Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher wants to see his team healthy before he considers any major changes. That could be tough to achieve, especially as his team’s playoff hopes grow dimmer with every passing day.
After a six-game absence, Kevin Hayes returned to the lineup for Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. But Joel Farabee slammed hard into the boards during the first period. After playing one more shift, he left the game for good.
Flyers say Joel Farabee has upper body injury and will not return tonight
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 2, 2021
Coach Alain Vigneault said afterward that Farabee would be re-evaluated on Thursday.
With a lack of scoring as the focal point of the Flyers’ current swoon, the 21-year-old sniper will be missed if he’s sidelined for any significant stretch of time. With seven goals this season, he’s tied for the team lead with Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson. And Philadelphia’s offensive tap currently running bone dry, Farabee has been responsible for 25% of the scoring during the current 0-5-2 losing skid, with three of his club’s 12 goals.
Also currently on the injured list:
- Ryan Ellis – lower body – injured reserve
- Nate Thompson – shoulder surgery – sidelined indefinitely
- Derick Brassard – hip injury – day-to-day
Wade Allison, who suffered an ankle injury during preseason, was medically cleared on Wednesday, and assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Allison made a strong impression when he made his NHL debut late last season. He demonstrated a high-energy, physical game and a nose for the net as he picked up four goals and seven points in 14 games.
A Frustrated Coach
“We have to find ways to win games here,” said Vigneault on Wednesday. “This is serious. We’re not scoring. Right now, we’re not finishing, so we’re going to have to find ways to win games 1-0 and 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.”
Through the losing streak, the Flyers have been averaging 30 shots per game, but connecting on just 5.7%. Through the first 14 games of the season, when their record was 8-4-2, they were averaging 31.6 shots per game, and scoring 8.6% of the time.
By comparison — through Wednesday’s games, the Colorado Avalanche lead the NHL in scoring this season. They’re averaging 3.95 goals per game, and while they’re 12th in the league at 32.9 shots per game, they’re first in team shooting percentage, at 12%.
Power Play Is Ice Cold
A frigid power play is also contributing to the Flyers’ scoring woes. Over the last seven games, the team has gone 1-for-19 with the man advantage. Derick Brassard, who’s now sidelined, had the lone power-play goal during that stretch, in the 5-2 loss to Boston on Nov. 20.
All told, the Flyers have eight power-play goals on 64 attempts this season — a success rate of 12.5% ties them with New Jersey and Montreal for 28th in the league. They’re averaging 3.05 power plays per game this season, and have continued to generate opportunities through this losing skid. But their failure to capitalize is costing them wins and points.
“The power play had opportunities,” Vigneault said after the loss to the Rangers. “It could have made a big difference in helping us come back in this game. But we’re just not making the plays we need to make.”
Frost Chips In
Morgan Frost was the lone offensive bright spot on Wednesday. In his fourth game since being called up last week, he scored his first of the year on a setup from Atkinson and Giroux.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 2, 2021
It’s just the third NHL goal of Frost’s career, and his first in more than two years. The other two came in November of 2019.
But Wednesday’s tally wasn’t much cause for celebration.
“I’m not really thinking about that right now, to be honest,” said Frost after the game. “It’s more about the team right now, definitely. I want to be here and help the team win and I think the team winning helps my case personally.
“So, one goal is ‘whatever.’ But we definitely want to win the game.”
The Flyers’ first-round pick from 2017, Frost is known for his offensive instincts. At this point, more contributions from the 22-year-old will be welcomed.
Big Week Ahead
The Flyers have an unexpectedly light schedule this week; their Tuesday home game was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the Islanders organization.
The team now has three days to practice and regroup before a rare 5-in-7 stretch kicks off on Sunday. That starts with back-to-back games against two high-flying opponents — first the Tampa Bay Lightning, then the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. After that, it’s back to Newark for another date with the Devils on Wednesday, followed by a quick trip west to face the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
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