Thursday, February 2, 2017

Gostisbehere a healthy Scratch again for Flyers vs. Habs

Call it the sophomore jinx and call Shayne Gostisbehere the invisible ghost?

Whatever the case, the Flyers defenseman will be a healthy scratch on Thursday as the Flyers host the Montreal Canadiens at Wells Fargo Center.

It's been a very difficult season for Gostisbehere in a much-reviled statistical category otherwise known as plus/minus. The 23-year-old is currently tied for the fifth-worst plus/minus in the NHL at minus-19. The glaring minus might be overlooked if Gostisbehere was putting up some offensive numbers but Gostisbehere has not scored a goal since Nov. 25. He famously recorded a 15-point scoring streak during his rookie season, which was the longest by an NHL defenseman in more than 20 years.

This year Gostisbehere has struggled in D zone coverage and has been on ice for 18 goals for and 35 goals against at 5 on 5 per Puckalytics. Those are the numbers that have Dave Hakstol and the coaching staff concerned.

Gostisbehere is as well.

“It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s more frustrating to be on the ice for goals against,” the second-year defenseman said, according to the Courier-Post. “I really don’t care about points or scoring goals. My first job is to play defense. Sometimes the way the pucks are going in the net I feel like I have bad luck, but again I can’t just use that as an excuse. I just look at that and say I can do a lot better myself.”

It has been a strange season in a lot of ways for Philadelphia. Poor goaltending and a very low on-ice PDO of 95.3 certainly have not helped Gostisbehere's cause.

The Flyers also announced that rookie Travis Konecny will be a healthy scratch on Thursday.

The 25-20-6 Flyers are currently clinging to the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Scoring goals has been a bigger problem for the Flyers of late. They have only put up 27 in 13 games since January 1st, which is third-lowest in the NHL. They have allowed 43 in that same span.