Good thing the Eagles made the playoffs.
The Flyers (and Sixers) won't mind all the attention focused on Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night for the Birds' wild-card showdown against the Seahawks.
A frustrating road trip worsened Saturday night as the Flyers lost to the Coyotes, 6-2, at Gila River Arena.
Once again, the Flyers uncoiled during the first period and couldn't stop the bleeding as Carter Hart was pulled 16:15 into the action.
The Flyers (22-15-5) dropped to 1-4-0 on the six-game road trip in which they've held a lead for only one minute, nine seconds. They've been outscored 23-12 and have allowed 13 first-period goals.
The Coyotes (24-16-4) swept the two-game regular-season series by outscoring the Flyers 9-3.
• For context on the road trip's futility, the Flyers have allowed five or more goals in four of the five games.
In their first 37 games prior, the Flyers had allowed five or more goals only five times.
• No, Hart is not the sole reason for the Flyers' haphazardness on the road, but there's no arguing the numbers.
Hart is 11-1-2 with 21 goals allowed at home compared to 2-9-1 with 45 goals allowed away from home. You can't pin that all on the Flyers' coverage in front.
The 21-year-old is battling himself on the road and so is the team as a whole. The first goal against was a tone-setter for Hart's outing Saturday.
"How 'bout Brad Richardson?!"
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 5, 2020
That's a tough one to bounce back from for a goalie fighting confidence. Arizona scored 57 seconds later and then ended Hart's night with 3:45 left in the opening stanza.
Hart is a strong kid and in his first full NHL season. He'll find his game on the road, but he's at fault just as much as the skaters in front.
• The Flyers at least gave themselves some breathing room with a big November and a decent December.
Despite this nightmare of a trip, the Flyers still hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot by two points over the Panthers. In years past, they'd be buried in a hole.
The Flyers are four points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. Still, they don't want to bank on breathing room because they're running out of it.
• Prior to the trip, the Flyers had strongly grasped head coach Alain Vigneault's hard-on-the-attack, possession-based system.
They've lost grip of the system during the trip. The Flyers have to rediscover their energy and forecheck early in games so they're not playing so much in their own end and then having to catch up.
• Forwards Mikhail Vorobyev and Chris Stewart were healthy scratches as Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Andy Andreoff returned to the lineup.
The Flyers won't want young players sitting too often. Perhaps they make a roster move or two before Tuesday's road trip finale.
Tyler Pitlick and Justin Braun were the Flyers' lone goal-scorers Saturday. Give credit to Pitlick, he has continued to play that north-south style.
• The Flyers' penalty kill, which had been 5 for 9 (55.6 percent) on the trip, went 4 for 5 against Arizona.
Prior to the swing away from home, the Flyers' PK was tied for seventh best in the league at 83 percent.
• The Coyotes showed they are "Oskar Strong" for Oskar Lindblom.
"This is something way bigger than the game, you want to see Oskar get healthy, it's way beyond hockey & we want to support. We're a small community when it comes down to stuff like this, everyone's here for each other & we're going to support him however we can." - @j_chychrun7 pic.twitter.com/uX5MSwyYir
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 4, 2020
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill) pic.twitter.com/cAZ3M7bNlV
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 5, 2020
• The Flyers wrap up the trip Tuesday against the Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) before playing six of their next seven games at the Wells Fargo Center.
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