Blown Leads Are the Big Problem on Flyers Losing Streak

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers are heading down the wrong path. With another two-goal blown lead in a 5-4 overtime loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, their losing streak reached eight games.

This is now the fourth time in six games in which the Flyers have blown a two-goal lead. In that span, they have five points in those six games for reaching overtime.

"I said it before the game: I understand from a player’s standpoint, the frustration that comes tonight right at this point in time," head coach Dave Hakstol said following Monday's loss. "I said it earlier, we have to have a short memory on it because we have to turn around and play tomorrow night because that’s our next opportunity, and, you can overthink it or put any terminology that you want on it, bottom line is we have to go out and play another good hockey game and push to get a win."

"It’s hard because we’re playing really good hockey games," Travis Konecny, who scored for the first time in 14 games on Monday night, said. "We’re putting ourselves in a chance to win hockey games. Maybe we just let our guard down for a couple minutes and teams are just taking advantage of a couple minutes that we’re sitting back. In most hockey games you have those couple minutes and teams don’t capitalize. It just seems against us right now. It almost feels like we have to play a perfect 60 minutes to get the win."

You can’t necessarily blame the goaltending for most of these losses, especially last night’s loss to the Penguins. Brian Elliott has been spectacular in net for the Orange and Black as of late, and stopped a career-high 47 shots in Monday's game. Michal Neuvirth on the other hand has not been busy due to Elliott getting a majority of the starts. In 18 games played, Elliott has started in 17 of them, going 6-5-6 in that span, while Neuvirth has appeared and started in seven games going 2-4-1.

The main issue is that although they have a majority of their young core defenseman up right now, not including Sam Morin and Phillippe Myers in the minors, the Flyers defensemen are too young and not experienced enough. That said, it is better to have them up right now and to struggle through the NHL so they can learn through it than exceed their expectations in the minors. For Philadelphia, all of their young defenseman are too good for the AHL, but are still learning here in the NHL.

However, over time, the Flyers will be able to settle down and learn from their mistakes. But that doesn't help results, and that has been a problem that dates back over a year now.

Since their 10-game winning streak last December, the Flyers have just won 28 of their last 73 games.

The last time the Flyers have lost this many games consecutively was a 10-game skid from February 6-23 in 2008. This streak certainly hurts more than some of the others, as the Flyers having the lead in six of the eight games, but have not managed to climb over the hump.

Sooner or later Philadelphia has to break out of their slump, but either way things are not looking good for Hakstol and the Flyers.