Things are not going well for the Flyers in 2013. But why? Here are five thoughts that begin to answer the question ...
1. Where’s the fight?
The Flyers haven’t won a single game this season when trailing after the first period. Just think about that for a second: The Flyers are 0-12 when their opponent takes a lead in the opening stanza. What gives? The team appears to have no fighting instinct. Take Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, for instance. After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the Flyers seemed to stop skating, allowing the Rangers to beat them to loose pucks and best them in battles. Instead of turning up their desperation level, they’ve disintegrated after falling behind.
2. Everything’s wrong!
On Facebook last night, I asked my friends what they think the Flyers’ biggest problem is. I got 173 responses (173! I’m really not that popular!), and they ranged from pointing blame at the coach to calling out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and everything in between. One friend even suggested the biggest problem is that the team refuses to admit they just don't have a chance this year. And you know what? Almost all of the responses I received were right. There are a lot of problems with the Flyers now; their issues don’t lie in one single area. And that’s why they’re in 14th place in the Eastern Conference right now.
3. (Not) gone streakin’
The Flyers have only won back-to-back games four times this season. They haven’t won three games in a row yet – and there’s only 16 games left to play. It’s fun to play with numbers, sure, to try and figure out how they might get away with just barely making the playoffs, but there’s no way they’ll even get close if they can’t put a handful of consecutive wins together.
4. How much is Jagr missed?
Ever since it became evident that the Flyers were not going to have a good season, many have suggested that a big reason why is the absence of Jaromir Jagr. Claude Giroux seems to seriously miss him. So does Scott Hartnell. But I think it might go even deeper than that – Jagr has 25 points in 31 games for the Dallas Stars, and certainly the Flyers could use that offensive production. It seems to me, though, that they also miss him off the ice, where he was a huge influence on Giroux, Hartnell, Jakub Voracek and, well, everybody else.
5. Win … or else
The Flyers find themselves in the midst of a critical five-game homestand. They already lost Game 1 to the Rangers. Kimmo Timonen says he and his teammates believe they must win all four games that remain, if they hope to have any chance of playing beyond April. He’s right, but the four games that remain (Islanders, Bruins, Capitals, Canadiens) won’t come easily.
By all means, please share your floundering Flyers thoughts in the comments!