Another tight, defensive logjam.
Another shutout loss.
This time to the St. Louis Blues, 2-0, on Monday night (see Instant Replay).
For the macabre side in you, that’s back-to-back shutout losses for Dave Hakstol’s Flyers, who haven’t scored a goal in 122 minutes, 49 seconds.
The last time the Flyers were shut out twice in succession on home ice was in October 1999.
“It goes back probably the last 10, 15 games that we’re probably not scoring a whole lot of goals,” Brayden Schenn said. “Obviously in this league, we know you have to play good defense, but you also have to score goals and we’re just not doing that right now.
“We’re not generating enough grade-A opportunities, maybe shooting away or flipping pucks too much. We need to open up the ice and use all parts of the ice. After that, chances will start coming.”
St. Louis had 16 shots. Paul Stastny scored when a puck ricocheted off his skate. A Jakub Voracek turnover led to Kenny Agostino’s goal in the third period (see feature highlight).
They weren’t great shots, yet the Blues converted.
Conversely, the Flyers had 26 shots — an 11-1 advantage in the first — yet they sorely lacked for quality chances. Voracek and Michael Raffl had attempts early. Nick Cousins late. Not much in between. All this defense has led to no offense for the Flyers. None.
The power play? That used to be the Flyers’ forte. They lived and died by the PP. They are now 1 for 9 without Shayne Gostisbehere back there (see 10 observations).
“You look at Ghost and look at (Mark) Streit, they are two different elements,” Schenn said. “Streiter is good at carrying the puck up the ice, he can make stuff happen up there. He’s obviously been doing it for a while.
“You look at his 5-on-4 points over his career, he’s scored quite a few of them. Ghost has a bigger shot as far as that goes. Both guys bring a good dynamic.”
Well, one dynamic is missing, but the fact remains the Flyers are lacking for offense in every part of their lineup right now.
“Tonight we didn’t get a lot of grade-A looks on our power play,” Hakstol said. “I think we had six shots on goal. We need to generate a little bit more there.
“That is not all on the power play. You have to score 5-on-5 and be able to win games 5-on-5. Tonight, we didn’t do that.”
Hakstol made a couple line changes. The most significant was moving Wayne Simmonds to Sean Couturier’s checking line with Nick Cousins against St. Louis’ big line of Alex Steen-Paul, Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko to give the Flyers more muscle and a harder edge.
They did just that and held them pretty much in check amid numerous scrums.
“We tried to get their top players off their game and I thought we did a pretty good job,” Cousins said. “Keep them off the score sheet and in our end. I thought we had better shifts than they did.”
Again, defensively, the Flyers are playing very soundly. It’s just they have nothing behind that to help them score a goal and win, especially when the power play can’t get a cycle going, can’t set up and has the puck being cleared on them every couple seconds.
Things only got more frustrating for them in the second period as the Flyers’ penalty killers did some marvelous work to kill off a four-minute penalty only to see the Blues score seconds later on the Stastny deflection.
Hakstol challenged the play was offsides but the goal stood (see story). The Blues had 11 shots that period.
Around this same time, Travis Konecny left the game limping. His awkward collision into the boards left him with a left knee and ankle sprain, according to a source (see story). He's in a walking boot, too.
St. Louis iced the game in the third period on Agostino’s breakaway goal off Voracek's errant cross-ice pass.
“It was for G (Claude Giroux),” Voracek said. “I was trying to get it past the first guy and didn’t see the second guy (Jori Lehtera) behind him. It’s a bad play, a bad turnover. In my opinion, it cost us the game.”
Back in December, when the Flyers were scoring at will, that turnover goal would have been quickly erased.
Now, with the Flyers starved for goals (four over the last last four games), all it takes to have a negative impact in the game is a critical error.
“It was unfortunate that bounce there on the first goal, but still we weren’t able to turn it around in the last [period],” Streit said. “We had a few good looks, but certainly not enough to win the hockey game.”