Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 60: TB 5, PHI 2 - Cold Bolt of Reality
Still waiting for that 3rd period comeback. Any day now.
While we wait, we can talk about the Philadelphia Flyers second regulation loss in the last month, 5-2, to the NHL's far-and-away best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Even though they've been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month, the Flyers still have some big problems. They've been outshot fairly often and have relied heavily on their goaltending. The problems that come with those is you're generally going to lose if you're outshot, and no matter how good your goalie is, he's not going to be able to steal you every game.
Case in point here. The Flyers were outshot 9-2 in the first half of the opening frame, and found themselves down 3-0 as a result. It's hard to blame Carter Hart - the first goal was a redirection off Ghost, the second a rebound off the post that should've been cleared by Andrew MacDonald, and the third a 2-on-1 snipe by J.T. Miller (though that one could've been stopped). But it's not like Hart was awful - it's just the team around him didn't show up on time. As a result, Hart was pulled after the Miller goal, with Brian Elliott returning from the dead to play his first game since November 15th.
While it seemed like the game was over, everyone had the two epic comebacks the Flyers hd pulledd off against Tampa earlier this year in the back of their heads. Despite outshooting the Lightning 14-8 in the 2nd, nothing came up on the scoresheet. However, 63 seconds into the 3rd, Oskar Lindblom copied and pasted his first goal from Sunday to give the Flyers life.
That life was sucked away when Yanni Gourde beat a stickless Elliott with 1-second left on a Lightning power play. Travis Konecny attempted to remove the nail from the coffin with a goal 3 minutes later. But the Flyers were buried once and for all when a questionable goalie interference call mitigated a Couturier goal that would've cut the lead to 1 with 47.5 seconds left. Ryan McDonagh officially iced things with an ENG just a few ticks later.
After the empty net goal, PA announcer Lou Nolan announced Wayne Simmonds had received a 10 minute misconduct. That wasn't all too notable, the game was basically over. What was is the fact that might be the final time Nolan calls the Wayne Train's name. Tuesday was the Flyers final home game before the trade deadline, and Simmonds will almost surely be shipped off before then. If it is his last home game, Simmer, it's been a pleasure. But we'll save the full on nostalgia if (and probably when) he gets dealt.
For now, the Flyers need to give their heads a shake. Recency bias is a hell of a drug, but this game feels like it's been a long time coming for Philadelphia. They once again got off to a slow start and proved to be cannon fodder for a Tampa Bay team missing three of their best players. You can get away with these mistakes against Edmonton or Detroit, but top teams will beat you up if you do. Unfortunately, Carter Hart can't bail them out every game he plays. The Flyers playoff odds remain long statistically, but if they can't turn around their level of play overall, they're never going to make it in.
Even though they would almost certainly get crushed, seeing the Flyers meet up with the Lightning in the 1st round would be a treat for the rest of the league to watch (and probably for Tampa Bay, too). The clubs have combined 28 goals in just 3 meetings - it'd be interesting to see what the number would be if they met up in a playoff series.
Radko Gudas has been suspended two games for high-sticking Nikita Kucherov via tomahawk chop to the head. The play was borderline at best, and Gudas' repeat offender status certainly didn't help his fate. Phil Myers season, baby!
Scott Gordon announced Starter Hart will return to the crease on Thursday against the Habs. The good news for Hart is he has posted a .927 SV% (63 saves on 68 shots) in the 2 games he's played following a sub-.800 SV% performance.
You know you're a good team when your backup goalie has won 11 straight, as Domingue has for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay became the the 2nd team ever to put up 3 seven game winning streaks in a season, joining the 83-84 Edmonton Oilers. Additionally, they joined the 2012-13 Blackhawks as the only team to have two eleven game point streaks in the same season over the last decade. What a team these guys have.
Tuesday was Brian Elliott's first appearance in 40 games. He also missed 25 last year due to core surgery in February.
If Andrew MacDonald plays on Tuesday (the first game Gudas comes back), I honestly don't know what to tell you. AMac was brutal tonight, flailing at the loose puck on Killorn's goal and later bumping up into Laughton on a short-handed bid, among other follies. His defense low 14:01 TOI suggests Gordon took notice of his struggles, but now he is tasked to do what Dave Hakstol wouldn't - take action.
1st - J.T. Miller (TB) - 1 G, 1 A
2nd - S. Couturier (PHI) - 2 A
3rd - E. Cernak (TB) - 19:12 TOI, Team-High 3:45 SH TOI & 4 Hits
TB - 2/21 vs. BUF (28-24-7)
PHI - 2/21 @ MTL (31-21-7)