Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 34: CBJ 4, PHI 3 - Bobrobsvky
I like Carter Hart as much as the next guy, but yeah, I'd still like that Bob trade back, please.
For the first time in the Starter Hart/Scott Gordon era, the Philadelphia Flyers lose, 4-3, in regulation to boot, against the 'Lumbus Blue Jackets. Or, to be more accurate, the Philadelphia Flyers lose 4-3 to themselves. And Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets in every period, including a 15-4 margin in the 3rd and 37-19 overall. But despite playing a strong game, a few defensive lapses and some timely saves at the other end did the Flyers in for the first time under their new head coach.
Once again, the Flyers got off to a pretty good start, but this time were unable to provide Hart with the confidence of the game's first goal. Instead, Ivan Provorov's nightmare season continued with a sudden and ghastly turnover at the blue line, allowing fellow top 10 2015 pick Zach Werenski to walk in and snipe on Hart, giving Columbus the lead in a low event 1st period.
It seemed like that goal would hold up past 1st intermission, even with the Flyers on a late power play. But with THREE seconds left on the power play, the league's top faceoff team (the Flyers) won a draw right to ELITE 1st line center Sean Couturier, whose backhander beat Bobrovsky for the Flyers first PPG in 16 attempts, tying the game 1-1.
The game started to pick up from it's tight-checking pace in the 2nd stanza; the teams combined for just 12 shots on goal in the first, then more than doubled that with 25 in the second. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the 4th one from JVR, but gave up a juicy rebound to allow the 5th shot from PHIL THE THRILL VARONE by him. Varone's first goal as a Flyer, and a well deserved one at that, gives his team a 2-1 lead.
John Tortorella then boldly elected to use his timeout to fire the Blue Jackets up. Timeouts aren't rarely used this early, especially in a 1 goal game at 5-on-5, but apparently Torts borrowed Peter Laviolette's template from Game 7, and was rewarded with 2 Cam Atkinson goals in the 6 minutes following the timeout. Both were tap-ins with the Flyers defense nowhere to be found, though Hart did make an incredible save on the first try before surrendering the rebound tally.
All that would have been fine if the Flyers had ended things there. But with just 36 seconds to go in the frame, the Flyers gave up a gut-busting goal, as Artemi Panarin fired on right off the faceoff past Carter Hart. Of all the goals the Blue Jackets scored, that's the one where you could really use a big save the most, but it's hard to blame Hart on a clear cut shot from one of the best goal scorers in the NHL.
It took the Flyers a while to fully rev up in the 3rd period, and when they finally did, it was just too little too late. Unfortunately there was no Travie Sanheim magic to bail them out this time. After several failed power plays, Philadelphia finally got one back on a net-front scramble goal from JVR. But Bob stood on his head for most of the 3rd, and the Flyers were unable to create much after JVR's tally, falling in a hard-fought game, 4-3.
The result certainly wasn't optimal, both in terms of the standings and for Carter Hart, but the game itself was again encouraging. The Flyers have played 3 solid games under Scott Gordon, won two of them, and look like a much better team. It very well may not be enough to push them back into the playoffs, but it sets a good precedent going forward. Hopefully they can finish strong tomorrow in MSG.
No, Hart should not play tomorrow against the Rangers. Don't even tempt the hockey gods with the chance to run another Flyers goalie into the ground. If Cal Pickard can shut out the Rangers, than Michal Neuvirth should be able to hold his own against them.
If you want to see how the Flyers have played under Scott Gordon, look no further than this picture from Thursday against Nashville:
The PK was also 2-2 again today, and have not allowed a goal against in the 3 games under Gordon, whose tweaks from Lehigh Valley have certainly helped.
Wayne Simmonds was one of the many Flyers robbed by Bobrovsky in the 3rd. Simmer did record a secondary assist on JVR's tally, but it was just his 2nd point in his last 11 games. Gotta be a matter of time before he's replaced on top PP unit at this point.
Varone's goal in the 2nd period was his first in the NHL since January 16th, 2016, when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
With his two goal game today, Cam Atkinson is officially a Flyer killer, with 13 goals in 25 career games against the Orange and Black. Put him on the list right next to Bob.
1st - C. Atkinson (CBJ) - 2 G
2nd - A. Panarin (CBJ) - 1 G, 2 A
3rd - S. Bobrovsky (CBJ) - .919 SV% (34 Saves/37 Shots)
CBJ - 12/23 @ NJ (12-15-7)
PHI - 12/23 @ NYR (15-4-5)