(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
If the Flyers current four-game skid entering Tuesday wasn't bad enough, how about a lackadaisical and lifeless 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks to pile on?
That's what happened at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday, as the Flyers took an early lead that slipped away quickly and never recovered.
Let's get right to it with our Postgame Review.
- Embarrassed on Home Ice - This game in a word: embarrassing.
The Flyers are now 2-4-3 in the month of November. And when you consider that the last win for the Flyers was all the way back on Nov. 9, this is a full on tailspin with no end in sight.
Look, it's not over for the Flyers, but it's getting pretty close to it early. There were so many things wrong with this game that there were essentially no positives to take from this one. Very much like the team's 6-2 loss to Anaheim last month, the Flyers turned in an effort that is shameful.
From the moment the Canucks took a 3-1 lead early in the second period, this team didn't look interested in playing anymore. That's a problem for a team that should have way more motivation, especially with younger players who need to show that they have the drive and energy to play at the NHL level.
- Goaltending - For now, I don't think it's a question who will be in goal. Michal Neuvirth got his first start since Nov. 4 against Colorado and allowed four goals before being given the hook for Brian Elliott.
Elliott was probably already slated to get Wednesday's start, but at this point, he's probably going to go on Friday at home against the Islanders and next Monday against the Penguins as well.
To his credit, Elliott was one of the few bright points. Once he came in, he was solid and sharp in goal, making 13 saves.
You can't pin the entire performance on Neuvirth, because the team in front of him wasn't very good, but a goalie can bail his teammates out on mistakes and Neuvirth wasn't able to do that the way Elliott has in the last few games.
It was Neuvirth's first shot to stay in the race with Elliott in a while and he fell further behind, to the point where Neuvirth's next start may wait until next Tuesday, after the Flyers play three more games and are on the back end of another back-to-back.
- Special Teams - Right now, the Flyers are completely incompetent at special teams. Both ends.
The power play was 0-for-2 on the night. Yes, limited opportunities, but the Flyers second power play never got set up, to the point where Vancouver had the best scoring chance of the man advantage.
On the other end, Vancouver was 2-for-3 on the power play. This follows a 3-for-5 performance by Calgary on Saturday.
Bottom line, Vancouver took advantage of their chances and shut the Flyers down every time they got the puck on a power play. The Flyers didn't move the puck quickly and made it way too predictable, going back to habits of recent seasons past.
- So What's the Problem? - In this game, take your pick. Passing was off all game. There were turnovers. There was a lack of energy. Goaltending was bad. Defense was bad. Offense couldn't score. The list goes on.
In the games the Flyers lost to Minnesota or the loss in Winnipeg or the loss to Calgary, you could look at each game and pull out a what if or focus on a lot of positives and more or less one or two glaring negatives. In this game, for 40 minutes, it was all negative.
The biggest problem for the Flyers right now is motivation. The Flyers took an early lead, gave up two goals in short order after that and never recovered. When they finally scored again with around 10 minutes to go in the third, suddenly it woke them up. But that's too little too late and it can't just be flipped on like a switch halfway through the third period. It needs to be a 60-minute mindset.
If the Flyers are having problems with motivation, that's a team-wide problem. That's on the players and their respective leaders. That's on the coach. That's on management. It's on everybody.
For now, things will go on with another game on Wednesday night, but the Flyers need to right the ship fast before something drastic happens.
- On to the East - From Oct. 30 to Tuesday night's game (Nov. 21), the Flyers played 10 straight games against Western Conference opponents. On the day of their last game against an Eastern Conference team, a 4-2 win in Toronto, the Flyers had a 6-5-0 record. In the 10 games since, they are 2-4-4 with a total of eight points in the standings.
This is both why it's still early, but why it's also getting late for the Flyers. Going into a tailspin like this can take you right out of a playoff race before it even begins. The Flyers weren't supposed to be a major player in the playoff talk, and that's got to be remembered, but this was a team that should be competitive at the very least.
The good news is that they do get the chance to prove that and make up ground by facing conference and division opponents. The bad news is that they've dug themselves another hold that may be too deep to climb out of again.
"I don’t think we’re playing bad hockey. We wouldn’t be getting 30 shots a night. But, on the defensive side, we need to be sharper. Little details, whether it’s picking up your guy or chipping it out, line change, whatever it’s all those little things that add up and make a difference in the game." - Flyers forward Sean Couturier
"That’s on us. When you are a losing a couple in a row, you need to find a way to get out of it. I am convinced that when we do get out of it, we are going to start winning a lot of games here." - Flyers forward Claude Giroux
"It’s tough and, I’ll be honest, I think we knew we were going to go through couple of tough times. You go through some nights like this where honestly not a lot of stuff goes right. You have got to own it. We have to do better. You can’t sit back and rest on a lack of confidence. You give yourself confidence by preparation and work ethic, togetherness. Those are things that we have to put back into our game tomorrow night." - Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol
Play of the Game
A nice play off the rush by Travis Sanheim and Claude Giroux set up Jake Voracek for the Flyers second goal of the night in the third period.
By the Numbers
The second period, where the Flyers gave up two more goals and fell behind for good, 4-1, was the Flyers best by the numbers. The Flyers had 31 even strength shot attempts to 11 for the Canucks. Both Vancouver goals came on the power play, but this is the chart that goes to show that just because the game flow falls in your favor, the score doesn't reflect that.
Stat of the Game
Shooting lanes were hard to come by for the Flyers, and the Canucks really shut things down once they had a lead. In total, the Canucks had 27 blocked shots in the game to 11 for the Flyers.