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Flyers at Senators Preview – What’s Wrong With the Flyers?

Philadelphia is at it again. A history of poor starts to the season continues.

The biggest success of the night was Gritty flying down from the Wells Fargo Center rafters to the tune of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. That was the peak, as it was quite downhill from that point on.

Speaking of bright spots, they are few and far between, and although his statistics don’t prove a thing, Elliott is actually not the reason this team is getting shelled. Though he surrendered five goals and then a laughable 8-2 loss Tuesday night, he’s not the issue.

The veteran goaltender made 40 saves against Erik Karlsson and the Sharks. He faced 23 shots in the first period alone. The Flyers, at even strength 5v5 hockey, are bad.

The defensemen need to improve. There are two almost entirely ineffective pairings (guess who isn’t on these pairings) and the alternate captain isn’t helping matters. Even Ivan Provorov has struggled.

For readers not familiar with advanced statistics, MacDonald has been advanced bad. It was almost icing on his Corsica cake when Timo Meier put him on skates for the eighth goal of the night. He is the 98th of 98 qualified defenseman in the following categories:

1) Shots against relative to team /60 minutes

2) Scoring Chances Against rel to team /60

3) High-Danger Chances Against rel /60

Too long of a story short, this is inexcusable play for a team leader.

Shayne Gostisbehere has been the best defenseman through the first week, and he’ll look to continue tonight in Ottawa. He scored what looked like was going to be the lone Flyers goal with a patented one-timer.

Hakstol has made the call to the bullpen, giving Calvin Pickard his Flyer debut tonight. Wayne Simmonds is on an 82 goal pace, but temper expectations.

Most forwards do look very good, and the offensive attack is very obviously dangerous. Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton gave the Sharks powerplay fits last night (yes, the one with Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on the first unit). They had multiple shorthanded chances.

Patrick has started slowly, but is gaining ground. Each night he improves, having at least three high-danger chances last night.

Captain Claude Giroux has recorded an assist in all three games to start the season, but hasn’t scored yet. He averages 0.67 points per game on the Senators, his third worst mark of any team. He’s also guaranteed the Flyers a victory.

“I just think we played like s— tonight.” -Giroux

This team needs to come out firing against a clearly lesser team, but they’ve been notorious for letting lottery teams push them around amd playing the big ones close. To lose tonight would be killer.

A player to watch tonight: Claude Giroux. A lazy pick maybe to select the best player, but he’s in his vacation city and will be playing with a huge fire inside.

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