What do you even say at this point? (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 21: PHI 1, NYR 4 – Void

It doesn’t how loud you yell, boo, or Tweet, no one can hear our screams. The Philadelphia Flyers lose for the seventh consecutive time, 4-1, to the New York Rangers. There is really nothing else to say because once again, the Flyers are failing to do the one thing that every sports team at their core has to do — matter.

It’s not that big of a stretch to say that no team has mattered less than the Flyers over the last nine years. Not just the 2021-22 team, but the franchise in general. Oh, there have been plenty of teams worse than them over that time. Mattering isn’t the same thing as winning. The Sabres and Coyotes matter precisely because of how terrible they are. It’s better to matter because you’re good, of course, or fun at the very least. But even importance via failure has something going for it, if only in the long-term.

The Flyers are not that. It feels like nothing they do even makes a difference. They shuffle their power-play personnel around and are still stopped on twelve shots they fired at Igor Shesterkin while on the man advantage. Their second-line center Kevin Hayes returns from injury ahead of schedule only for Joel Farabee to suffer a serious-looking injury, leaving the game with an upper-body injury. Ryan Ellis came in to be Matt Niskanen’s replacement on steroids. Tonight, his expected partner Ivan Provorov played alongside journeyman Nick Seeler more than any other defensemen. The pair had Corsi and Expected Goals ratings under 11% together.

Their once renowned forecheck actually created quite a few turnovers tonight, but it had very little payoff. After six games of losing with terrible 5-on-5 numbers, the Flyers outshot (52.56% Corsi) and nearly out-chanced (49.48% Expected Goals) the Rangers, a team who hasn’t been great either at even strength this year (31st in Corsi, 27th in Expected Goals). It didn’t matter. It never mattered. The Rangers led 2-0 before the first half of the first period ticked by and never let the Flyers within one goal the rest of the way.

It’s hard, almost impossible right now, to shake the feeling of pessimism that is swallowing this season whole by the game. It just feels like the team can’t buy a bounce. Even when someone makes a good play, like Morgan Frost’s great forecheck effort that led to his first goal of the season, it gets canceled out by something like two high sticking penalties, the first of which saw Jacob Trouba beat Carter Hart for the game’s first goal.

Hart and Provorov, two pillars of the Flyers’ supposed rejuvination this season, were dunked on soon after that not by one of the Rangers’ multi-million dollar stars, but by undrafted free agent Dryden Hunt, who has 28 points in 110 career games. The defensive breakdown that led to Chris Kreider’s 3-0 goal could’ve easily been mistaken for one that occurred in the 9-0 demolition in Madison Square Garden that sent last season’s team spiraling for good. The good news is this game probably won’t go down in history for the same reasons. The bad news is that’s because Philadelphia’s latest turn for the worse began long before tonight.

This isn’t the first time in a long time the Flyers have fallen flat on their faces. They lost eight straight in 2018-19, finally won one, then lost one, then won eight straight. They lost ten straight in 2017-18, then won six straight and made the playoffs one year after winning ten straight and missing. The problem with this streak compared to those ones is time. Philadelphia no longer has a top-ten prospect pool to distract fans from the NHL’s team failures. The Flyers aren’t building for the future anymore; as a matter of fact, we’re in the future they built. It’s just not the one any of us expected.

There are so many things the Flyers can do right now to try and break out of this funk. They could shuffle the lines again. They could fire Michel Therrien. Maybe even the whole coaching staff. Chuck Fletcher, despite a cap situation tighter than skinny jeans, could move heaven and high water to pull off a blockbuster trade. Or perhaps just a little more patience will finally pay off.

Maybe one or more of these things could fix the Flyers. Maybe one or more of them will. Yet everything that has happened over the last nine years suggests that all those things are will just sink the Flyers further into the void. It isn’t impossible to escape, but when you’ve been there as long and have done as much to try to break free as the Flyers have, the void looks deeper and darker today than ever before.

Lindies

Before this skid, the Flyers had never lost more than four consecutive games under Alain Vigneault.

You might want to scroll down to the 3 stars before you answer this question.

I know lots of people will be screaming for Fletcher to make a huge splash trade to try and fix the Flyers. But as Elliotte Friedman always says, when a team is struggling, other GMs are throwing anvils, not life rafts at them. In other words, they’re not looking to help the Flyers; they’re looking to take advantage of their desperation. Believe it or not, this can get worse. The void can get bigger. I’m not saying a trade would absolutely cause that, but let’s not make this any worse than it already is.

3 Stars

3rd: Kaapo Kakko (NYR) – 2 Assists (4, 5), 6 Shots

2nd: Jacob Trouba (NYR) – Goal (4), 3 Shots, 4 Blocks, 22:47 TOI

1st: Igor Shesterkin (NYR) – .971 SV% (33 Saves/34 Shots), 1 GA on 3.15 Expected Goals Against

Next

PHI: 12/5, 6 PM vs. TB (12-5-4, OTL1)

NYR: 12/3, 7 PM vs. SJ (12-9-1, W2)

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All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick