The Philadelphia Flyers have been fairly adept at forging winning streaks, and they will have to try to get another one going when they travel to Anaheim to face the Ducks on Sunday.
The Flyers saw a four-game winning come to an end when they were thoroughly dominated in San Jose, losing to the Sharks 6-1. The Flyers have three winning streaks of at least four games going back to the start of November. None have been longer than five games.
Their most recent winning streak started at home on Dec. 17 when they scored four times in the final 40 minutes to earn a 4-1 victory over the same Ducks team they will face Saturday. It proved they know how to beat the Ducks, but Saturday’s showing against the Sharks won’t cut it.
San Jose led Philadelphia 3-0 after two periods Saturday, with the Sharks’ Timo Meier finishing off his hat trick in the third period. Only Ivan Provorov scored for the Flyers, delivering on a power play.
“I’m not sure if it was physicality or our lack of ability to make any plays,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “It was evident from the start that our execution was not there. I thought it got better early in the third period, but for most of the game we had a hard time making any plays with the puck or on the forecheck without the puck.”
That victory earlier this month against the Ducks was the Flyers’ first at home after learning that left winger Oskar Lindblom had been diagnosed with cancer. Lindblom visited the team before that game, and the Flyers dedicated that victory to him.
While the offense has been much better over the past six games, Saturday’s game notwithstanding, the defense had tightened before the Sharks found some holes. Philadelphia had given up a combined 14 goals in three consecutive defeats, then outscored their opponents 20-7 while winning four straight.
The Ducks will enter Sunday’s game off an energetic 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday that was not as close as the score might indicate. The Ducks scored three goals in a span of 97 seconds in the second period and took a 4-1 lead into the final two minutes of the game.
The Ducks went on an extended power play after captain Ryan Getzlaf was hit in the face by a stick from the Golden Knights’ Tomas Nosek. They scored their first goal of the flurry on a two-man advantage, and scored the other two while up a man.
The extended Christmas break did wonders for the Ducks, who went 1-3 on an East Coast road trip that started with the defeat to the Flyers. The one victory came in a shootout last weekend against the New York Islanders.
“There’s going to be a little rust after a break, but our energy was there the whole time,” the Ducks’ Cam Fowler told reporters after the victory over the Golden Knights. “We were ready to go. You have to match that team’s work ethic. That’s a big staple of theirs. Maybe execution-wise, that takes a couple minutes, but I thought our guys were ready right from the start.”
–Field Level Media