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Flyers-Penguins: Postgame Review

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Now, it's just getting ridiculous.

Monday night presented a familiar scenario. The Flyers carried a two-goal lead into the third period on the Penguins. And then they lost it, quickly at that. They managed to survive the flurry, then they got a break, they got a lead, and then they squandered that away too before ultimately losing again in, you guessed it, overtime, with another 5-4 loss.

Sounds like Groundhog's Day, right?

Let's try to make reasoning of this one. Here is the Postgame Review.

Postgame Points

    1. The Dreaded 2-goal Lead - This losing streak for the Flyers is not only becoming ridiculous, there's even a consistency to it. The Flyers had another two-goal lead, their fourth in the last eight games. They managed the lose the previous three games, and Monday's was no different against a Penguins team that fires at will and used their speed to completely outwork the Flyers.

      It brings into question this team's ability to finish a game. The task has really be staring you in the face in the last two games, when the two-goal lead was there after two periods. It's right there. Play 20 minutes, play with heart and passion, play like it's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and find a way to finish the job.

      The Flyers turned in another great second period, no different than Friday's game, and they found a way to lose it. It's something that has to stop quickly.

    2. Brian Elliott - It seems like people are quick to point the finger to goaltending when the Flyers fall into a rut like this and it's easy to look at record -- losses in seven straight starts -- and say Brian Elliott has been a problem.

      I want to know which goalie was supposed to fare any better. Elliott had his moments, none bigger than the glove save he made on Sidney Crosby from the slot with 1:09 to play. He did his part. He faced 52 shots, 19 in the third period and another two in overtime. He made 47 saves in the game. That's a career-high.

      Elliott has to shoulder some of the blame. The entire team does. You don't lose eight games in a row because of one thing. It's collective. But Elliott isn't a huge chunk of the problem like the goaltending has been in years past.

    3. Third Period Problems - Look at each of the eight games on this losing streak and you'll see a common thread. The Flyers have been a horrible third period team.

      The Flyers have scored two goals and allowed 10 goals in the third period on the eight-game losing streak. This doesn't include the overtime struggles, giving up four goals in the five-minute overtime as well. In total, that's a 14-1 deficit in goals scored from the start of the third period to the end of the game.

      If finishing games is a problem, this is the first place you can look. The Flyers have not pushed the play in the third period when they could try to finish off opponents. And whether you want to call it being outplayed or sitting back, the Flyers have been a terrible third-period team. That was truly exposed in this game, when the Flyers surrendered the two-goal lead in a matter of 39 seconds, surrendered the tying goal with 1:04 to play and took a penalty in the final seconds of the period because they were penned in the defensive zone again.

    4. No Moral Victories - It wasn't said this time like it was after the loss in overtime on Friday. Look, we can all count. Five of the eight losses have come in overtime or a shootout, meaning the Flyers have picked up an all-important point in the standings.

      But that's no moral victory anymore. It wasn't in Brooklyn. It wasn't at home against the Islanders on Friday. It's not in this loss to the Penguins.

      At some point, you have to stop looking at the positives from these games and start looking at what cost you the game. The Flyers had a tremendous second period. They did a lot of things right. They scored three goals. They put themselves in a position to win the game.

      And that's the story if the Flyers finish things off. Brian Elliott is the story if the Flyers finish it off. But it's not. We're talking about another loss in overtime that leaves the Flyers without the second point without a win.

      Here's the reality. The Flyers last game of November is Tuesday night at home against San Jose. If the Flyers lose that one too, they will finish the month with two wins. The Philadelphia Eagles, who play once a week and had their bye week during the month of November, will have won three games in the month.

      The Flyers record also sits at 8-9-7. The Flyers have nearly as many overtime losses as they do wins. So the points are starting to pile up, but that's also a lot of extra points left on the ice. It has to stop sometime, but it can't just be a one-and-done win before more losses, especially ones like this, happen again.

    5. Lost for Words - Dave Hakstol didn't really seem to have an answer for it. It's hard to really. This has happened so regularly, there's no explanation for it other than being a bad team with the inability to finish a 60-minute effort.

      But there's something very concerning about that. Hakstol looked baffled at the calls on the Penguins goals. He struggled to find the words to describe why this keeps happening. The players did too.

      It's one thing to be frustrated and not executing. It's another to be at a complete loss of words. 

      It starts to bring into question everything about this team. It brings the coaching into question, that it starts at the top and if they don't have the answers, who will?

      Dave Hakstol's seat should be getting hotter. There should be players who have to wonder about the future. Jake Voracek warned about this last offseason.

      "We've got to make sure that we step up our game and get this team to the playoffs and start winning some series because if we don't, it's going to get blown up and we all know it," he said in April.

      Voracek was referring to the 2017-18 season as a whole. It may not take the entire season for it all to start blowing up if this continues much longer.

Quotable

"It’s hard because we’re playing very good hockey games. We’re putting ourselves in a chance to win hockey games, and maybe we just let our guard down for a couple minutes and teams are taking advantage of those couple minutes that we’re sitting back." - Flyers forward Travis Konecny

Play of the Game

This one is a tie. The best plays of the game had the Flyers poised for their first win in over two weeks. Michael Raffl's great individual effort on the go-ahead goal with 3:41 to play put the Flyers in front. Then Brian Elliott made a tremendous glove save on Sidney Crosby with 1:09 remaining to keep the lead at one. Just seconds later though, it all unraveled again.

By the Numbers

Make no mistake about it, the Penguins were in control of this game for most of it. The Flyers relatively survived the first period and played an excellent second period. From the third period through overtime, Pittsburgh had 37 shot attempts to the Flyers nine. At even strength, the Penguins had a 28-6 advantage in shot attempts. At 5-on-5, the Penguins had an 80 CF% to the Flyers 20 CF%, ridiculously lopsided.

Stat of the Game

Of the Penguins 52 shots on goal, Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Phil Kessel accounted for 22 of them. Forwards Bryan Rust and Carter Rowney accounted for another 11 shots on goal. Three Penguins -- Hornqvist (7), Guentzel (6) and Rust (6) -- each had as many or more shots on goal than the Flyers had in the final 20-plus minutes of the game (6).

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