Well, so much for ending the season-opening road trip on a high note.
The Flyers got off to a great start with a 4-2 win over the Kings in the first game of the year on Friday, but they head into Thursday’s home opener against the Ducks on a two-game slide, which includes an overtime loss against the Coyotes.
Although picking up three out of a possible six points while beginning the year in L.A, Phoenix and Chicago isn’t a disaster, it is also far from being labeled as satisfying — especially for a club that is trying to avoid its fourth straight slow start to the year.
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Instead of using the crisp victory against the Kings as momentum, the Flyers needed a last-gasp push to overcome a two-goal deficit before falling in the extra session against an underwhelming Coyotes squad.
Then, it went from bad to worse as the Flyers fell behind 4-0, then amazingly rallied to tie the game only to end up losing, 7-4, to the Blackhawks.
While they will definitely welcome the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers get to play five of their next six games, let’s first take a look at some of the storylines and themes from the recent road trip.
Flat first periods
The Flyers have yet to score a goal and have been outscored, 5-1, in the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately, this was the same pattern for most of the last couple of years. As evidenced from the loss in Chicago, which took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, it’s a taxing way to play and obviously not a recipe for success. It’s essential that the Flyers reverse course during the upcoming home stand.
The kids are all right
Despite the small sample size, the Flyers pair of 19-year-old rookies, winger Travis Konecny and defenseman Ivan Provorov, have proven they belong in the NHL. Konecny has flashed his play-making skills with four assists, which leads all rookies, while playing on the second line with Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek. Provorov, meanwhile, had a rough game against the Blackhawks but registered an assist and was a plus-one through the first two games.
A good Read
Forward Matt Read entered training camp as a possible candidate to be sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. However, the 30-year-old winger had an excellent preseason and it has certainly carried over to the regular season. He had the game-tying goal to force OT in Arizona and tallied a pair during the rally in Chicago. It was his first two-goal game since March 15, 2014. So far, he has looked like the Matt Read of 2011-2012 through 2013-2014, when he combined to score 73 goals.