Flyers-Sharks Observations: The Suffering Continues


With boos and "Fire Hakstol" chants filling the Wells Fargo Center (see story), the Flyers turned in a lifeless effort in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

The defeat extended their skid to nine straight games. The Flyers are 0-4-5 in their current winless streak, their longest since 2008 (see story)

The Sharks scored three unanswered goals, including Joe Thornton's 5-on-3 power-play goal near the end of the opening period that proved to be the game-winner.

Coming off a disastrous ending in Pittsburgh that saw the Flyers blow a two-goal, third-period lead and another lead late in the game (see story), Dave Hakstol's team turned in a sloppy, turnover-filled effort. The Flyers went more than 23 minutes during one stretch from the second period to the third with just one shot on net. 

• The Flyers couldn't have asked for a better start as Claude Giroux fired a one-timer off a feed from Jakub Voracek for his 11th goal of the season just 48 seconds into the game. That is ironically also how the season started for the Flyers in San Jose. The play was made possible when defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic blocked Andrew MacDonald's shot. Vlasic stayed down in obvious pain, which allowed the open lane for Voracek's pass. 

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• Travis Konecny continues to play well and create offense in the offensive zone but also struggle with his coverages in the defensive zone. The Sharks had a couple of open looks at Michal Neuvirth during an early 4-on-4. On the other end, Konecny almost gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead with a feed to Ivan Provorov, who has been jumping into play more frequently. Provorov was very active in the offensive zone in Pittsburgh.

• Konecny led a 2-on-1 with about eight minutes remaining in the first period. The pass was taken away and Konecny's shot was gloved by Aaron Dell. I almost prefer to see Konecny shoot as his shot has been all over the place recently. He needs to snipe one to help regain his confidence. 

• It's easy to get enamored with Voracek's offensive numbers, but the bad turnovers and decision-making are starting to add up. Voracek turned the puck over in his end to Joonas Donskoi. Voracek is thankful Travis Sanheim was back to block Donskoi's shot. Offensively, Voracek still attempts to do too much with the puck, skating into traffic and trying to create something where there's nothing.

• Chris Tierney scored the Sharks' first goal when he took a pass from Brent Burns and fired it past Neuvirth. San Jose added a second goal when Thornton fired a sharp-angle shot during a 5-on-3 power play. In both instances, Neuvirth was slow to react. On Thornton's goal, he wristed a shot five-hole that Neuvirth left exposed and he didn't even have the paddle in position.

• Talk about a snakebitten team. The Flyers are several inches from scoring about a half-dozen goals between this game and the one in Pittsburgh. Valtteri Filppula and Shayne Gostisbehere both hit the posts in the span of 45 seconds.

• Sloppy play and bad turnovers in the opening period led to good scoring chances for the Sharks. Timo Meier got in behind the Flyers' defense, which led to a Wayne Simmonds slashing call. The Flyers committed three minors in the final three minutes of the first period. Overall, the Sharks had 11 first-period scoring chances, five of those in the high-danger areas. 

• Discipline is becoming an issue for Hakstol's club as the Flyers have been whistled for nine minors over their last four periods of play dating back to the third period of Monday's game in Pittsburgh.

• Voracek picked up where he left off with a senseless tripping penalty nine seconds into the Flyers' power play. Just a bad, mindless penalty.

• Gostisbehere continues to be plagued with little mishaps in his own end. With Donskoi bearing down on him, "Ghost" simply lost control of the puck without absorbing much of a hit. It's as if he's reacting to the anticipation of the pressuring attacker.

• Once again, the Flyers gave back power-play time. This time, Simmonds was called for tripping to negate the final 21 seconds.

• The Flyers got outworked on the Sharks' 3-1 goal as Vlasic redirected Logan Couture's shot. Defensively, the Flyers were flat-footed and their gap play was way off.

• There was another neutral-zone turnover as Scott Laughton lazily attempted a cross-ice pass that was intercepted. The puck was passed quickly up ice to Thornton, who got behind the defense for a breakaway scoring opportunity. Neuvirth came away with his best save of the night. The Flyers had an abundance of turnovers in this game and were absolutely brutal in the neutral zone.

Lines, pairings and scratches

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Danick Martel-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny
Jori Lehtera-Scott Laughton-Dale Weise

Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Brandon Manning

Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott

Scratches: Forwards Jordan Weal (healthy) and Taylor Leier (healthy), and defenseman Radko Gudas (suspended).

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