The Philadelphia Flyers lost in a shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Claude Giroux scored twice, including the tying goal with just eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime and secure one point. However, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point proved too much for Carter Hart and the Flyers to handle in the loss.
Flyers Bring Shooting Mentality
The Flyers had scored just 15 goals in their previous nine games entering the matchup with the two-time defending champion Lightning. Travis Konecny scored in the first period on a two-on-one rush by aggressively attacking the net without worrying too much about the option to pass. Too frequently, odd-man rushes are unsuccessful because of attempts to make the perfect pass.
Giroux’s dramatic goal in the final seconds came on a catch-and-fire right off a faceoff win by Derick Brassard. After the game, he spoke about his thought process on the play.
“I saw there was a lot of bodies. So I just tried to sneak it to the net. I wasn’t really trying to score. Just trying to get it on net so we can get a rebound and get a mosh pit in front of the net and somebody put it in. But it had eyes and it went in.”–Claude Giroux
As frustrating as it may be for the Flyers to hear their home crowd yelling at them to shoot when they have the puck in the offensive zone, an aggressive shooting mentality can benefit a team in an offensive slump. Good things happen when the puck is in high-danger areas in front of the opposing net. The team recognized the importance of that mentality on Thursday.
Carter Hart Report
Hart is on a hot streak that is convincing everyone that he can return to the form he showed early in his career and leave his disastrous 2020-21 season behind him. He impressed for most of the night on Thursday. Natural Stat Trick listed Tampa’s expected goal percentage (xGF%) at 64.22, and they controlled the puck in the Philadelphia zone for long stretches during the first two periods.
Hart held the high-powered Lightning attack to two goals for the first 58 minutes of regulation. However, he allowed the go-ahead goal to Stamkos on a simple flutter on net in the final minutes. He revealed after the game that an issue with his goalie pads contributed to the poorly-timed miscue.
The 23-year-old netminder bailed his team out at many points of the game, and they did the same for him by getting the late goal back to force overtime and secure the point. He also showed tremendous confidence and rebounded to stop a flurry of chances during the three-on-three overtime period. The Flyers should be thrilled by what they’ve seen from their franchise goaltender in his first 11 starts this season.
Streak of Alternation
Beginning with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 28, the Flyers have now alternated between wins and losses for 10 consecutive games. On one hand, the resiliency to recover from losses and avoid losing streaks is the mark of a good team. On the other hand, they haven’t sustained success enough during that time period to make an outstanding impression early in the season.
The 2019-20 Flyers lost four consecutive games from Dec. 31-Jan. 7. They didn’t lose consecutive games again until Aug. 29 and 30 in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were 27-9-1 during that span. The 2021-22 team can choose to look at their recent trend positively because of the resilience they showed two years ago. They will need to carry that attitude into a tough test on Saturday night against the Boston Bruins.
The Flyers fell to 8-4-3 on the season after the shootout loss. They currently sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with two games at hand over the third-place New York Rangers. They will be without Ryan Ellis for the foreseeable future, and Kevin Hayes will likely miss time after he was scratched unexpectedly before Thursday’s game. After the Saturday night matchup against Boston, they will fly to Tampa Bay for a chance at revenge against the Lightning on Tuesday.
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the Legion of Doom and Claude Giroux to no-namers like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. Colin also writes fictional sports stories and covers the Philadelphia Eagles.