When the Philadelphia Flyers entered this season, they thought they had solved their biggest problem. A top pair defenseman to help Ivan Provorov.
However, just 3-games into the season, that plan would be torn up.
Ryan Ellis, who the Flyers acquired to help Ivan Provorov on the top defense unit, would suffer a lower-body injury. An injury that has kept Ellis out of the lineup – expect for his lone return for one game (11/13 vs DAL) – where Ellis is believed to have done more damage.
With no reliable partner once again for Ivan Provorov, his game has taken another a turn for the worse.
In the three games Provorov & Ryan Ellis played together, the pair was very effective. Especially Provorov – who finished those three games with an assist, +4 rating, & 14-blocks (9 vs BOS on 10/20) in an average of 25:48 of ice time.
Since Ryan Ellis’s injury, Ivan Provorov’s game has struggled. Provorov has 5-goals, 14-assists, -15 rating, & 25:04 average ice time in the 50-games since Ellis’s injury.
But, why has Provorov’s game struggled? Is there one reason for his struggles?
While many would immediately point to Provorov not having a steady reliable partner, that really isn’t the cause of it.
Justin Braun, who has stepped in for Ryan Ellis, has performed very well in that role. Giving Ivan Provorov some much needed veteran support on a nightly basis.
But, the recently turned 35-year-old struggles himself sometimes. Which, for the Flyers, is why they went out and acquired a top pair defenseman – in the offseason – to pair with Ivan Provorov.
Therefore, could there be another reason for Ivan Provorov’s struggles? One that Provorov himself has admitted to not just this season, but in years past?
One of the main issues with Provorov is his mind & style of play.
When the Flyers aren’t playing their best hockey, Provorov takes its upon himself to try & make a difference. Something that is a great trait to have. However, when Provorov tries too much, it is when his game really struggles.
“Provy, for sure, is a better player than he showed tonight (3/3 vs MIN), no question,” interim coach Mike Yeo said after their 5-4 loss to the Wild.
This was evident once again in Tuesday 2-1 win vs the Vegas Golden Knights.
In the final 3:13 of game, Provorov could have been the reason why the Flyers blew the game. Icing the puck twice with easy outlets available. As well as, giving the Golden Knights a power-play for the final 1:45 due to a tired & lazy delay of game penalty.
It is not hard to see that Provorov sometimes tries too hard. But, for some reason, there is a disconnect when it comes to the Flyers.
Over the past three-seasons, when Provorov has struggled, the same language has been used. That Provorov needs to remember to make the simple play first before going for the homerun.
However, three seasons later, the same mental breakdown in Provorov’s game continues to plague not just himself. But, the Flyers on most nights.
The Flyers will not be playing for much over the final 25-games of the season. However, the main thing they will be working on is trying to fix this lapse in Provorov’s game.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mitchell Leff – Getty Images