As Bruins, Islanders Battle in NHL Playoffs, a Flyers Trend Stands Out

Thought-provoking Flyers trend against 2 East teams still playing in postseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers entered the third period with a deficit 26 times this season, which was 46 percent of their games.

Head coach Alain Vigneault and the players constantly mentioned how difficult it is to come back in the NHL. The Flyers played from behind far more often than they wanted to and ended up tying the Golden Knights for the NHL's most victories when trailing entering the last 20 minutes of a game. Both clubs had six, but Vegas was 6-9-1 in such situations while the Flyers were 6-19-1.

"There's no doubt it was a very challenging season in the aspect that we were chasing most of the games," Vigneault said earlier this month. "At the end of the day, that’s on me, it’s on team preparation. And the players have their responsibility also in the sense that they have to get themselves in the right mental state to go out there and be able to execute and make the right plays. Our starts made it very challenging, always chasing the game is a challenge."

Interestingly, though, the Flyers were neck and neck late in most of their matchups with the Bruins and Islanders, the final two East Division clubs standing in the NHL playoffs. Boston leads New York in the second-round series, 1-0, with Game 2 on Monday at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN).

The Flyers went 2-4-2 against the Bruins and 3-1-4 against the Islanders. But in those 16 combined matchups, the Flyers trailed only five times entering the final stanza and held a third-period lead in seven of the games.

The Bruins and Islanders got the best of the Flyers in crunch time. The two teams combined to outscore the Flyers 22-11 in the third period and beat them six times after regulation (three in OT, three in the shootout).

Perhaps the Flyers can take that into their offseason, that they weren't all that far off against the two East Division clubs still playing in the postseason. Against the Bruins and Islanders, the Flyers didn't get the goaltending and goal scoring they needed when it mattered most. Things could have been different if they found a way to balance out the discrepancy late in games. The Flyers didn't make winning plays and it burned them.

"I never really had an issue with anybody not trying or showing an effort to help the team win," Travis Konecny said earlier this month. "It was more just being focused and making sure that little mistakes aren't going to happen. Guys are going to be able to go back and reflect on that stuff and hopefully learn from that."

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