Could changes come? Another bad 1st period burns Flyers on road trip



The Flyers officially reached the halfway point of the season Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Despite a promising start to 2019-20, their midseason evaluation has become more and more blemished on this six-game road trip.

Another leaky first period burned the Flyers in a 5-4 loss to the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.

The Flyers didn't quit and made it a one-goal game early in the third period but failed to net an equalizer. They even had a two-man advantage and emptied their net for 38 seconds in the final 1:30 of the game but couldn't beat Marc-Andre Fleury once more.

So far, the Flyers (22-14-5) have held a lead for one minute and nine seconds on this road trip (1-3-0) in which they've been outscored 17-10.

For some reason, Alain Vigneault's group can't figure things out away from Philadelphia. The Flyers are 9-12-1 with a minus-26 goal differential on the road compared to 13-2-4 with a plus-35 goal differential at home.

The Flyers currently hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Panthers.

The Golden Knights (23-15-6) are 12-4-2 since Nov. 27 and in first place of the Pacific Division.

• Once again, the first period proved problematic for the Flyers.

They yielded four goals during the opening stanza for the second straight game. On the road swing, they've allowed 10 first-period goals after allowing only seven goals total during their four-game winning streak prior to the trip.

The Golden Knights put Carter Hart completely under attack and never let up with their game-breaking pace (see highlights). When the Flyers aren't forechecking and really moving their feet, they've seen opponents carve them up with high-end skill and speed.

Hart, who finished with 28 saves, is 2-8-1 with 42 goals allowed on the road compared to 11-1-2 and only 21 goals surrendered at home.

• When a team is going through this kind of a stretch, these types of losses trigger roster moves.

The fourth line of Chris Stewart, Mikhail Vorobyev and Michael Raffl was not good in limited time. For the Flyers to shake things up, Vorobyev feels like an obvious candidate to go back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Maksim Sushko (four goals, six assists, plus-8) has played well for the Phantoms. Maybe the 20-year-old winger (if he's not banged up) gets his first chance with the Flyers and Raffl moves back to the middle.

• Some positives for the Flyers:

Sean Couturier had a three-point game (two goals, one assist), giving him 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and a plus-17 rating over his last 31 contests.

Claude Giroux is on a five-game point streak after putting up a goal and an assist.

Travis Konecny was active and scored a highlight-reel goal, his first marker in eight games.

None of it was enough for the Flyers to win a track meet.

• The Flyers visit the Coyotes on Saturday (8 p.m. ET/NBCSP) before wrapping up their road trip against the Hurricanes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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