In a battle of two struggling teams coming off of extended layoffs, this critical game will decide plenty. Will an offensively challenged Flyers team recover against their huge rivals from New York City?
The Philadelphia Flyers offered up what has been status quo this season by scoring just one goal in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday evening.
For the Flyers, breakdowns were the name of the game. Three of Pittsburgh's four goals, empty-netter notwithstanding, resulted directly from bad breakdowns.
After a scoreless first period, the Penguins opened the floodgates first.
Michael Raffl and Kimmo Timonen could not clear the zone, leading to a turnover. A quick snap feed from Evgeni Malkin found blazing hot Jussi Jokinen who sniped home his fourth of the season to make it 1-0.
(Photo: Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds attempts to score in close on Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
When it was determined that Max Talbot would be a top-nine forward heading into the season-opening 3-1 loss to Toronto on October 2 there was an immediate problem with the Flyers.
No disrespect to Talbot, who is one of the hardest working penalty killers in the NHL, but he is not a third line left winger on a team that is desperately searching for a goal-scorer. And with no wiggle room under the salary cap the Flyers are finding out the hard way that no depth at forward is going to hurt them this season.
Failure to capitalize on special teams, scoring just one goal and dreadful puck possession time doomed the Flyers as they fell to the Phoenix Coyotes, 2-1, on a rainy Friday night in Philadelphia.
To add an insult to injury, along with the loss, Flyers forward corps sustained a large blow by losing Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, forcing both to leave the game.
According to General Manager Paul Holmgren, both will miss at least a week, and will both have MRIs tomorrow. Call-up opportunities remain to be seen, as the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL) were playing the Hartford Wolf Pack on this night as well.
Both Flyers power play units failed to score on multiple opportunities. Phoenix's suffocating defensive style under head coach Dave Tippett frustrated the Flyers all night long resulting in the power play going 0-for-4.
(Photo: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson [right] celebrates his go-ahead goal in the 2nd period. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The start of a new season brings with it countless questions for all 30 teams.
Some questions will be answered right away while others may take all season or even longer. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are no different.
Without further ado, here are five questions facing the Flyers this 2013-14 season.
(There will be pressure on the Flyers forwards to score this season, including a repeat performance from Jakub Voracek [front] and a break out season from Matt Read [back]. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line.)