Though the Philadelphia Flyers had built up a bit of a winning streak prior to the All-Star break, their two games this week made it clear that the momentum had not carried over. Both were losses to the Detroit Red Wings – one at home, one on the road – and both played out a very similar way. First, on Wednesday, the Flyers took on the Red Wings at the Wells Fargo Center, where they fell 6-3. Then they traveled to Little Caesars Arena, where Detroit doubled them up once again to sweep the miniseries. Through these two contests, some players found more success than the team as a whole. However, others did not perform quite so impressively. Each week, we’ll take a look at Philadelphia Flyers players who are on a hot or cold streak. This week, we’ll examine Isaac Ratcliffe and Carter Hart.
Be sure to check out last week’s streaks as well.
Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Isaac Ratcliffe
Hot Streak: Isaac Ratcliffe
Isaac Ratcliffe’s first NHL goal probably didn’t happen exactly as he had expected it. In fact, he didn’t even get credit for it at first. Playing in just his fourth NHL game, Ratcliffe found himself right in front of the Red Wings’ net as Zack MacEwen spun around in the high slot and fired off a shot. The tally was attributed to MacEwen, with Ratcliffe having simply provided an effective screen on Alex Nedeljkovic. But later, it was discovered that the puck had actually hit Ratcliffe before finding the back of the net. Just like that, he had his first (slightly unorthodox) NHL goal – and an important one, too, as it tied the game at one apiece.
Then, in Saturday’s game, Ratcliffe continued to heat up, recording a secondary assist on Keith Yandle‘s first goal as a Flyer. He extricated the puck from a scrum in front of the net and got it to Scott Laughton, who slid it over to Yandle, who unloaded a massive slap shot and scored. That wasn’t his only contribution to the play, either. Yet again, Ratcliffe provided a perfect screen, completely obscuring Thomas Greiss‘ vision to help the long-distance shot find its way past him.
In the few games he’s played with the Flyers, Isaac Ratcliffe has already been finding a way to make his mark. He’s playing on the fourth line right now, but there could be an opportunity for him to take on a bigger role if he keeps performing the way he did this week.
Honourable Mention: Travis Konecny
Though a goal wasn’t in the cards for Travis Konecny this week, he still found a way to make an impact through two crucial assists. The first was in Wednesday’s game, with the Flyers down by two late in the second period. A win wasn’t out of reach quite yet, but the team needed to close the gap quickly. After Laughton lost the puck in the Red Wings’ zone, Konecny swooped in and produced a shot that deflected off a defender’s skate and right to Laughton at the side of the net, who potted a goal to get the Flyers within one.
On Saturday, Konecny assisted another tally for Laughton. This time, his shot made it through to Thomas Greiss, slipping through the goaltender’s legs. Laughton tapped the loose puck before Greiss could get to it, and it was a one-goal game again. Hopefully, Konecny will continue to put together timely plays like the ones he orchestrated this week.
Cold Streak: Carter Hart
Oftentimes, a goalie’s performance reflects the defence’s weaknesses. While that might still have partly been the case in this week, Carter Hart simply wasn’t as sharp as usual, either. He put up a .857 save percentage through the two games – and while a bad save percentage on its own is not always an accurate measurement of how a goaltender plays, when combined with a relatively light workload, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
In Wednesday’s game, the Flyers allowed 33 shots on goal – fairly average, especially compared to the 40 shots Hart faced against the Los Angeles Kings last week. But of those 33 shots, he let in 5 goals. The first was a deflection, nearly impossible to stop. The second was tricky but could’ve been saved, had Hart managed to stick his pad out a bit further. But the third, fourth, and fifth? Those were the kinds of shots – no traffic and no apparent redirection – that he definitely should have stopped. The complexion of that game would have been far different if Hart had made those saves.
On Saturday, the Flyers allowed even fewer shots – just 23. But it was less Hart’s fault this time around, as the defence’s perpetual inability to clear his sightlines made all the goals difficult to save. Overall, his individual performance was below average this week, but defensive blunders exacerbated his struggles. With quality Metropolitan rivals looming ahead, Hart will need to pick up his game (and to enable him to do so, the defence will need to give him more support).