Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 54: MIN 5, PHI 4 – Min(n)ute To Lose It
Harsh, but fair. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 5-4, to the Minnesota Wild, choking in a game where they didn’t have any business to choke. The Flyers were incredibly fortunate to be ahead 4-3 with under eight minutes to go in the third period Thursday. But as they’ve done so many times this season, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; this time, courtesy of two goals separated by 25 seconds, allowing the Wild to snap their four-game losing streak.
Much was made during the NBC Sports Philadelphia about all of the connections between the Flyers and Wild, and for good reason. The Flyers front office and coaching staff are comprised of several former Wild members. There’s Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, who ran the Wild for nearly a decade, and his right-hand man, Brent Flahr. Behind Philadelphia’s bench are two Mike Yeo and John Torchetti, who both coached not only the Wild but also their AHL affiliate. Next to them on the Flyers bench is Nick Schultz, the franchise’s second-ever draft pick who played for the team for over a decade. And this isn’t a one-sided list; the Wild boast first-line center Ryan Hartman and starting goaltender Cam Talbot, who were (briefly) Flyers during the 2018-19 season.
Of course, the one area where there isn’t enough crossover, at least from Philadelphia’s perspective, is in the standings. It must pain Fletcher and Flahr to watch Kirill Kaprizov, the 5th round gem they unearthed, thrive on the opposite side of them. Fletcher was able to establish a culture of consistent success in Minnesota; the club has made more playoff appearances than any franchise except the Penguins since 2013. Yes, that run hasn’t contained a trip past the second round, a stage the Wild only reached twice. If that weren’t the case, Fletcher would likely still be in Minnesota. But it’s hard for Flyers fans to even dream of such a run of form with how dismal everything has been since 2020 ended.
Casual fans may not have realized just how much better the Wild are than the Flyers, mainly because Minnesota didn’t look the part of a contender for large stretches of the game. That’s not to say they didn’t outplay the Flyers; the Wild won the shot attempt and expected goals battles in every single period, and by fairly wide margins as well. Yet they also looked sloppy, particularly in net where Talbot was noticeably uncomfortable, especially in the first period. Minnesota didn’t create much of their own offense. And the Flyers’ special teams, an absolute trainwreck in 2022, actually finished plus-one on the night. There was a legitimate path to victory for Philadelphia, a victory that easily would’ve been their most impressive of 2022.
Yet for every mistake the Wild made, the Flyers seemed to make an even greater one. Three of Minnesota’s goals came directly off turnovers; none more egregious than a brutal giveaway when Derick Brassard failed to lob the puck over Frederik Gaudreau’s head in what should have been a routine “flip the puck out of the zone to end the period” situation. The Flyers once again gave up two goals in the blink of an eye to erase a third-period lead, with strikes by Kevin Fiala and Jonas Brodin (through an own screen by Justin Braun no less) 25 seconds apart dealt the Flyers yet another heartbreaking defeat. It’s disappointing, but given everything that’s happened this season, certainly not surprising.
The Flyers know they are far off from being a playoff team, let alone contenders. They also know that status won’t change this season; as if it needs to be said, Thursday’s loss officially eliminates the possibility of a 100-point season. Seeing how much better a team with so many pieces with connections both ways — not to mention Hartman played hero with a two-goal performance (his 21 goals would lead the Flyers, by the way) — is just salt in an already gaping wound. Maybe one day the Flyers can be on the other side of this equation. But that won’t ease the pain of the present.
Super cool to see Flyers players rocking the jerseys of high schools competing in the upcoming Flyers Cup tournament. With all due respect to everyone, the winner of the jersey contest has to be Giroux, since he pulled double-duty by repping the jersey of Nick Schultz’s son Jake, who plays for St. Joe’s Prep.
If you’re looking for reasons to watch the Flyers over the next couple of weeks, getting to see the kids is increasingly becoming not one of them. Isaac Ratcliffe was the latest prospect to be sent down, meaning the Flyers will not have a skater under 25 on their roster when Travis Konecny celebrates his birthday a week from Friday. That would be a bit concerning even for a contender; it’s a total nightmare for a team as dismal as the Flyers.
It was a big night for Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon, who played his 744th game tonight, the most ever by a Wild defenseman; passing his former teammate Schultz in doing so.
Due to COVID, this was the first Flyers game against at home the Wild since Jan. 19, 2019. They won 7-4 behind that night behind a James van Riemsdyk hat-trick and two-goal games from Wayne Simmonds and Nolan Patrick; including this beauty.
Scott Laughton’s opening goal ended a 1:05:11 shutout streak for the Flyers, dating back to the first period of the Washington game.
Finally, apologies for the shorter recaps as of late. Things have been getting hectic at college, and that combined with the Flyers’ poor form makes it hard to find both the right words and motivation. That should change going forward; if only temporarily, since I’m officially on spring break as of writing. “Rest up, bud!” – Travis Konecny (probably)
3rd: Scott Laughton (PHI) – Goal (11), Assist (15)
2nd: Kevin Fiala (MIN) – 2 Assists (28, 29)
1st: Ryan Hartman (MIN) – 2 Goals (20, 21), 6 Shots, 21:16 TOI
MIN: 3/6, 4 PM vs. DAL (31-20-3, W3)
PHI: 3/5, 3 PM vs. CHI (20-27-8, W1)
All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick
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