to move the puck up ice to get him out of the net, there was 1:30 to play. Yes, the Flyers were pinned in their own zone for nearly 90 seconds, with the look of killing a penalty.

  8. This is exactly what the fear was with the Flyers last season when a long break would hit. When the Flyers lost to New Jersey, it was their first true disappointing performance and result in over a month. And perhaps things would be different if the Flyers only had to sit on that game for one day and had a game that Saturday night, as they probably would have in a typical week. Now, this rough patch of games for the Flyers has lasted well past a week.

  9. Isn't this also a case of deja vu? After the holiday break last season, the Flyers lost 4-2 to Anaheim, 4-2 to San Jose and 2-1 to Los Angeles. Another three-game Western Conference road trip where the Flyers have lost the first two games with the third looming.

  10. Another reason the Flyers struggles are alarming: everyone else keeps winning. Forget the teams ahead of the Flyers still putting up points, the teams behind the Flyers are starting to catch them. As of the completion of Friday's games, the Carolina Hurricanes are within five points of the Flyers with three games in hand. So are the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Tampa Bay Lightning are within four points with one game in hand. Other teams are coming. The Flyers need to turn it around fast. 

Bottom Line

Whatever happened to the level of play the Flyers had when December started, they sure need to get it back and in a hurry.

Ron Hextall's biggest thing just a few days ago was about keeping the foot on the gas and not giving back the ground they had gained with their 10-game run earlier in the month. They have already started to give it back.

An 8-0-0 start to December turned into a 9-4-1 record in the month. It's not bad on paper, but when you look at how the Flyers started and how they finished, it's a different story.

The story for the Flyers is to find the second-half success that got them to the playoffs last season. This isn't a contending roster, it's a building roster. They have a few pieces of the future in place and a lot more that are just taking up space while waiting for the rest to get here. That said, the Flyers have proven they can play at the level of a playoff team. For three straight games, they haven't shown it. 

The thing about the six games since the Flyers winning streak was snapped is the difference in their nature. When the Flyers lost to Dallas to snap the streak, they were due for a game where it didn't all go as planned, and still were competitive to the end. Against Nashville two nights later, they were in position to win again and lost in a shootout. They defeated Washington in a tough game by virtue of the shootout. And then they turned in their worst three-game stretch of the season.

That's where things are, an inconsistent team that knows they can be better, but needs to find that energy and passionate play quickly or it may cost them a chance to play beyond the 82-game schedule.

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