Flyers' struggles causing them to leave points on the table
In three of the past five games, the Flyers have squandered three, two-goal leads and are 1-6 in overtime/shootout games.
The Flyers have to hope that their late-game collapses over the first 23 games of the season aren't getting into their heads.
In Friday's 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting New York Islanders, the Flyers blew a 4-2 lead entering the third period. It was the team's seventh consecutive loss.
Granted, the Flyers have earned four points in those seven games, with three overtime losses and one shootout defeat, but they are now 1-6 in overtime/shootout games this season.
"It is frustrating, obviously," said right winger Jake Voracek, who had two assists to give him eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last five games. "We had a two-goal lead, we have to find a way to close it. This happened three times in the last seven if I am not mistaken."
He was mistaken. It's three times in the last five games. The Flyers also squandered two-goal leads in a 3-2 shootout loss at Winnipeg on Nov. 16 and in a 5-4 overtime loss against visiting Calgary on Nov. 18.
It is difficult to come back from any deficit in the NHL, especially while entering the third period. The Islanders entered Saturday's game at Ottawa, 2-7-1 when trailing after two periods. The Flyers are 0-6-2.
One has to wonder if the Flyers (8-9-6) are losing confidence with these recent collapses and with their struggles in overtime and shootouts.
"We have to find a way to get confidence, especially in the third," said captain Claude Giroux, who earned his 599th and 600th career points with a goal and assist Friday. "We have to believe in what we're doing and what we're doing is going to work."
Or maybe they have to change what they are doing.
This is a young team, but are the Flyers playing not to lose once they get a lead?
"I don't know if it is a lack of confidence, I think we kind of get away from our game," said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who had a goal and assist Friday. "You step back and you play to protect the lead."
The mind-set, according to Gostisbehere, is to be more aggressive.
"We have to keep pushing, keep making plays if you're up 4-2."
So the Flyers, who will visit Pittsburgh on Monday, thought that the game should never have gone to overtime. Yet overtime has been its own problem for the Flyers.
On Friday, the game-winning overtime goal came from a wide-open Nick Leddy. Too many times in the three-on-three extra period, the Flyers are losing their men.
"I think we have confidence going into three-on-three, we have the skill and the hockey sense to do it," goalie Brian Elliott said. "We are just losing guys and not playing man on man; that's kind of how it breaks down."
While Elliott is new to the team, the Flyers' struggles in overtime and shootouts are a continuation from last season. The Flyers were 5-10 in these situations in 2016-2017.
On Saturday, the Flyers had off from practice, probably giving the players time to dwell even more on all the points that they have left on the table and to figure out a way to reverse this trend.