Flyers Stumble to start March; Prospect Update
With a 2-4 record in the month of March and no break in sight, the Flyers need to figure it out and figure it out fast. With a 56-game season, they don’t have very much time to right the ship and get back into playoff contention.
March 2nd vs Pittsburgh (5-2 L)
The Penguins didn’t have Crosby for this one, as #87 was put on the Covid-19 protocol list. I’m not quite sure what it is about not having Crosby in the line-up but Pittsburgh seems to play harder without him. There were no goals in the first period, but the Flyers did outshoot the Penguins 14-5. Joel Farabee broke through in the 2nd period with a beautiful goal to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Farabee has 11G-11A-22P in 23 games this year for the Flyers. The line of JVR – Couturier – Farabee has been one of the lone bright spots this season. Couturier made a silly play in the neutral zone, spinning and finding Farabee going into the zone. The duo cook up a little give-and-go with each other, with Farabee jumping over a diving defenseman, as Farabee pots it.
From there, we quickly got sent back to the reality that is the Flyers season right now. I could say this with the next five recaps coming up but the Flyers’ inability to use the momentum they get after scoring a huge goal is incredibly frustrating.
Kaspari Kapanen comes right back and ties the game up 1-1 after Shayne Gostisbehere basically handed him the puck and told him to have fun with it. He didn’t stop there, Kapanen made it 2-1 five minutes after tying the game, with a goal on a bouncing puck. Carter Hart made an absolutely stunning save to keep the game 2-1 (not for long), Hart has had his issues this season, which certainly isn’t his fault alone, but this save was incredible.
Nine minutes left in the 2nd period, Letang fires one on the net from the point, easy save right? Not so fast! Gostisbehere and Provorov essentially decide to stop playing defense. They fail to clear the front of the porch and let Rust sit there and slam one home. 3-1 Pittsburgh.
The Flyers pot one as Jarry turns the puck over behind his own net too Couturier. The elite two-way forward does what he does best and creates a scoring chance by flinging the puck on the net. Joel Farabee picks up the bouncing rebound and pots his 10th of the season. Breakout year Farabee is official.
Barely a minute later, Cody Ceci makes it 4-2 off a secondary assist from former Flyer, Mark Friedman. This game was just another example of the Flyers not being able to hold any kind of momentum after a goal. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.
Matheson sealed the game up after catching Carter Hart trying to go to the bench for the extra attacker. The type of play where you just laugh and flip off the Postgame Live segment.
- Farbaee – 2 Goals
- JVR – Assist
- Couturier – Assist
- Sanheim – Assist
- Carter Hart – 22/27
March 4th vs Pittsburgh (4-3 W)
The start of this game was awful. Letang shoots the puck from almost the exact same spot he did the previous game for Rusts’ goal. Sanheim tries to pat the puck down with his hand and it just goes straight through Brian Elliott.
The second goal came after Sidney Crosby picked the puck up in the neutral zone with speed. Phil Myers tried to pinch up on the play but failed, creating a 2 on 1 with Sanheim as the lone defenseman back. The initial shot was saved by Elliott but former Flyer, Mark Friedman (YES HIM AGAIN) scores his first of the year on the rebound chance. 2-0.
The third goal in the first period came after a Couturier turnover in the offensive zone to Malkin which created a 3 on 2 the other way. Ghost and Hagg were the two defensemen back and I’m not really sure what Robert Hagg is doing here? Brutal play as Couturier breaks his stick over the cross-bar.
Couturier scores a huge goal at the end of the second period on the power play absolutely hammering one home. The Flyers desperately need more of Coots’ “shoot first” mentality.
Giroux called game after that goal. The Flyers captain was involved in the next three goals of the game, helping the Flyers on their comeback. The first goal came after a line of Lindblom – Giroux – NAK absolutely dominated in the Pittsburgh offensive zone. NAK found some time and space on the wall and found Lindblom completely alone in front of the net. Lindy’s initial shot got stopped but Giroux made sure he made it a 3-2 game.
Jarry should probably stop playing the puck, huh? Another goal comes after a Jarry turnover after he tried to pass the puck from behind his goal to his defenseman, the entire play looked awkward. Konecny capitalizes on the turnover and finds a FLYING Giroux coming off the bench. Giroux shot the puck right away in the slot, which hits Laughton, who scores his 6th of the season.
Another really solid shift from the Lindblom – Giroux – NAK line. Lindblom just shot one on the net which hit a Penguin player and bounced onto NAK’s stick, who found a Giroux in-front of the net with a beautiful backhand pass. Gorgeous.
4-3, Flyers win. You can be annoyed with the slow starts, I am as well. But, you have to give this team credit for crawling out of this hole. Giroux deserves all the credit for putting the team on his back and winning this one.
THAT’S. MY. CAPTAIN.
- Giroux – 2G-1A. 4 shots on goal
- Konecny – 2 Assists
- Lindblom – 2 Assists
- NAK – 2 Assists
- Elliott – 26/29
March 6th vs Pittsburgh (4-3 L)
This game really pissed me off.
Konecny started this one off by potting a 2 on 0 with Laughton to make it 1-0. This all started with a nice defensive play by Gostisbehere to press up on Lafferty and cut off the outside angle, causing Lafferty to resort back to laying the puck off to Pettersson. Laughton makes a fantastic play by poking the puck away from Pettersson.
Not even a minute later (right on cue), Malkin makes a star player kind of play and ties the game up.
The PK has been bad this year and that trend didn’t stop. Rust made it 2-1 on a tic-tac-toe play that seems to be really hurting the Flyers on the PK. Quick, cross-ice snap passes have been killing us all year and nothing changed on Saturday.
Kevin Hayes scored his first goal since February 24th vs Rangers, tying this one up on the PP. Nice shot, #13.
Shayne Gostisbehere potted his 3rd of the season with an absolute bullet from the point. Ghost has been one of the best defensemen (not saying much) on the team this season.
A turnover by Sanheim in his own zone leads to Aston-Reese scoring his 4th of the year on a really, really bad angle goal. This kind of goal just can’t happen, especially right before the period was ending.
The third period wasn’t the worst period ever. Hayes had a really nice chance in-front of the net. Jarry robbed Hayes and Laughton to keep the game 3-3. Nolan Patrick (scoreless in the last 17 games) chipped a puck away from Kris Letang and had a really nice chance alone with Jarry. Patrick tried to go five-hole and almost got it by Jarry, who had no idea where the puck was. #19 needed that, a shame.
This one ended with the Flyers losing the game on a really lazy line chance by Patrick and his line. Tanev’s initial chance was stopped but again, a glorious rebound chance was just sitting there for the taking. Defensive zone coverage from the Flyers this year has been laughably bad.
Flyers lose 4-3.
- Konecny – 1G-1A
- Hayes- Goal
- Laughton – 2 Assists
- Ghost – Goal
- Provorov – Assist
- Voracek – Assist
- Elliott – 23/27
March 7th vs Washington (3-1 L)
The first game with fans back started pretty well. Joel Farabee got things started with a 2 on 1 goal, all started by a Sean Couturier chip play. #14 does so many subtle things. He’s so, so good.
The Flyers were all over the Capitals who didn’t seem to be awake in the 1st. Flyers outshot them 14-7 and could’ve easily made it a 2-0 game if it weren’t for Samsonov. It was all fun and games until the Capitals realized they were playing an NHL hockey game and completely took over every facet of the game. Outshot us 13-8 in the 2nd period with Ovechkin making it a 1-1 after (another) defensive zone breakdown.
I’m not going to blame Sanheim for falling (which he seems to do all the time) but I can blame him for that out of position. Another defensive zone breakdown leads to a goal. Another late 2nd-period goal, 15.8 seconds to be exact. Farabee completely loses Orlov and Orlov finds the back door and beats Hart to make it 2-1. Awful defense yet again. The third goal for the Caps had me screaming at the TV. Chara interferes with Farabee badly, causing JVR to come over and stick up for his teammate (wow, finally). The one time we see the Flyers stick up for each other this year, was in fact, the worst time to stick up for your teammate. Nick Jensen capitalizes on the extra man, walks in on Hart, and buries it.
The Flyers actually played a pretty decent 3rd period, outshooting the Capitals 15-7. They had a couple of great chances on the PP, one coming from Couturier off a beautiful backhand pass from JVR. Unfortunately, Samsonov outplayed the Flyers and came away with the win for Washington.
- Farabee – Goal
- Couturier – Assist
- Hart 24/27
March 9th vs Buffalo (5-4 W in shootout)
I said this is Epi. 55 of The Liberty Yell and it’s still true even after the game. The Flyers couldn’t lose this game, period. You just lost 3 of your last 5 games and now are going up against an Eichel-less Sabres, you can’t lose.
The Flyers actually got things started. Couturier fed Farabee with a beautiful little backhand sauce to Farabee in the slot, who found a waiting JVR. That line has been lights out this year.
Then the Sabres scores 3 unanswered goals and the Flyers quickly found their selves down 3-1 to Buffalo. Each goal from Buffalo came thanks to soft net-front coverage from the Flyers. Something I’ve been repeating this entire article, also something that if not fixed soon, will put this team’s playoffs hopes to sleep.
I’m not going to show every goal but I will show the third goal from Buffalo because it really just pisses me off. Watch Konecny.
Now, just like they did in Pittsburgh, the Flyers now looked to dig themselves out of a hole.
Scott Laughton got the comeback started with a disgusting between the legs move and feed to Hayes who found the back of the net and cut the lead to 3-2. Just gross.
The Flyers do what they do best this year and give up a goal right after scoring one. They absolutely hate momentum. Montour could’ve eaten a hoagie before he shot this puck, you would’ve thought Buffalo was on the PP. Puck deflects off Ghosts’ stick and in. Even while the fans are pouring on them with boo’s (rightfully so), Voracek finds a determined Giroux for the redirection goal to make it 4-3.
NOT. DONE. YET.
IS THAT ROOKIE YEAR GHOST? Shayne with a rocket from the point to tie this baby up! Man, it’s nice to see a healthy Ghost back playing so confident again.
Five minutes of overtime wasn’t enough, as this one needed a shootout (unfortunately) to decide the game. Couturier went first and scored. Nolan Patrick surprisingly got the 2nd shot for the Flyers and made no mistake about it.
It took a shootout but the Flyers came away with 2 points vs Buffalo. Something they just had to do.
- Couturier – 2 assists
- Farabee – 2 assist
- JVR- Goal
- Giroux – Goal
- Ghost – Goal
- Hayes – Goal
- Hart – 5/8 (Pulled)
- Elliott – 11/12 (W)
March 11th vs Capitals (5-3 L)
Now, we’re finally able to talk about the most recent game. Ovechkin got things started after Brian Elliott makes a really questionable play with the puck. He tries to pass the puck up the wall to Provorov, rather than just tapping it onto Couturier’s stick. Provorov is unable to corral the puck, but Ovi is able to. He absolutely SLAMS his 9th of the year past Elliott. Konecny (the birthday boy) ties the game up on the PP, off the nice dish to the slot by Hayes. Konecny’s 2nd goal in four games.
Erik Gustaffson got caught, NAK should’ve gotten the puck deep instead of being fancy at the blue-line. A couple of players here are at fault on this play. Sheary makes it 2-1 on the breakaway.
Andy Andreoff, who was inserted in the lineup for his veteran presence and physicality, gets into what seems like the first fight the Flyers have had since 2018. Andreoff actually more than held his own.
The 3rd Washington goal came from Carlson, after yet another complete defensive breakdown. At first, the numbers are even going into the Flyers zone. Not sure what Oskar Lindblom is doing here, seems to be gliding with one hand on his stick and completely loses his man. Awful. The Capitals extended their lead to 4-1 after Dowd walks right around Sanheim. Just ugly. Of course, the Flyers score 2 goals to make this a game. Couturier makes the game 4-2 with a gorgeous move off the wall to find a cutting Provorov who makes zero mistakes.
Scott Laughton, who along with Couturier, Farabee & JVR has been one of the best Flyers this year, makes this a 4-3 game. Konecny with a nice little touch pass on the rush with Hayes & Laughton, who finds #21 for the goal. WHAT. A. SNIPE.
The late push by the boys wasn’t enough as the Flyers fell to the Caps 5-3 after Dowd potted his 2nd of the game and put it away.
It’s no secret this team needs a defenseman. I mean, for the love that everything that is holy, the coach is practically begging for one. I mean the only thing left for AV to do is pick up the phone himself and call someone.
This is how I’m thinking about all of this.
- Provorov – Ghost
- Sanheim – Braun
- Hagg – Gustaffson
Isn’t going to work.
Phil Myers was benched vs the Capitals last game and got publicly called out by AV. I don’t think he’s been awful, but you can definitely notice the inconsistencies in his game, same with Travis Sanheim. Both still young, Sanheim (24), Myers (24). My question is, has Myers been bad enough to the point where you’re comfortable on deploying a Hagg – Gustaffson pairing? Because I’m not.
I’d go with:
- Provorov – Ghost
- Sanheim – Braun
- Hagg – Myers
I love Ghost, I think the hate he got the last couple of years from some, was ridiculous. He obviously isn’t as bad as he was during those stretches. At the same time, Ghost is a liability defensively. There’s no way around it. Nothing is going to change that. You need someone that can play a consistent defensive game alongside Provorov. The Flyers just don’t have that right now.
- Ghost is awesome on the offensive side. 2 goals in his last 5 games along with an assist.
- Sanheim is probably the next player I’d think about but he & Provorov have been shaky at times this year when together.
- Braun isn’t capable of playing Top 2 minutes.
- That leaves you Myers, Hagg & Gustaffson. Myers is dealing with consistency issues and just needs to focus on making it back to the lineup before he wants Top 2 minutes. Hagg or Gustaffson? Ha, funny.
So that’s where we are. Nothing is going to change, we need a defenseman.
Now, the defense has been noticeably bad this year but I’m not ready to put the blame solely on them. The forwards have been bad at coming back and easing the burden on the defense. They aren’t making it any easier for anyone. It’s bad enough that your defense is struggling but when your forwards are failing to come back and support the defense. What you see, is what you get.
I’m going to have another article come out going into more detail in who I think the Flyers could look to add in the next coming weeks. Is this team a defenseman and a bottom 6 forward away from a cup run? We’ll see.
Oh man, I know prospects aren’t the main thing on your mind when your active NHL hockey team isn’t doing to hot. But I promise, keep reading. It’s good news.
I can’t say enough good things about this kid. Winning gold as captain of Team USA, scoring 1G-5A-6P in 7 games. York came back after the tournament and didn’t miss a beat. Now currently sitting at 3G-15A-18P in 22 games for Michigan of the NCAA, York is looking to add more trophies to his collection.
Not just Defensive Player of the Year but also a finalist for Player of the Year. York kicks off the playoffs Sunday vs Ohio State. Really excited to see if York can add to an already impressive Sophomore year campaign.
135th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Desnoyers notched a 5-assist game last night, adding to an already impressive stat line through 29 games this year (15G-22A-37P). Desnoyers is a two-way forward that had knock on his offensive side of the game coming into the 2020 draft. Fletcher must’ve known something other teams didn’t, what a pick in the 5th round.
Don’t forget, Chuck Fletcher drafted probable rookie of the year, Kirill Kaprizov 135th overall in 2015 with the Wild.
Desnoyers is 9th in the QMJHL in goals & assists.
Tanner Laczynski (6th round pick, 169th overall in 2016)
A player I thought was going to at least make some kind of push for a spot in training camp. Injuries didn’t help Tanner, but now he’s finally playing again. Four assists in 8 games this season, Tanner hasn’t lit up the score sheet but he’s extremely noticeable on the ice. I haven’t caught many Phantoms games this year but the ones I have, I’ve definitely noticed Laczynski. PK work is impressive and something the Flyers could desperately use. Look for Tanner in these upcoming Phantoms games. 2 assists in his last 5 games.
Ronnie Attard (3rd round pick, 72nd overall in 2019)
Not the player you’d probably see being tweeted about on the time-line but Attard is somebody you should all get to know. The right-handed defenseman who plays for Western Michigan. Attard currently has 8G-14A-22P in 24 games this season and took home the NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year award. At the end of the season, Attard led all defensemen in the conference with 22 points, scoring eight goals and earning 14 assists. Attard is also #3 in all NCAA defensemen in Pt/GM.
6’3 right-handed defenseman are hot commodities that certainly don’t grow on trees. Flyers might have something here.
Tyson Foerster (1st round, 23rd overall pick in 2020)
Foerster got his first pro point on March 6th vs Hershey, assisting on a Chris Mueller goal. Tyson had a pretty bad play in the 3rd period vs WBS on March 8th. Foerster, on the PP, took the puck on the right wall with space and tried to shoot the puck but lost it in his skates. Foerster then spun around with a loose stick and tripped an opposing player.
Not the brightest play by Tyson but in a perfect world, he wouldn’t even be playing in the AHL. Him getting any kind of pro experience is good experience in my eyes. The same goes for Zayde Wisdom, who has found a bit more success in his first pro experience.
Zayde Wisdom (4th round pick, 94th overall in 2020)
Steal. This kid was a steal. I don’t care that he was drafted in 2020, this kid was a steal for where he was drafted. 18 years old and is tied at 11th in the AHL in goals (6). Wisdom has two 2-goal games under his belt as a pro. First one coming on Feb. 14th vs Hershey & the second one coming in the game directly after that one vs BNG.
Wisdom has scored a point in every game this season except 4 and recently picked up a assist on a Cal O’Reilly goal on Wednesday.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images