The Flyers’ penalty-killing units have struggled mightily in the first six games.
It’s no coincidence that the Flyers are just 5-for-11 on their penalty kill in their three losses. They were 1-for-4 in Saturday’s 6-1 blowout in Boston, their second loss by that score in the last four games.
Overall, their penalty kill, which is missing the injured Sean Couturier and Phil Myers, is clicking at just 63.6%, 28th in the 31-team NHL entering Sunday. New Jersey, the Flyers’ opponent Tuesday and Thursday, is tied for 29th at 62.5%.
Flyers goalie Carter Hart, who has a 4.18 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage in five appearances, was asked about the penalty-killing problems.
“I think just competing on loose pucks [has to improve] and getting the puck out as a unit of five, and myself, just stopping more pucks,” he said. “Plain and simple.”
“We have to watch some film and figure it out quickly,” center Kevin Hayes said.
The Flyers have been badly outshot in each of their six games. Here are the margins for each game: 34-25 and 33-20 against Pittsburgh; 37-22 and 40-30 against Buffalo; and 43-26 and 26-17 against Boston.
“Hockey is just a bunch of one-on-one battles, and we lost more tonight by a landslide,” Hayes said after Saturday’s 6-1 defeat in Boston. “Everyone just needs to take a long look at themselves and realize you need to be harder in one-on-one battles.”
The Flyers entered Sunday having allowed, on average, the third-most shots per game in the NHL (35.5). Their next opponent is New Jersey, which has allowed the league’s most shots per game (37.5).
On the flip side, the Flyers are averaging a league-low 23.7 shots per game.
The Flyers are 1-2-1 in games Couturier (ribs) has missed. “I think everyone needs to figure out what went wrong and correct it in practice,” Hayes said. “We play a lot of hockey in a short amount of time, so you can’t dwell on it.” … Over the last two seasons, Hart is 4-12-1 on the road. Brian Elliott is expected to get Tuesday’s start in New Jersey. … Shayne Gostisbehere, coming off a bout with the coronavirus, is expected to join the club at Monday’s practice in Voorhees. ... The Flyers sent defenseman Derrick Pouliot from the taxi squad to the Phantoms to prepare for their AHL opener Feb. 6. In a cap-related maneuver, they moved Samuel Morin and Connor Bunnaman from the 23-man roster to the taxi squad.