Lost in the raucous comeback win over the Bruins on Monday night was that the Flyers’ revamped power play broke an 0-for-14 drought when Kevin Hayes scored in the first period.
On Wednesday, in another gutty win over a superior team, the Flyers did not score on their initial power play at St. Louis but did gain momentum and netted a couple of goals shortly after it ended. Travis Konecny then added a third-period goal on the power play.
On Thursday against Montreal, an inferior team, the Flyers had four power-play chances and were shut down on all four in their 4-1 loss. Eight minutes with a man advantage, nine shots on goal, none put behind Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
“The power play had looks but didn’t finish,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “This is a results-oriented business.”
Vigneault switched his power-play units after the loss last Saturday to Tampa Bay. The most notable change was moving James van Riemsdyk up to the first unit and anchoring him and Konecny down by the goaltender. The duo clicked Wednesday on a terrific touch pass from JVR to Konecny.
But van Riemsdyk is not being paid to pass the puck. He has just two power-play goals for the season and is in a 12-game drought.
One guy who is paid to pass is Claude Giroux, who is just four assists shy of passing Bobby Clarke for the Flyers’ record for power-play assists. But Giroux also is in a funk. He has just eight power-play assists this season, which puts him on a pace for 14, easily a career low.
“If we want to be in a good spot in the playoffs, we need our power play to get going,” Giroux said this week. “We don’t really care how we do it. We need our power play to be big for us.”
It’s been better recently, but improvement is nothing without consistency,
“Some of our guys need to find a way to finish,” Vigneault said after the loss to Montreal. “That could have been momentum for us tonight. It could have been the difference in the game.”
Robert Hagg lost the only fight Thursday night when he was decked several times by Montreal rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi after Hagg had smeared Ryan Poehling with a clean check. Kotkaniemi said that it was his first fight ever and that his reputation as an extremely skilled player helped catch Hagg off guard.
“I think the guy didn’t do too much,” the 19-year-old Finn said. “I think he probably knew my skill. I think that was fine for me.”
Hagg played regular shifts after the third-period fight but was not immediately available for comment after the game.
The Flyers will host the L.A. Kings on Saturday in their penultimate game before the All-Star break.
The Kings are 1-5-1 since beating the Flyers on New Year’s Eve. They lost at Florida on Thursday, making a 4-0 deficit a little more aesthetically pleasing by scoring the game’s final three goals.