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November 06, 2015

Flames 2, Flyers 1 (OT): Another night, another loss for reeling Flyers

Flyers NHL
110515_Flyers-Couturier_Reuters Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) and Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) battle for the puck.

If you thought Thursday’s matchup against the Flames, the NHL’s worst defensive team, presented an opportunity for the Philadelphia Flyers to break out of their recent scoring slump — and possibly pick up a win in the process — you thought wrong.

The Flyers (4-6-3) have now dropped six-straight following their 2-1 overtime loss in Calgary and failed to score more than one goal for the fourth time in their last five games.

But hey, at least they got a point...

It’s getting ugly for new coach Dave Hakstol’s team, who managed just 27 shots and a lone goal — Michael Raffl’s first of the season — against a team that was allowing 4.23 goals/game, a half-goal worse than the next closest team, and a goalie that entered play Thursday night with a 4.43 GAA and .871 save percentage.

And to make matters worse, they wasted strong performance in net by backup Michal Nuevirth for the second game in a row.

Observations

•    The power play came up empty again. The Flyers entered the game with the second-worst power play unit in the NHL (11.1 percent) and were stuck in the midst of an 0-for-14 stretch dating back to their win over Boston on Oct. 21. But it's actually been worse than that.

Of course, by "real" power play, I mean traditional (5-on-4) power play. Goals just come much more easily in 4-on-3.

That didn't improve any against the Flames, with the Flyers going 0-for-2 on the man advantage. Worse yet, the Flames scored seconds after a Flyers PP ended -- an errant pass by Vinny Lecavalier sprung Josh Jooris for a breakaway. 

•    Speaking of Vinny -- it was just not his night. Not only was he largely at fault for Jorris' goal, the Flames' first of the game, but he also made a similar mistake that led to a shorthanded breakaway for Calgary. Luckily for him, Neuvirth made the save. He also nearly decapitated one of his teammates, Brayden Schenn.

•    The Flames seemed to be on one, long odd-man rush. Every time I looked up, it seemed like the Flyers were turning the puck over or allowing a Calgary forward to get behind their defense. Had it not been for Neuvirth, the Flyers may have lost 6-1 or worse.

•    As you've probably already notice, Neuvirth got the start over Steve Mason. Mason was reportedly under the weather -- but still available just in case -- so the Flyers preferred that he take a sick day, and didn't even let him sit on the bench during the game. 

Instead, he was sitting up the tunnel behind the bench, probably because germs are gross. Neuvirth played well, much like he did in Tuesday's loss to the Oilers, stopping 28 of Calgary's 30 shots. Another hard-luck loss for the Flyers backup.

•     Sean Couturier returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion against the Bruins. Coincidentally, the Flyers lost five of their six games without Couturier, who logged 19:16 of ice time and won just 7 of 19 face-offs while failing to record a shot.

•    Although lineman Michael Raffl got his first goal of the season, Jake Voracek failed to get a point in yet another game. He still has just four assists on the season and has yet to light the lamp.

•    South Jersey prospect Johnny Gaudreau picked up an assist on the game-winner, which was scored by Mikael Backlund just 35 seconds into the three-on-three OT.

Up next

So far, the Flyers are 0-3-1 on their current five-game road trip, which will conclude Saturday night against the Jets. They'll look to avoid a winless trip in Winnipeg before returning home to to face the Avalanche on Tuesday.