Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. You give up control of the puck, you give up control of the game, and the Flyers did just that in this 2-1 loss to Boston.
The Flyers never had much more than 20 seconds of control in the Bruins’ end, and only held the puck for that long on the rarest of occasions.
They failed to get the puck out of their own zone, struggled to make it through the neutral zone, and were inept at crossing into the offensive zone.
Peter Laviolette saw this, and said his team needed to be more careful with the puck.
“We just kind of threw it, hoping, as opposed to going through that grind and that work and the movement for each other and support of each other,” he said. “We put the puck in bad areas – areas that we didn’t check to see if they were safe yet or not.”
The Flyers’ play their best hockey when they establish an offensive zone forecheck, control the puck, and work it up and around to their mobile point men. When the only offense you’re generating is a few quick one-and-done chances off the rush, this simply can’t happen.
To change that, they need to stop with the fancy plays and blind passes while crossing into the offensive zone and return to the simple dump and chase hockey that makes this team dangerous. Get the puck deep and work hard to win it off the sticks of the defenders.
They have the ability, just not the drive.
Kimmo Timonen summed it up when he said that the only thing the team needs to do better is “work harder.”
“I think it’s an individual thing,” Timonen said. “If you’re not prepared to play it’s hard to ramp it up. It’s one of those things where you have to come to the rink ready to play.”
Timonen went on to say that the Flyers’ benchmark for success at this point should be their play against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
“The Washington game was the game we would like to play every night,” he said. “It showed this week that we can play that game when everybody is on the same page and everybody wants to play well.
“The last few games we haven’t been able to [find consistency], so hopefully we can regroup and do it in Pittsburgh.”
If they can rediscover that level of play, then they will have no problem holding on to their Conference lead over the next two weeks, and will be able to hit the playoffs in stride.