The Philadelphia Flyers were shut out by the Boston Bruins on Saturday, marking only the second time this season that the team has lost three straight games. Just two nights after a four-goal outburst against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers offense was ineffective against the Bruins. One of the most disappointing players for the team the past two weeks has been Scott Hartnell, who has one goal and two assists in seven games since returning from a foot injury.
In the past four games Hartnell has 0 points, 16 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating. He has played between 16 and 18 minutes a night for the Flyers, and needs to start showing he can still be an effective power forward.
Hartnell had a career-high 37 goals and 67 points for the Flyers last season, and has averaged a point every other game throughout his career. While it should be expected that the injury slowed him down a bit and it might take him some time to find his groove, the Flyers can’t exactly wait much longer for that to happen with the way they have been playing. The return of Simon Gagne to the Flyers should also be putting some pressure on Hartnell, who could see his top-line spot in jeopardy if he continues to struggle to score.
The Flyers have struggled to win with consistency this season, and up until this weekend had also been doing a good job of not losing consistently. It could be that Hartnell may follow a similar pattern this season and have his least consistent year as a Flyer. If the team wants to make the playoffs, they better hope that is not the case.