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Wrap: Losing Streak at Seven after 4-1 Loss at MSG

December 1, 2021, 10:53 PM ET [539 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Philadelphia Flyers' winless streak extended to seven straight games (0-5-2) as they suffered a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The Rangers have won four in a row and have points in nine of the last 11 games (8-2-1).

Philadelphia, which has been utterly goal-starved since Game 6 of the season, dug too deep of a hole for themselves in the first 21 minutes of this game. They had chances to climb back into the contest but were unable to get any closer than a two-goal margin.

Over the last 16 games, the Flyers have scored a measly 1.69 goals per game. The power play in that span is 4-for-51 (7.8 percent).

Goals by Jacob Trouba (PPG, 4th goal of the season) and Dryden Hunt (3rd) built an early 2-0 lead for the Rangers. Chris Kreider (16th) made it a 3-0 game on the opening shift of the second period. Morgan Frost (1st) narrowed the gap to 3-1 near the midpoint of regulation.

The Flyers drew no closer. Artemi Panarin (6th) added an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game.

Carter Hart stopped 24 of 27 shots in a losing cause. Igor Sheshterkin denied 33 of 34 Flyers shots.

The Flyers went 0-for-3 on the power play, including a five-minute advantage in the second period. They had looks and chances but that wasn't good enough. The Rangers went 1-for-2 on the power play.

For more on the game, see the Postgame 5 on the Flyers official website. The Flyers will have three nights off until they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. There will be an off-day on Thursday and practices on Friday and Saturday.

After the loss to the Rangers, head coach Alain Vigneault said that, given the extent of the team's collective scoring woes and the number of players who are mired in deep funks offensively, the club is going to have to tighten things up defensively and try to win games 2-1 or 1-0. He said there are plenty of players who've scored in the past and/or have the talent to score but just aren't executing. At the defensive end, the team is having turnovers, failed opportunites to blocked shots, and/or coverage miscues they simply cannot afford when getting goals at the other end is so elusive.

In James van Riemsdyk's last 51 games dating back to last season, the player has six goals (two this season). Dating back to last season, Travis Konecny has seven goals and 16 points in his last 36 games (five this season). The Flyers came into this season realistically and conservatively needing those two to combine for 50+ goals over the course of the year.

Oskar Lindblom, who has no goals and a single assist in 20 games this season, has not been anywhere close offensively to where he was in the second half of the 2018-19 season and first half on 2019-20 before his Ewing Sarcoma diagnosis.

After starting this season with six goals and seven points in the first five games, Cam Atkinson has one goal and four points in the last 16 games. He's now seven games removed from his overtime winner against Calgary.

After starting this season with five goals and 12 points in the first 10 games, Sean Coturier is now goalless in 11 games. He has two assists in that span. Couturier had several good scoring chances in the game at MSG but was unable to pot one.

Although Claude Giroux has continued to collect assists with regularity, especially in light of the team's massive issues with goal scoring, both of his goals since Nov. 2 came in a single two-goal performance against Tampa Bay. He has eight points overall in the last 13 games, leading the team.

The Flyers lost Joel Farabee to an apparent shoulder or collarbone injury in the first period of Wednesday's game. He'd been on a three-game goal streak heading in. The player will be reevaluated on Thursday but the situation did not look good given how awkwardly he went into the boards and how he realized he couldn't possibly play after briefly testing it. Farabee had started the season with goals in each of the first three games, then endured a long drought of his own until his recent surge.

Scott Laughton stepped up big in Sunday's game in New Jersey with a shorthanded goal and a third-period assist as the Flyers erased deficits of 1-0 and 2-0 (only to ultimately lose, 5-2). But he's at four goals and six points on the season as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Flyers have a combined five goals from the defense corps this season.

There have been far too many games, especially in the last 11 games, where Philly has been at a significant deficit in puck possession. In a few where they got shots in quantity, such as against Toronto, the quality was lackluster. The game at MSG, against a Rangers team that is winning a lot of games but actually ranks dead last in the NHL in team Corsi and within the bottom seven in expected goal differentials, saw the Flyers statistically do fine the underlying numbers but hurt themselves defensively and struggle to put more than a Frost poke-in goal past early Vezina candidate Sheshterkin.

There were no moral victories to be claimed from this last game. The puck possession edge and oow play scoring chances didn't mean a thing, especially when the score was 0-3 within the first 20 minutes.
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