Photo is by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images
It was about both forced and unforced turnovers in the Flyers 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. The Flyers generally looked out of sync for the afternoon and the Penguins’ speed undoubtedly played a factor in their ability to transition Philly’s neutral zone turnovers into rushes the other way. The Flyers certainly didn’t play well today so perhaps today’s shellacking serves as a rough reminder that they need to better with the puck than they have been and that nothing in their dash for the playoffs is guaranteed just yet. There is still much work to be done and no team gained any ground on the Flyers tonight so they should consider themselves fortunate in that regard.
The Flyers received goals from Wayne Simmonds (29th) and Jake Voracek (11th) in the blowout loss. Each time the Flyers have played the Penguins this season, I’ve come away more and more impressed with the way Pittsburgh plays since the club hired Mike Sullivan. Pittsburgh plays with such structure now and rarely seems to want to engage extra-curricular activity after whistles, which is the game they want to play. With that said, I think the Flyers tend to play better in those high emotion affairs so now that the Penguins are focusing on executing and not getting a piece of a Flyer every shift, its changed the complexion of the season-series for Philadelphia. The Flyers must find a way to navigate the neutral zone pressure the new look Penguins apply.
Goaltender Steve Mason will hand in an ugly stat line after this one as he stopped 33 of 38 shots in the losing cause, but once again it would be very difficult to fault the goaltender for the buzz saw the Flyers ran into today. There was some misfortune for Mason in this one as at least 3 goals ricocheted around before finding a Penguins player. It was just that kind of night for Mason.
Here is your game notable:
Defensemen Andrew MacDonald took a hit from behind from Penguins’ forward Tom Kuhnhackl in the third period of Sunday’s contest and no call was made on the dangerous hit attempt. MacDonald did indeed put himself in a vulnerable position on the play but given the fact that the Pens were already up 2 goals, there was little reason for Kuhnhackl to throw that hit. The non-call on the ice ultimately led to Pittsburgh’s 5th goal of the game, while MacDonald left the game and did not return.