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In this edition of NHL Sound Bites, the Philadelphia Flyers drop an 11th-straight game and the Edmonton Oilers end a demoralizing seven-game skid.
Flyers Frustration Grows Amid 11-Game Winless Streak
The Flyers are 0-8-3 in its last 11 games, last winning on Dec. 29, 3-2 in overtime against the Seattle Kraken. Since then, the team has been outscored 43-22. On Friday, they looked to avoid hitting the 11-game skid mark, but came out flat against the Buffalo Sabres, losing 6-3.
“Lose 10 in a row, you come into Buffalo and you lay a goose egg, it’s embarrassing,” said Flyers forward Scott Laughton. “It’s tough right now. We need to find a way, and the only guys who are going to get us out of it are the players. We’ve got to come to work tomorrow, have a good practice and be ready. There’s not much else to say. We’ve got to get ourselves out of this. It’s not acceptable at this level.”
An underwhelming season for the Flyers only continues to get worse, with the team dropping to a 13-20-8 record. Philadelphia is tied with the New York Islanders, another struggling team, for 27th in the NHL and seventh in the Metropolitan Division.
“I think we’re all in this together,” said Flyers forward Claude Giroux. “Right now, it feels like we’re hitting rock bottom and it just feels like we can’t catch a break. We do a lot of good things out there, but when something bad happens, it’s really bad.”
The Flyers looked to capitalize on a Sabres team going through some serious injury struggles this season. Despite having a 2-1 lead in the first period, Philadelphia lost control of the game and ultimately dropped an 11th consecutive game.
“Right from the drop of the puck, we certainly didn’t have the battle level that we need,” said Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo. “The focus as far as defending, giving up, I don’t want to say easy chances, but certainly not preventing opportunities against that are very preventable. So we weren’t ready to go, obviously. And that falls on me. But for whatever reason we weren’t prepared to play the game the correct way. So again, it’s disappointing.”
Oilers End Seven-Game Skid Against Arch-Rival Flames
The Battle of Alberta on Saturday between the Oilers and Calgary Flames had extra importance for Edmonton, as it looked to end a seven-game winless streak. The arch-rival teams put on another great show, but the Oilers ultimately pulled out a 5-3 win to end its demoralizing skid. The win marks a turning point for Edmonton, who look to climb back into the playoff race and get back on track after a hot start to the season.
“Obviously it feels great; losing is awful, it [stinks], it’s not fun and it feels like there is always a cloud around you when you are losing,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. “And obviously, we’re not where we want to be yet, but this is the first step and we have to start it at some point, [goaltender Mikko Koskinen] was amazing and it was a total team effort.”
Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard scored twice, the first two Edmonton goals, and Koskinen made 44 saves for a .936 save percentage (SV%). Draisaitl also managed to find the back of the net twice, including an empty-netter with 0.1 seconds left in the third period to move him into a tie with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for most points in the NHL (58).
“The guys worked hard and I’m happy for them,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “You can tell there is a relief, but there is a happiness. When you lose, people don’t realize the toll it takes on you when you lose. When you lose, it’s hurting everybody, so it’s good to see them feel good about it tonight, and hopefully, it’s a night we can use to start building ourselves back up again.”
Thank you for reading this edition of NHL Sound Bites, and make sure to listen to THW Podcast every weekday (Monday to Friday) to hear everything your favourite hockey writers have to say about the hottest topics around the league.
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Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers.