Power Play Fails Fading Flyers Again in Loss to Blue Jackets


It has become a recurrent theme for the Flyers all through this season.
And now with precious few regular-season games remaining and their playoff hopes flickering, they still can't get what they need most: power-play goals.
The tragic irony is the Flyers have lived and died by Joey Mullen's power play for the last several years. Even thrived, at times.
Monday night, in yet another game they had to get two points, the Flyers gave a fairly solid effort overall but still lost 5-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets because their power play again betrayed them (see Instant Replay).
"You look for results and that's the hard line," coach Dave Hakstol said. "We're not looking for moral victories right now. Point blank. We didn't get the result we needed tonight."
The Flyers were 1 for 8 with 14:30 of actual man advantage.
That's why they lost. It's why they lost in Washington last week. Why they lost in Boston with a five-on-three. And why on so many nights this season, when just one goal could make a difference, it didn't get the job done.
"We had the chances, the plays we wanted. It just didn't go in," team captain Claude Giroux said.
The Flyers had five power plays in the second period and converted one by Brayden Schenn to make it a 2-2 game. They got a lead off a second goal from Travis Konecny, but couldn't do anything with the three power plays they had in the third when it was tied 3-3.
"We forced them to take penalties, we had momentum. We came back and had the lead there and they were able to tie it up," Giroux said.
How fitting that Schenn's 20th goal this season would come on the power play where he dons that invisible cape and becomes another Dave Andreychuk.
That's a league-leading 15 power-play goals for him.
"Got the puck to G (Giroux) and he gave me the no-look pass, which he is so good at, and I was able to get something on it and it was a good screen by Simmer (Wayne Simmonds)," Schenn said.
That was it. No more in his stick or anyone else's.
"It could have been a lot different story if the power play had buckled down," Schenn said. "Not good enough. How many chances we get? Seven, eight, nine?
"I don't know. That could have won us the game. When you have that many chances, you have to capitalize and we haven't."
It's been mostly the same group for a very long time. OK, Mark Streit is gone now and Kimmo Timonen before him. Yet the core here has been around a few seasons now.
"Obviously, teams are adjusting and we have to do a better job of coming up with different plays," Schenn said. "Maybe we're a little bit stationary now.
"We need more puck movement and player movement and maybe that will open up some lanes for guys to shoot the puck. It's something we have to look at. It's frustrating."
Especially when you consider the Flyers began flat, had to overcome a 2-0 deficit and had momentum and chances to seal the game.
The first several minutes, the Flyers were forcing turnovers and shots and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky held his crease. When play went down ice, ex-Flyer Sam Gagner, who was a bust here, burned them with a one-timer off a pass from behind the net at 7:42.
Exactly one minute later, the Blue Jackets' leading scorer Cam Atkinson took a rather slow stretch pass from Zach Werenski via a two-on-none rush and went forehand/backhand a few times before beating Steve Mason to make it 2-0 as the boos rained down from the rafters.
What was unfortunate there was Radko Gudas lost a skate edge on his shot and turned the puck over to create the breakaway.
"We kind of deflated for a second, but then the older guys spoke up and kind of got us back going and on the right track and then put ourselves in a good opportunity going into the second period," Konecny said.
The last time the Flyers scored on a delayed penalty, dinosaurs roamed Delco. Yet that's what did indeed transpire at 14:10 when Shayne Gostisbehere perfectly set up Konecny for a snapper from the circle to cut the Flyers' deficit in half.
"Honestly, I was looking to pass it," Konecny said. "I knew there was a guy coming in, so I looked to my right side and I don't think he was expecting the shot when I let it go."
The rookie now has three goals in five games since his return from ankle and knee injuries.
Schenn's goal tied it and Konecny's second goal, after the Flyers wasted a lengthy power play, gave them their first lead of the night at 3-2.
It lasted all of three minutes as Werenski, the Blue Jackets' teenage defenseman, tied it again off a set play Columbus employs during faceoffs. Mason had no chance to see the puck through a line of traffic.
Brandon Dubinsky broke the 3-3 tie with a power-play goal in the third period with Konecny in the box for an unnecessary roughing penalty on Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Konecny beat himself up after the game over the bad call. Truth is, the kid played an outstanding game and took an emotional penalty. That's all it was.
"He's been a great player for us and playing great hockey," Schenn said of Konecny. "Take a penalty. I've taken a couple they've scored on. It's the way it's going right now. That loss is not on him."
Nope, it's on the power-play units.

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