(Photo cred: Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Couturier-less Flyers get downed by Penguins
The Philadelphia Flyers just never disappoint to make things difficult on themselves as they lose to their cross-state rival Penguins 4-3 on Thursday night. A strong opening stanza was followed up by utter dominance from Pittsburgh as Philadelphia struggled to find their footing and escape their own zone. Despite making the game interesting right up until the final buzzer, shoddy puck management, turnovers and poor defensive zone coverage again were the Flyers undoing tonight.
Philadelphia received goals from Brayden Schenn, Jake Voracek, and Claude Giroux in the club’s second straight loss. All three goals were on the powerplay and could be a potential building block for the team’s struggling man advantage. However, it wasn’t the team’s PP that cost them; the Flyers penalty kill unit was torched tonight, giving up three powerplay goals in the loss. Pittsburgh passing was sharp but the Flyers ability to effectively close off passing lanes was downright awful. It cost them a big way tonight.
Losing goaltender Steve Mason stopped 41 of 45 pucks fired his way but is not among the issues with this team right now. He has given the club an opportunity to win and that’s all the team can ask of him right now.
Here are your game notes:
The Flyers have generally played porous first periods this season but tonight that was not the case. Tonight the second period was an atrocity from the Flyers perspective; similarly to Philly’s effort against the Maple Leafs, the Flyers were consistently outmuscled and outmanned for virtually loose puck opportunity. This team undoubtedly displays a resiliency that few teams have but they constantly put themselves in position where they have to rely on it.
To put it bluntly, efforts like tonight exclude why Sean Couturier is such a valuable commodity for this team. His three-zone awareness, puck carrying ability and overall guile was sorely missed this evening. Couturier not only takes on the toughest defensive assignments but also brings a much needed balance to this lineup; without him, the Flyers were essentially a one team tonight as none else outside of the first powerplay unit provided offense.
His importance to this team cannot be understated.