Flyers Season in Review: Wild West November
The 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers was a roller-coaster ride that ended with their second postseason berth in the last three years. The season was filled with great moments, goals, saves and players’ performances. Over the next couple of weeks, The Hockey Writers, will take a deep look at each month of action. We will break down what happened in a specific month and what it meant to the season and the future of the franchise.
How the West Was Lost
The Flyers had a 14-11-6 record against the West this season, which was the fifth best in the East. November did not help that record at all. Ten of the 13 games they played in the month was against the opposite conference, the Flyers were 2-5-3. The Flyers were shutout five times this season, three times in the month of November – once by Corey Crawford and twice by Devan Dubnyk.
Scoring was an issue all month against the Western Conference teams, as they only scored over two goals only three times in those ten games. Goaltending wasn’t any better, giving up five goals in those same three games against the West. The result was their longest winless streak of the season and rock bottom.
Moment of the Month
The Flyers were winless in nine straight games at the end of November. There were many moments during the streak that could have ended it before it got monstrous. They had leads in seven of the nine games and two-goal leads in four of them. The shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov.16 was a close second to the moment of the month. It brought the ten-game suspension of Radko Gudas and a game-tying goal with under a minute to go.
The moment of the month was in the next game, in loss number four, on Nov. 18 at home against the Calgary Flames. The Flyers built a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period and the home fans felt like this was the day the streak would end.
Sean Monahan started his career-day with two power play goals to tie the game in the second. Later in that period, Nolan Patrick gave the Flyers the lead again with a beautiful goal, but that was the end of the celebration.
The moment of the month started on Johnny Gaudreau’s stick, as his blast on the power play hit Taylor Leier, who went down in a heap. The puck found Gaudreau again, who made a nice pass to Monahan for his first career hat trick.
They allowed three power play goals against on five attempts in a game and they ended up losing in overtime, 5-4. The horrific penalty kill fell from 17th in the NHL all the way down to 24th. They would stay near the bottom of the league the rest of the season and the PK was a major issue that cost them in the postseason.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
November was a month to forget for the Flyers, but there were some positives of note. The Flyers saw the NHL debuts for Danick Martel and 29-year-old Will O’Neill. The Flyers played four defensemen with less than 15 games of NHL experience in a 2-0 win at St. Louis on Nov. 2. It was the first time in franchise history the Flyers played a game under those circumstances.
Sam Morin even got into his only two games of the season in November, playing in back-to-back games against the New York Islanders. Leier scored his only goal of the season on Nov. 22 vs the Islanders.
Jake Voracek (five goals, nine assists) and Claude Giroux (five goals, nine assists) paced the Flyers with 14 points in the 13 games played in the month.