The Philadelphia Flyers have skidded to a season-worst seven-game losing streak.
If the Flyers hope to avoid an eighth straight defeat, they’ll need to beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in Philadelphia.
“Doing this 30 years, you can see when players are frustrated and lack confidence and you can see when players don’t believe. There’s a big difference,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “We still believe, we’ve got a lot of work to do and that’s where our mindset is at.”
The host Flyers continue to be besieged with injuries as Joel Farabee was the latest key player to be sidelined. Farabee is considered week-to-week with an upper body injury.
Philadelphia is also missing Ryan Ellis, Derick Brassard and Patrick Brown, among others.
“I would give you a timeline, but every time I’ve given you a timeline this year, I’ve been wrong,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said of Farabee. “Medical is not an exact science, but I would say that he’s somewhere in the vicinity of week to week.”
The Flyers must improve their power play, which they’ve gone 2 for their last 37.
“We’re just not making the plays we need to make,” Vigneault said. “I’m not satisfied about anything. We have to find a way to win games here. This is serious. We’re not scoring right now, we’re not finishing. We’re going to have to find a way to win games 1-0 or 2-1 until we get some of that finish that I know some of these players have. Right now, we’re not seeing it. We’re not executing it.”
The Lightning responded to a two-game losing streak by winning their last two.
After a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues last Thursday, the Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime Saturday. Steven Stamkos scored the game winner at 1:31 of overtime to extend his point scoring streak to six.
Even without key players injured such as Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, the Lightning continue to find ways to win and compile points.
“Can you replace players that are regarded as top 10 players in the league? No, those guys don’t just fall out of the sky,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “I think what replaces them is the collective group, our confidence in our structure, the mentality in how we play the game.”
The Lightning don’t have many weaknesses, if any. But they’ve been prone to taking some bad penalties in recent games, and that could be an issue as the season progresses.
“I think especially 5-on-5 we were playing well,” Victor Hedman said. “I think we’ve been playing well as of late. We’re back to our habits of playing smart hockey and we’re playing quick and picking up points.”
As usual, the Lightning received a stellar effort from their goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 37 saves against the Bruins. Vasilevskiy recently earned his 200th career regular season victory.
“It’s a big achievement,” Vasilevskiy said. “I’m proud of it. Obviously, I want to thank my teammates for that because I can’t win on my own, so it’s just great teamwork.”
–Field Level Media