PHILADELPHIA — They’re consistently inconsistent.
The hit-and-miss Flyers not only can’t put two good games together, they can’t even seem to put two momentum-building goals in sequence.
To clarify: The Flyers were coming off one of their biggest wins of the year, a 3-2 shootout thriller in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
Then, when one would expect this team to build on that positive vibe, it comes home to play Washington on Saturday afternoon and presents one of those old-time matinee movie horror shows.
Oh, and about that inability to pick up some steam after a rousing goal, how about this:
Ivan Provorov scores with one – yes, one – second left in the first period to tie the score at 1-1.
The Flyers needed only 33 seconds into the second period to give that one back. Then James van Riemsdyk scores at 5:28 and the Flyers rquire only 47 seconds to hand the Caps another goal, this by the disliked and feared Alexander Ovechkin.
That pretty much signaled the beginning of the end to a 6-3 verdict at the Wells Fargo Center, another setback to further dim the Flyers’ fading postseason hopes.
The term “flashes of brilliance’’ comes to mind here because that’s basically all the Flyers have to show as we head into the final quarter of the pandemic-shortened 56-game season.
Now the Flyers find themselves buried not only behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins but the fifth-place New York Rangers as well.
Things did not get off on the right foot when the Flyers announced at high noon that scheduled starting goaltender Carter Hart was suffering from a lower-body injury and would not be able to play.
That left it up to career minor-leaguer Alex Lyon to jump in because 36-year-old veteran Brian Elliott is slated to play Sunday night’s game against the New York Islanders and, given his recent injury history, there’s no way he’s going to play back-to-back games.
Lyon performed admirably, facing a bombardment of 40 shots, including five off the stick of Ovechkin, who finished the game with a pair of power-play goals.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Hart “tweaked something’’ near the end of the Pittsburgh game but did practice on Friday and gave no indication he couldn’t play the next day.
But Saturday morning arrived and Hart informed team medical expert Jim McCrossin he was a no-go.
“We got caught a little bit off-guard there,’’ Vigneault admitted.
It’s unclear the severity of Hart’s injury. After Sunday’s game, the Flyers are off until Thursday.
“We put Alex in a real tough spot,’’ Vigneault said. “We didn’t play real well in front of him. They spent far too much time in our zone.’’
The lack of carryover energy from the Provorov goal seemed rather puzzling. Then again, the Flyers have made a bad habit of this.
“We should have been energized after that,’’ Vigneault said. “Scoring with a second left usually gives your team a boost; on the contrary, they had the push.
“We were second on everything, second on pucks, second on making plays and they were the far better team tonight.’’
The Caps have now scored 12 goals in their last two games against the Flyers, going five for eight on the power play in those two matches.
Philadelphia’s in-game inconsistency mystifies van Riemsdyk.
“Ultimately, this year, consistency-wise and building off things, we seem out of sync I feel like a lot of times,’’ he said. “I don’t have an answer but that’s what it seems like to me.’’
>Patrick, Laczynski scratched due to injury
Nolan Patrick, who was hit in the side of the head by an errant puck off the stick of defenseman Phil Myers during the Pittsburgh game, did not play.
Also, rookie Tanner Laczynski was scratched due to a lower-body injury.
“After talking with Jimmy (McCrossin), they felt that it was better he didn’t play,’’ said Vigneault of Patrick, who missed all of last season due to a chronic migraine headache disorder. “It was better after taking that shot to take the day off.’’
Vigneault said he wasn’t sure about Patrick’s playing status for Sunday’s game.
>Van Riemsdyk ends drought
JVR, who had not scored a goal in over a month (his last March 15 against the Rangers), finally ended a career-high 17-game drought when he scored on a breakaway against Washington’s Ilya Samsonov.
Despite the lengthy drought, van Riemsdyk continues to lead the team in scoring with 35 points.
>Lyon put in tough spot
As mentioned, Lyon didn’t find out he was playing until a couple hours before game time.
Most goalies begin their preparation up to 24 hours in advance, so the Yale graduate had to scramble to get ready.
“It was exceptionally difficult,’’ Lyon said. “I really like my preparation and I take pride in it. I’m a guy that’s always been nervous before a game so it takes me time to dial in to the way I want to think and the way I want to feel.’’
“At the same time, that’s what I get paid to do. That’s my role on this team. It just goes with the territory.
Ovechkin’s two goals give him 730 for his career, just one behind retired Los Angeles Kings superstar Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL alltime goal list.
The top four are Wayne Gretzky (892), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766) and Brett Hull (741).
Per NHL Stats & Information, Provorov’s goal marks the first time a Flyer scored with a second or less remaining in a period since Feb. 28, 2015 when Wayne Simmonds scored an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third in a 4-2 win over the Rangers.
Lyon made his second appearance of the season and made his first start since Feb. 1, 2020 vs. Colorado. He faced 40 shots, which ties his career high set Jan. 16, 2020 vs. Montreal.
Claude Giroux had two assists and was 13-for-17 on faceoffs. Giroux is now one point from tying and two from passing Brian Propp for third place on the Flyers’ all-time scoring list.
Wade Allison scored his first NHL goal on a power play in the third period