NEWARK, N.J. — Five observations from Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Devils.
The Flyers missed the net on 20 of their 68 attempts. Fourteen were blocked, 34 others reached Devils rookie goalie MacKenzie Blackwood.
“We missed the net a ton tonight, particularly in the third period,” coach Scott Gordon said. “We had some great opportunities, (good) possession time, power-play had some good looks, too. For whatever reason, pucks aren’t going in. Maybe the guys are gripping the sticks a little bit too tight.”
The Flyers outshot the Devils 34-26, yet are now 6-18-2 when they have more shots than their opponent. When they have fewer shots, the Flyers are 7-5-4. They are 7-20-2 when the opponents score first, a stat that makes a little more sense.
The Flyers generated some chances on Saturday, but still were unable to end a power-play drought that is now at 15. They came into Saturday’s play 30th in the 31-team league. Only Montreal was worse.
“We used to win some games with the power play, but right now we’re not scoring at all,” Sean Couturier said. “We can say that we’re controlling the puck and getting chances, but at the end of the day, we gotta find a way to put the puck in the net.”
Rookie goalie Carter Hart appeared to go down a little early which allowed Damon Severson to beat him up high for the first goal of the game. Jersey’s other two goals came after defensive breakdowns, particularly Nico Hischier’s second-period breakaway after he stripped Travis Sanheim in the neutral zone.
“He’s giving us a chance to win every time he’s in the net,” defenseman Radko Gudas said of Hart. “It’s what we need.”
Sanheim and Robert Hagg/Christian Folin had the mistakes that led directly to goals, but Shayne Gostisbehere had some misplays and Ivan Provorov still looks tentative. In fact, one of the Flyers best early scoring chances came on a shorthanded rush led by (drumroll, please) Radko Gudas.
Sometimes, the simplest plays seem to be handcuffing the Flyers blue-liners the most.
“As defensemen, we’re not moving the puck quick enough,” Gudas said. “We’re putting ourselves in (difficult) situations back there.”