The Flyers entered last night's game against the New York Islanders riding a five-game losing streak, including two embarrassing losses under their newly appointed head coach Peter Laviolette. In his first game as coach, Laviolette watched his team fall to an Ovechkin-less Capitals squad, 8-2. That was followed by a 3-1 loss to Montreal, a game in which the Canadiens only had 13 shots on goal.
All of this means the Flyers plummeted in various power rankings around the Web this week. Here is Pattison Ave.'s weekly roundup, something we hope to provide going forward.
*The Flyers dropped two spots in ESPN.com's power rankings, from 20th to 22nd. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun isn't sure firing John Stevens was the solution:
I'm not convinced coaching was the real issue.
*Allan Muir dropped the Flyers 11 spots, from 17th to 28th, in SI.com's weekly rankings. Muir really gives the Flyers the business:
Peter Laviolette is in and the losing continues. Hard to imagine things getting much worse than the 8-2 drubbing by the Caps in the new coach's debut, but this team may be a long way from turning it around. Losers of seven of eight, outscored 31-14, they're suffering from self-inflicted wounds. Lousy goaltending, ineffective special teams, little net presence and less personal discipline provide an interesting challenge, even for a former Cup-winner like Laviolette.
*FOXSports.com's Robert Picarello points out the Flyers' inability to put the puck in the net while dropping the team down to 21st:
New coach, same result for the Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately for Philly, Peter Laviolette can't help them bury the biscuit. The Flyers come into Week 11 having scored two or fewer goals in 11 straight games.
*CBSSports.com dropped the team eight spots, from 12th to 20th, in their rankings. Staff writer Wes Goldstein seems to place the blame on goaltender Ray Emery, who will be sidelined for the next six weeks after tearing a muscle in his lower abdominal wall:
Ray Emery has had a 5.36 goals-against average and an .814 save percentage in his past five starts, and was yanked in two.
The Canadian Sports Network (they should know something about hockey, eh?) kept the Flyers in their Top 20, but dropped them from 9th to 17th:
With one win in the last eight, a power play that is 0-for-15 in the last four and suffering an 8-2 home loss in new coach Peter Laviolette's debut behind the bench, the Flyers have been free-falling in recent weeks, but have too much talent for this to continue.
Having said that (apologies to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld), all of these rankings were posted between Dec. 6-8 and did not factor in last night's 6-2 victory over the the Islanders. The Flyers (now 14-13-1) not only snapped their five-game losing streak, but were also able to score on three-of-five power plays (something they couldn't do in their previous 19 attempts).
The team has a rough schedule ahead as they take on the Ottawa Senators (14-11-4) tomorrow night at home at 7 p.m. Then they hit the road to take on the New Jersey Devils (20-7-1), the Boston Bruins (15-9-5) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-1).