One month of the season is down, and the Flyers have shown flashes of brilliance and excitement, a fair share of disappointment and a good dose of frustration. They’ve avoided another slow start with a strong first half of October but have hit the skids with a five-game losing streak following Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Oilers and are 4-6-2.
Let’s take a look back at the good, the bad and ugly through the first dozen games.
Beating elite teams
Although the Flyers have just four wins this season, two of them have come against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks and Eastern Conference finalist Rangers, and they lost in overtime to the defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning in the season opener. The Flyers have proven they can match and beat some of the top teams in the league.
The play between the pipes
Goalies Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth have given the team a chance to win almost every night. Despite a pedestrian 3.34 goals against average and.902 save percentage, Mason has looked sharp most games – save for one awful start in Florida. Neuvirth, signed in the offseason, has been the biggest surprise thus far as he pitched back-to-back shutouts against the Panthers and Blackhawks while Mason left the team to deal with a personal matter and has a 2.13 GAA and .939 save percentage in six games. He made 45 saves against the Oilers.
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For most of the season, the Flyers have looked out of sync on the power play and at times completely lost on the penalty kill. After finishing with the third best power play overall and the top unit at home in 2014-15, the Flyers are ranked a dreadful 28th and are 0-for-12 on the man-advantage in their last five games.
An issue last year, the penalty kill has struggled again. Ranked 21st, the Flyers have allowed at least one power play goal in six of their last seven games. They are desperately missing penalty-kill stalwarts Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Sean Couturier, who are both out with injuries.
Losing to bad teams continues
The Flyers ended last season winless in their final 11 games against non-playoff teams. So far this season, they are still playing down to their competition with a puzzling 2-6 mark against teams that failed to qualify for the postseason last year.
Only the Ducks have scored at a lower clip than the Flyers, who are averaging just two goals a game. Jake Voracek (22 goals last year) and Michael Raffl (21 in 67 games) are still searching for their first markers, while Wayne Simmonds (28) has just one. Defenseman Mark Streit leads the club with seven points as Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn have a team-high four goals apiece.