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Cale Makar and the Avalanche skated circles around the fatigued Flyers, doubling them up while playing even more dominantly. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 65: PHI 3, COL 6 – ScheduLe

Cale Makar and the Avalanche skated circles around the fatigued Flyers, doubling them up while playing even more dominantly. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 65: PHI 3, COL 6 – ScheduLe

PredictabLe is also a valid title idea. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 6-3, to the Colorado Avalanche, and not a single part of that statement is shocking because it is still the 2021-22 season. Sure, the Flyers may have been riding momentum after a hard-fought 5-2 win over a solid St. Louis team on Thursday. They then rode into Colorado, home of arguably the NHL’s best team, for their second game in about 25 hours. Just a quick look at the standings and basic understanding of the disadvantages of playing back-to-back nights, especially in Denver’s mile-high elevation, to predict what happened next with astonishing accuracy.

The Flyers somehow founds themselves tied with Colorado with seven-and-a-half minutes left in the first period. But the floodgates opened shortly thereafter, to the tune of four straight Avalanche goals, including three in a span of just 4:20. The Flyers simply had no answers for Colorado’s attack, which is challenging for even the best defenses to contain. Philadelphia’s rag-tag, seven defenseman unit hardly stood a chance. Somehow the Flyers held the Avalanche to just under four expected goals, a number that feels low given just how much puck possession Colorado had.

Philadelphia’s only real chance of winning was some engaging in a shootout. The Avalanche are without Samuel Girard and Josh Manson is still getting used to his new system. But even that proposition felt like a Hail Mary more than a legitimate plan for victory. The Flyers offense has been utterly decimated, and for large portions of the game (especially) early on they struggled to just move the puck up the ice, let alone create chances. They did a solid job of converting on the times they did get behind Colorado’s defense; both James van Riemsdyk and Zack MacEwen scored on breakaways. But the Flyers just didn’t have nearly enough quality chances to ever seriously threaten the Avs.

Even when Max Willman cut the lead to two in the third period, the idea of a Flyers comeback still seemed incredibly unlikely. Colorado responding to a Flyers goal with one of their own within a minute for the second time all but erased whatever slim odds the Flyers had of pulling off the upset.

Look: I’m tired. We’re all tired. It has been such a long season, and yet there is still over a month to go. For the first time since 2006-07, the Philadelphia Flyers are an actually bad hockey team. Oh, they’ve had plenty of years where they weren’t a good hockey team; you don’t miss the playoffs five times in nine years if you’re consistently playing good hockey. But the best word to describe those Flyers team was probably flawed. They usually had good pieces who were playing up to their potential. The problem was their supporting cast was full of players either in roles too high for their skill level or/and ones who were holding the team back, if not actively dragging it down.

This Flyers team is not that. They have players who have shown they can be good pieces in the past, but most of them are not playing up to that level. Seven Flyers players in Friday’s game played in fewer than ten NHL games last year. Of those seven, only two (Morgan Frost and Cam York) are under the age of 24. Two more players, Martin Jones (who didn’t play Friday but did dress as the backup) and Keith Yandle were bought out by their previous teams last summer. That’s nearly half of the roster right then and there. And many of the team’s established NHL players stagnated or even taken a step back from where they were a year or two ago.

That isn’t the makeup of a flawed team. It’s the makeup of a bad one. Yes, any team coming into Denver on the second half of a back-to-back would be sizable underdogs. The problem isn’t that the Flyers got blown out in game 65 of a miserable season. It is, of course, the 64 games before it that made this one so one-sided, and the outcome feel so unimportant. Those flawed Flyers teams drove fans up a wall because they could see the light of the high-end talent. The thought of it breaking through was powerful and tantalizing, but never came to pass. That passion hasn’t been there for the 2021-22 Flyers as a team in a long time. This obviously isn’t nothing new. But it’s worth restating as we at least get to flip the calendar one day closer to the end of this horrible season.

Lindies

In two games against the Flyers this season, the Colorado Avalanche took 101 shots on goal. They peppered 50 shots on Martin Jones in the team’s first game under Mike Yeo, then literally one-upped themselves by taking 51 Friday.

Was making the Flyers play both of their games against the Avalanche on the second half of a back-to-back really necessary?

This was also unnecessary. Both the play and the Tweet.

The Flyers received mixed injury news before Friday’s game. Oskar Lindblom did return to the lineup, but Travis Konecny came out due to an ailment of his own. He’s officially day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

I couldn’t help but think of the tidbit in one of Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts podcasts about how Nazem Kadri “is a Flyer” if he doesn’t re-sign with Colorado tonight. Whether that was just one person’s opinion or an actual tip was sort of unclear. However, Kadri certainly impressed the Flyers brass whether they were/are seriously considering adding him or not. Not only did he fire an absolute snipe past Hart to start the scoring and add a couple of assists, he also took down Joel Farabee in a third period scrap.

Here my thoughts on the Flyers, the deadline, and lots more in the hockey world in the latest episode of That’s Some Cheese.

In another incredibly unsurprising development, Cale Makar set a new franchise record for goals in a single season by an Avalanche defenseman with his 23rd and record-breaking 24th tally. He’s still on pace to be the first defenseman since Mike Green in 2008-09 to have a 30-goal season. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

3 Stars

3rd: Mikko Rantanen (COL) – Goal (32), Assist (45), 3 Shots

2nd: Nazem Kadri (COL) – Goal (25), 2 Assists (53, 54), 7 Shots, 54.5% Faceoffs

1st: Cale Makar (COL) – 2 Goals (23, 24), 5 Shots, 4 Blocks

Next

PHI: 3/27, 6 PM @ NSH (37-24-4, L2)

COL: 3/27, 6 PM @ MIN (38-20-4, W4)

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