Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 37: PHI 1, FLA 2 - Floorida
What hurts more, a close loss or a blowout?
Both on the same day.
Shortly I left the Cotton Bowl in massive disappointment, the Philadelphia Flyers officially made December 29th the worst day of 2018, with a Hart-breaking last minute 2-1 loss at the hands of the Flo-rida (like the artist) Panthers.
This loss confirmed something to me that I’m sure most of you already knew, although maybe too stubborn to admit: the Flyers aren’t making the playoffs. In fact, they probably aren’t going to come close. Philadelphia sits just 2 points from the basement of the NHL after this loss, which was their first poor effort under Scott Gordon. Despite being pretty much even with the Panthers in shots, it didn’t take much to see the Flyers were out-chanced in this one.
For a while though, it looked like it might not matter. Shayne Gostisbehere lit the lamp less than 2 minutes, sniping on his hometown team (and James Reimer). Starter Hart was OUTSTANDING, making a bevy of crucial stops, keeping the Flyers lead in tact for as long as he could.
But with less than 7 minutes to go, the Flyers PK found a way to ruin it. A failed clear here, and cross-slot pass there, and Hart lost his net long enough to allow the Panthers to tie the game on a goal from Jonathan Huberdeau.
But the dam really burst with 1:06 left in regulation. Oh so close to a point, the Flyers defense broke down one last time. A 3-on-2 became a 2-on-1, which became a tap-in goal from Huberdeau that not even prime Patrick Roy could’ve stopped, effectively dealing a devastating loss to the Flyers right then and there.
The fact of the matter is the Flyers have been no where good enough outside the offensive zone to be a playoff team, and haven’t been good enough in there to mask that. Whether it’s the defense, the goaltending, or the special teams, something has always found a way to let the 2018-19 Flyers down, usually in the most painful way possible. And barring a drastic trade, that likely isn’t changing anytime soon.
Despite Hart’s tremendous effort, the Flyers team save percentage of .879% is set to be the lowest of the millennium. For reference, the next lowest is .884%.
Worth noting that Hart (.917 SV%) has been in the 3 stars in 3 of his first 4 NHL starts. Hard to ask for much more from the kid. He's been great, and is certainly making a strong case to stay with the team long-term.
Nolan Patrick is officially out 4-5 days with an upper-body injury suffered in Tampa. Jordan Weal came into replace him, and did a good job, recording a primary assist on Ghost’s goal. I’d like to see him replace Weise (or even Varone) full-time when Nolan comes back.
Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov now have 3 goals in 6 games under Scott Gordon. They had 7 in 31 under Hakstol.
He hasn’t looked outstanding so far, but make no mistake, JVR isn’t having a bad year. His PPG last year was .67, and has only dropped to .62 this year. He’s also got 9 points in his last 11 games to prove it.
How pathetic is the Flyers power play? They have scored 14 goals all season, while the Coyotes and Flames have each tallied 11 goals SHORTHANDED (3 against the Flyers combined).
We'll end this section with a laugh: remember that whole Connor McDavid-Brandon Manning "rivalry"? Yeah, they're teammates now. Gotta love Peter Chiarelli.
1st - J. Huberdeau (FLA) - 2 G
2nd - J. Reimer (FLA) - .971 SV% (34 Saves/35 Shots)
3rd - C. Hart (PHI) - .944 SV% (34 Saves/36 Shots)
PHI - 12/31 @ CAR (15-17-5)
FLA - 12/31 @ DET (15-19-6)