Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 10: PHI 0, BOS 3 - Everybody Mac's Mistakes
The Flyers are still losing, but at least they're doing it in a different way to keep things interesting.
Just in case you weren't sure, the Philadelphia Flyers lose, 3-0, to the Boston Bruins (extreme Boston accent) in yet another frusturating game where it feels like the Flyers (and their coaching staff) beat themselves. Especially because this is usually the type of game the Flyers somehow find a way to win and use it as an excuse to mask all of their underlying issues.
But instead, more disappointment. And more Dave Hakstol, What Are You Doing?, as our favorite head coach kept Mikhail Vorobyev scratched, inserting Corban Knight into the lineup for the injured Michael Raffl. Andrew MacDonald also drew back into the lineup, replacing Travis San-oh Dave was actually smart enough to bench Folin, good for him!
For once, the Flyers actually didn't get off to a terrible start, which has to be at least somewhat encouraging. The first 20 minutes went back-and-forth; the Flyers got some chances, the Bruins got some chances, but both goalies came up strong. A Ryan Donato shot off iron was the closest we got to a goal in the 1st period.
Alas, just because you don't get scored in during the 1st period doesn't mean you still can't give up the 1st goal. Sure enough, with 7 minutes to go in the 2nd, Andrew MacDonald failed to break the puck out to a wide open Scott Laughton. That opened up a particulary large door for the Bruins (it would have to be to fit this guy), and Zdeno Chara blasted away to beat Elliott. The shot appeared to be deflected in front, which you could argue may be enough to start one of my favorite games. Will Andrew MacDonald score more goals on the opponent's net or his own? Last year it was about even, but I'll be nice to him here since I couldn't definitely tell if it hit him.
But I can definitely blame him on the Flyers second goal. With the Flyers shorthanded, and almost finishing off killing a huge too many men penalty, Jake DeBrusk was left wide open in front by MacDonald, allowing him to redirect the puck past a helpless Elliott. I don't know what it will take for the Flyers to change something with their penalty kill, whether's it the strategy or the guy who's coaching it. It has been a consistent problem for the Flyers PK over the last few years and it's a big one again. Why they think it's good to be aggressive in the neutral and offensive zones shorthanded and then collapse in the defensive zone is beyond me.
That gave Boston a 2-0 lead going into the 3rd which the Flyers never seriously threatened. The first 10 minutes Philadelphia failed to generate much offense, and in the 2nd half a combination of undiscipline and an ice cold power play did the Flyers in. Chara added an ENG at the end (he honestly could've had a hat trick in this game), and the Flyers fell yet again.
Oh wow what a shock the Flyers were dominated by a backup goalie who could have possibly seen that coming? Philadelphia got Halak'd like it was 2010 on Thursday night.
The Flyers haven't won a game in Boston in regulation since November 2nd, 2011, when they beat the Bruins 3-2.
The Flyers made have failed to score, but I thought Claude Giroux was really active throughout the night, especially in the 2nd period. Giroux had a breakaway and a great one-timer chance off the rush but was unable to get either by Halak.
The fact that Travis Sanheim is still playing fewer minutes than Andrew MacDonald is a joke considering how much better Sanheim is playing right now (and how bad AMac was Thursday). I know Hakstol said he didn't want to increase the duties of the successful Sanheim-Gudas pairing, but soon he may have no choice.
I thought Ivan Provorov much better with the puck tonight - he didn't look nearly as uncomfortable with it as he has so far. Not perfect, but a step in the right direction the Flyers desperately need him to take (and soon).
After stopping 30 of 33 in a conditioning assignment with the Phantoms, Michal Neuvirth returned to the Flyers Thursday night and backed up Brian Elliott. With Michael Raffl on IR, the Flyers were able to keep Calvin Pickard in the NHL (he was healthy scratched Thursday) for the moment, but teams generally don't carry 3 goalies for extended periods of time. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't play another game as a Flyer.
Then again I also wouldn't be surprised if Neuvirth got hurt between now and Saturday and we went right back to square one.
Brian Elliott certainly wasn't the problem tonight - in fact, he may have been the team's biggest positive, coming up with several big stops, including a point-blank one on Chara early on. He finished the night with a well-deserved .917 Save% (22 Saves/24 Shots).
Speaking of positive news regarding injuries, James van Riemsdyk made the trip to Boston with the Flyers but did not skate according to beat reporter Sam Carchidi. JVR said he expects to skate "hopefully soon." A supperting Flyers offense could certainly use him.
When JVR comes back, I wouldn't be surprised if he replaces Couturier or Simmonds on the top power-play unit. The Flyers are just 1 for their last 17 on the man advantage, and that 1 goal was scored by the 2nd unit.
It may seem early (and it is), but the cold truth of the NHL is it gets late fast. 11 out of 16 teams in a playoff spot on Thanksgiving 2017 went on to make the playoffs (the Flyers were one of 5 teams to go from the outside to the inside). That's about 69% (nice) of teams that held a spot the rest of the way, and the crazy part is that's a pretty low number (it's usually up around 75-80% - 12-13 teams). It may be foolish to say knowing Ron Hextall's conservatism, but if they go 4-6-0 in their next 10 games (or worse), I don't believe Dave Hakstol will still be the coach of this team. And even if he is, he definitely shouldn't be.
1st - J. Halak (BOS) - 1.000 SV% (19 Saves/19 Shots)
2nd - Z. Chara (BOS) - 2 G
3rd - B. Carlo (BOS) - 0 P, Team-High 23:58 TOI
PHI - 10/27 vs. NYI (3-4-1)
BOS - 10/27 vs. MTL (5-1-2)