Flyers’ offense sputters in 3-0 loss to Edmonton

Claude Giroux

So much for momentum.

Looking to build on their encouraging win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday, the Flyers gave it a good try against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night but it wasn’t enough.

Connor McDavid and his fast-skating crew hit the Wells Fargo Center ice at full speed and came away with a 3-0 win.

The Oilers picked up a first period power-play goal from Leon Draisaitl and another from Kailer Yamamoto in the second while goaltender Mikko Koskinen was in position to stop all 39 Philadelphia shots.

“There were some opportunities, we had some looks,’’ interim head coach Mike Yeo said after the game. “A lot of what we had was from the perimeter, what we had was from the outside tonight. We certainly didn’t make things hard enough on their goalie as far as taking his eyes away.’’

Philadelphia had some golden scoring opportunities, including a 51-second five-on-three power play in the second period but couldn’t cash in. Nothing new there. The Flyers have failed to score on every five-on-three power play chance this season.

“Everybody always kind of says, when you don’t score on a five-on-three, you’re not going to win,’’ Yeo said. “Those are opportunities you have to take advantage of. I did feel that one had a bit more movement. We just have to find a way to get that goal. Sometimes I believe we’re a bit more ‘play-oriented’ (one extra pass), as opposed to shot-oriented. It seemed like our game tonight, where we were looking for the perfect play.’’

According to Claude Giroux, the Flyers did get some decent chances but just can’t seem to finish, especially in situations like a two-man advantage.

“We just need to find a way to bear down and put it in,’’ Giroux said. “It’s getting frustrated.’’

As for trying for the perfect play, Giroux nodded in agreement.

“When the puck’s not going in, maybe you want to try the extra play,’’ he said. “Because you don’t have the confidence to put it in. At one point in the game we had a chance to shoot and we didn’t. I really feel tonight the goalie saw a lot of pucks but we didn’t have a lot of guys at the net. Just making the extra play isn’t always the right play.’’

Goaltender Carter Hart did his best to keep the Flyers in it, however the Oilers maintained pressure on him throughout the game and got two pucks past him.

Draisaitl’s 37th goal of the season, tying him for the NHL lead, came at 17:51 when Hart appeared to be screened on the Oiler’s long entry.

The Oilers lead the NHL when they score first, posting a 17-0-0 mark in that category.

The Flyers stayed in their checking game but Edmonton finally broke through again at 15:10 of the second.

During a scrum in front of the Flyers net, Yamamoto appeared to knock Hart’s stick out of his hand. The puck skimmed through the pileup and the Flyers might have thought about challenging for goaltender interference but did not.

Any thought of challenging?

“Yeah there was,’’ Yeo confirmed. “But I didn’t think there was enough there on that one. We looked at it pretty carefully. Goaltender interference calls are pretty tricky. I thought there was still plenty of time in the game. I knew this was a game that was very winnable. We just didn’t have the A+ execution.’’

Added Hart: “It’s hard to say. I wasn’t sure if it was our guy or their guy. I had to make kind of a leg-up-in-the-air save. Maybe a retro Marty Brodeur style there. It was just a tough bounce.’’

Hart continues to enjoy an excellent bounce-back season. The Flyers are near the bottom of the league in goals allowed but he’s kept his goals-against average under 3.00.

“There were just some (bad) bounces tonight,’’ he said. “We had pucks bouncing over sticks in the offensive zone. We just have to bear down on it.’’

The Flyers did manage to keep Edmonton’s potent power play to one goal in five attempts. The penalty kill has been a sore point of late, dropping all the way to 30th in NHL rankings.

Philadelphia took too many penalties, according to Yeo. The Flyers took one on the first shift of the game and that sort of set the tone for the evening.

Giroux confirmed the Flyers spent too much time in the penalty box.

“When you play a team like that, one of your game plans is to make sure you don’t take penalties,’’ Giroux said. “They play fast, a couple times we took bad penalties.’’

>Short shots

Travis Konecny played in his 400th game as a Flyer. . .The Flyers return to action on Thursday when the Minnesota Wild visit. . .Prior to this game, the Oilers were just 1-5-1 in their last seven games at Philadelphia. . .Despite their season woes, the Flyers are still 10-8-3 against the Western Conference. . .McDavid scored into an empty net with 1:40 to play.

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About Wayne Fish 1782 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.