Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 7: PHI 3, CBJ 6 - Picked Apart
Wanna hear a funny joke?
The Flyers in their own zone.
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to frusturate the living hell out of everyone and lose, 6-3, to the 'Lumbus Blue Jackets. At least that's what all the cool kids call it these days.
This game was a perfect model of how the Flyers have been to start the season - solid offensively, questionable at best in net, and downright garbage in their own zone.
Not to mention another episode of Dave Hakstol, What Are You Doing? feat. Corban Knight at the expense of Mikhail Vorobyev. Congrats on your first healthy scratch Misha! If history is any indicator it won't be your last.
The crazy thing is through 20 minutes I thought this game might be different. The Flyers actually got off to a solid start after Columbus hit the post in the 1st minute, generating a lot of time in the offensive zone. In fact, for the first time this season, they even scored first! Robert Hagg continued to test out his new found offensive ability and put a wrist shot on goal that TK tipped home, mercifully getting him on the board after a bevy of quality chances through the first half-dozen games.
But the thing with the Flyers, and I guess any team really, is it only takes one breakdown to turn things sour. Where the Flyers are different is that they seem to happen at the least expected time, such as when Anthony Duclair is lying down on the ice in the slot. Duclair showed everybody why he used to be regarded as a top prospect, spinning away from both Flyers defenseman (Hagg and Folin), drawing a penalty, and then beating Pickard 5-hole to tie the game. It's hard not to give Duclair credit for what was clearly a highlight reel goal, but someone on the Flyers has to prevent that. It doesn't really matter who, but someone.
That goal also had the effect of killing the momentum that went along with the Flyers finally scoring the 1st goal. It's hard to get that back so quickly on an elite goalie by Bobrovsky before the end of the first, the Flyers should just focus on getting some pucks on net before intermis-
Elite 1st Line Center Sean Couturier just decided to through a knuckleball on net that missed Bobrovsky's glove well enough to make 2012 R.A. Dickey proud and restore the Flyers lead going into 1st intermission.
Cue the AnnnnnnnddddddddItsGone.gif please.
The Flyers defense just broke down in the 2nd period. Cam Atkinson was left wide open for a tap-in off the rush to tie the game, and then came right back down on a breakaway and dangled Pickard out of his jock to give 'Lumbus their 1st lead. Nick Foligno then fired a wrister passed a heavily screened Pickard to make it 4-2. All in a 7 minute span. I guess that's how Panthers fans felt in the 2nd period on Tuesday.
But the Flyers weren't done, or so we thought. Just over a minute into the 3rd Bob lost sight of the puck behind the net and allowed Oskar Lindblom to tuck in a wrap-around on his backhand to make it a 1-goal game, Lindblom's 1st tally since the opening one of the season. Wasn't quite an Oskar Lindbomb but it counts the same.
The rest of the 3rd, however, was more of the same, and frankly, a bit expected. It's tough to score 2, let alone 3 straight goals in a goalie of Sergei Bobrovsky's caliber, and it just wasn't in the cards for the Flyers. After a lackluster power play but important penalty kill, the Flyers looked to respond. In an act of charity, the Flyers took one of Mites on Ice from Wednesday's game to organize the breakout and oh never mind that's Christian Folin.
Who apparently forgot HOW TO SKATE.
Folin wiped out, turned the puck over, got burned, and watched helplessly and Josh Anderson squeaked a backhander through the Grand Canyon sized 5-hole of Calvin Pickard to essentially put this game on ice. No, I did not make that up.
Sonny Milano poured salt on the wound with another goal right after, making it a 6-3 final. But the real story after this game, in my eyes anyway, is the awful play in the Flyers end of the ice, both in terms of defense and goaltending. It's no longer a mildly concerning inconsistency - it's becoming a real problem, fast, and it's been prevalent in almost every game. I don't want to make to big of a deal of this in just game #7, but this is the type of issue that could prevent the Flyers from missing the playoffs entirely if it lingers, and there's nothing other than an unlikely Phil Myers call-up or trade that suggests to be it will improve anytime soon.
The Flyers have played 7 games so far there have been at have given up 5 or more goals in 5 of them. That has to change, both based on the law of averages and (as I said above) if this team has any intention of making the playoffs.
Pickard starting supposedly had nothing to do with Elliott's play, but regardless I'd expect to see Elliott play Saturday. Pickard made a great save early on Artemi Panarin, but could not come up with a save (Foligno, Anderson goals) when the Flyers needed one the most.
I was largely unimpressed by the Flyers new 4th line of Weise-Lehtera-Knight. They failed to control the puck in the offensive zone for a reasonable amount of time or create any scoring chances. Hopefully they will get broken up if Nolan Patrick returns to the lineup on Saturday (and hopefully Vorobyev will slot back in as well).
Fun fact I'll mention since he scored tonight - did you know that Sean Couturier was drafted by a pick that belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets? It was part of the package that brought Jeff Carter to the Jackets back in 2011 (on the same day that Mike Richards was traded to LA), along with Jake Voracek and a 3rd round pick that turned into Nick Cousins. Not too bad considering Carter didn't even make through a year in Columbus.
Christian Folin has played 3 games so far this year. In 2 games he's looked worse than Brandon Manning and in one he looked great. Take that as you will.
Ivan Provorov finally got off the schneid - he recorded the primary assist on Coots's goal, his 1st point of the season. In contrast, the last 2 years it took Provy 1 and 3 games, respectively, to record his 1st point.
Some breakthroughs tonight for Lindblom, Konecny, and Provorov - three key young pieces that have had trouble scoring early on in the season. Last year's key turnaround game was a contest on Dec. 23 when Hakstol put together the Giroux-Couturier-Konecny line, the Provorov-Gostisbehere pairing, and paired Jake Voracek with Nolan Patrick. Hopefully tonight has the same effect with a "get your heads straight" feeling instead.
Since he can't skate, if Christian Folin is looking for a Halloween costume he should be the old lady from the Life Alert commercials ("Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!").
1st - C. Atkinson (CBJ) - 2 G
2nd - N. Foligno (CBJ) - 1 G
3rd - A. Duclair (CBJ) - 1 G
PHI - 10/20 vs. NJ (4-0-0)
CBJ - 10/20 vs. CHI (3-0-2)