In the first two games of their West Coast trip, the Flyers scored five goals and gave up five goals to extend their point streak to seven games with a win and an overtime loss. But when it comes to shots on goal, the numbers are heavily in the oppositions’ favor.
Against the Seattle Kraken and the San Jose Sharks, the Flyers have taken 47 shots while giving up 82.
The deficit stems from problems on both ends of the ice. By failing to get out of their own zone, the Flyers have given opponents lots of opportunities and, at the same time, cut down on their own. While defenseman Keith Yandle said many of the Sharks’ opportunities weren’t “high-end,” it still put their goalie — Felix Sandstrom, making his NHL debut -- in a position where he had to make 43 saves.
“We’ve got to find a way to relieve that pressure and get out of our zone quicker,” interim head coach Mike Yeo said.
But even when the Flyers do move the puck into the offensive zone, they haven’t been taking all the opportunities presented to them. They’re not showing a “shot-first mentality.
“We seem to look for something else first and then quite often we run out of the option to shoot the puck,” Yeo said.
Forward Claude Giroux said there are a number of concrete things they can focus on to generate more shots. They need to put themselves in better shooting positions, create more motion offensively, and provide better support for each other. Once someone takes the initial shot, they also need to be in a good position around the net to capitalize on any rebounds.
If the Flyers make adjustments on their own end to their positioning and mentality, Yeo said it could “change the look of the shot clock drastically,” even against a Los Angeles Kings team that has been playing off the shot.
While the last two games looked messier than the Flyers would have wanted, Yeo said he doesn’t think they have to change anything fundamentally. He liked that there was “no cheat” in their game. They defended hard, and they showed improvement with how they moved the puck into the offensive zone. Now, the Flyers just need to clean it up and add more aggression.
“What good teams do is they don’t change their game,” Yeo said. “They just get stronger or harder.”
Martin Jones, as advertised
Carter Hart may still be absent after testing positive for COVID-19, but the Flyers’ confidence in their goaltender did not waver when Martin Jones stepped into the No. 1 goalie spot.
“He’s given us a chance to win every game,” Giroux said.
Yeo has also liked what he’s seen out of Jones, whom he called a “real pro.” However, Jones’s performance this season doesn’t surprise him.
“I think he came in as advertised,” Yeo said. “Obviously, veteran presence. A guy who’s very calm, has a very calm demeanor in the net. Uses his size well.”
Jones, who did not get to play against his former team, the San Jose Sharks, will step between the pipes against another former team, the Los Angeles Kings, Saturday night. He goes into the game with a 6-4-1 record and a .911 save percentage.
The Flyers face the Kings on the road in a game that starts at 10:30 p.m. ET. ... The Flyers plan to run the same lines and pairings as they did against the Sharks with the exception of one defensive pairing. Kevin Connauton will switch in for Nick Seeler on the third pairing with Yandle. ... Centers Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, and Derick Brassard have all come off the COVID-19 protocol list. Yeo said they will join the team Sunday, two days ahead of the Flyers’ game against the Anaheim Ducks.