• Andrew McGuinness

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 81: PHI 3, STL 7 - To Seventh Hell and Back

Just start singing the Blues already.

The Philadelphia Flyers lose in blowout fashion. It's seven minutes into the game and the Flyers are losing 4-1, so it'll be fun to see what the final score is when I finish writing this.

Hey look, the Flyers scored! Oh, give it a sec... and the Blues scored again.

The Flyers are on pace to give up 30 goals right now. Technically slightly more than 30, actually.

The good news is they're on pace to score 12, which is pretty good. I doubt they'll get there, in part because Nolan Patrick is out with an upper-body injury. So the recently waived Corban Knight is playing, as are seven defensemen. Fun times!​

Right now, Jim Jackson is talking about how the Blues could be the second team in NHL history to be in last place post January 1st to win their division, and one of just a handful to even make the playoffs. The Flyers were nearly one of those teams. But then this whole 3-8-0 stretch happened and that pretty much killed those dreams.

If only this was last year. Last season, the Blues became one of just a handful of teams to be first in their division (as high as 2nd in the NHL) in December to miss the playoffs. That group is probably bigger than the one they'll join this season, but likely not by much. The Flyers, on the other hand, were in last place around the same time, coming off an ugly 10-game losing streak. Guess what? They made it! They have gotten bounced in the first round by a far superior Penguins team, but at least they made it there in the first place!

There's less than four minutes left in the frame, which means it's been six minutes since the Flyers allowed their last goal. It was the first goal allowed by Carter Hart, as Brian Elliott was pulled 7 minutes into his third start in St. Louis since being traded to Calgary back in 2016. It's his final start as a Flyer, as Scott Gordon announced that Carter Hart will be playing on Saturday against the Canes. It's a shame it went so poorly, and it wasn't even his fault.

Speaking of the Canes, I really want to see them make the playoffs. It's been a long 9 years for the Hurricanes since their last playoff trip (almost as long a drought as the Flyers' playoff round winless streak of 7 seasons). Everything surrounding them, most notably the Storm Surge (in case you haven't heard - this year, Carolina has started doing a special post-game celebration after every game, which 99% of the hockey world has fallen in love with), has been really fun to follow, and it'd be fun to see them win just to spite "old hockey men" like Don Cherry and Brian Burke.

GOAL! CLAUDE GIROUX! 5-3! Don't call it a comeback!

Seriously, don't. Please, don't. A) I don't think my heart can take it. B) I want to get to bed early. C) It would just hurt our draft positon.

Anyway, back to the Canes, it'd be cool to see them make it in, even if Justin Williams announced via Twitter that they won't be continuing the Surge into the playoffs. They can clinch tonight, if they win and Montreal loses in regulation. Right now, both those things are happening - Carolina leads New Jersey 2-1 (speaking of the Devils, hear comes another Marty Brodeur Enterprise commercial) and the Habs trail Washington, also 2-1. Both games are at second intermission as the Flyers game heads to first intermission.

The good news about not being in the playoff race anymore is a significant reduction in stress. Right now, four teams are fighting for three spots in the East. Pittsburgh is virtually a lock to make it at 97 points, but what I wouldn't give to see them miss, man. Carolina is looking good at 95 - Montreal and Columbus are both at 94, though a Habs loss tonight means the Blue Jackets control their own destiny.

Seven teams have clinched in the West - Colorado currently holds the last spot, and barring a miracle, will take it from Arizona, who is four points back with two games left. I really wanted to see the Coyotes make it - but Rick Tochett just couldn't pull them through (checks notes) injuries to twelve skaters, four goalies, half of their fanbase (6 people in total) and the mascot Howler.

I spend intermission studying for a math test I've got tomorrow. I'm feeling pretty good about it - well, as good as you can feel in a class where your grade is lower than Corban Knight's Corsi-For %. We're studying conic sections, although we have not encountered a formula that explains why the Flyers were more successful at putting the ellipse-like puck in the back of the net at 5-on-5 than on the power play for like the first three months of the season.

As you can probably have guessed by the 4-1 score earlier, the Flyers once again failed to start this game on time. They have been one of the worst first period teams in the league this year, being outscored by 29 goals (91-62) in the first period this year. For the fifth time in their last six games and 23rd time overall, they allowed the first two goals. It's clear by now this wasn't a Hakstol thing, or a Gordon thing, or a whoever thing, it's a Flyers thing, judging by how consistent it's been happening over the last five years, which is when I started watching hockey. Maybe I'm to blame.

Jordan Binnington is in net, facing the Flyers for the first time since beating them 3-0 in his NHL debut back on January 7th. I wonder if Carter Hart is jealous - not because Binnington is better than Hart, but because Binnington gets to play in front of a competent hockey team. It's not fair, but Carter is too much of a good boy to complain. God, I love that kid. He's going to win so many Vezinas once the Flyers realize they're allowed to bench Robert Hagg.

On a side note, it's actually kinda sad how fast Wayne Simmonds is falling off. He's got just 2 points in 15 games as Pred, and suddenly the big payday I was sure some GM would be foolish enough to give him is in doubt. I love Simmer as much as the next guy, but father time is undefeated. He just doesn't usually strike this quickly, but alas, the decline of physical power forwards is usually unforgiving (see Lucic, Milan).

Ugh, the Penguins are winning 4-1, which would mean they clinch a playoff spot. They'll be locked in to face the Islanders with a point for the Caps tonight, though home ice is still in doubt. It's crazy that the Islanders even made it to the playoffs, but it feels like the glass slipper may be falling off. They're just 5-5-0 in their last 10 games, and that doesn't include those two ugly loses at home against those bums known as the Flyers.

Wow, the Flyers are now on pace to only give up 10 goals in this game. They're growing right before our eyes. Anyway, I've largely moved on to watching Caps-Habs. Carolina is now up 3-1 on the Devils, meaning they can taste the playoffs. Carey Price is now at the bench. Montreal is struggling to even break into the zone. Washington clinches their 4th straight Metropolitian Division title with a point, so it's not like they don't have something to play for.

Hey look, the Blues scored again.

Washington wins, 2-1. Everyone loves it, especially Columbus. They can clinch with one more point, facing the Rangers tomorrow night and the Sens the day after, making them a virtual lock. A few moments later, Carolina beats New Jersey. NHL Overtime shows the moment in real-time. Their final game is Saturday in Philly, which could determine whether they face the Caps (actual chance at winning) or Tampa (pray for a plague in Florida). WAIT IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE GONNA DO A SURPRISE SURGE-and NHL Overtime cuts away. Oh well. At least they're in. Good for them.

Oh my gosh, Jillian Fisher just posted the best video ever. In case you haven't heard of her, she's a YouTuber that makes skit-esque videos from the perspective of hockey fans of different teams at different points of the season. They're hilarious, and you should subscribe to her for the great content (and because she's a Flyers fans, I think - either that or she just loves Gritty, which is also a good reason to sub).

Anyway, apparently she was at the Canes game tonight, because she tweeted a video (@FisherJillian) of a bunch of Canes fans literally crying and hugging and it's just all the feels. Like grown adults crying tears of joy for the return of playoff hockey to Raleigh. That's what it's all about.

I finally figured out how to embeed a Tweet. It took me 81 games. I don't know why you have to scroll down to see the whole thing. But at least I did it. Wow, I'm amazing, aren't I?

Oh, and the Penguins clinched as well. Yay.

Back to the team I root for, have I mentioned that half of the Blues goals were scored by former Flyers? Brayden Schenn's got two, and Patrick Maroon has scored as well. Shame we traded Schenn for Jori Lehtera straight up though, as least that's what Flyers twitter has taught me. Shame they didn't get two firsts and use them on young studs like Morgan Forst and Joel Farabee. That would've made it a lot more fair.

Second intermission. 6-3 Blues. Ice cream time (chocolate, to be specific).

WHY ARE WE (the Flyers) ADVERTISING THIS MEANINGLESS GAME 82 AS A "MARQUEE MATCHUP?" Did someone tell them the NHL hasn't changed to the Gold Plan yet?

Colorado has a chance to make it a three-team clinch night, but right now trail Winnipeg 2-0. All they need is one point to make it official, but it's going to be hard to pull off that comeback against a good Jets team jostling for positioning atop the Central. What I wouldn't give to see Arizona (the Hurricanes of the West) pull off the miracle comeback, though I wouldn't mind to see the Avs back in the dance.

The 76ers are also playing right now, beating the East's #1 seed Milwaukee Bucks 86-82 after 3 quarters. Personally, I like the 76ers (the 3 seed in the East, at 49-29) and will watch them in the playoffs, but the NBA is by far by least favorite pro-league to watch. College basketball is much better, in my opinion. My bracket is busted, though. I had Duke. We all had Duke. Even Gritty.

All right, we're back. The ice cream was good. I gained my 16th YouTube subscriber (thanks, Flyers fan2005) while we were gone. This feels like a good time to promote this, since I'm going to be uploading a montage about the 2018-19 Flyers in the next few days. Usually, I wait for the season to end to make it, but face it, the season's been over for about 2 weeks. There may be an article to accompany it. Keep your eyes open. Or stay woke, as the kids say.

A couple minutes into the frame, a scrum ensues. Robert Hagg and Brayden Schenn get roughing minors. Sam Morin gets two for breathing and being over 6'5''. My dad complains about how all that pushing and shoving would never be allowed in the "good old days." But the Flyers get a makeup call a few minutes later, so all's well that ends well. Except the Flyers aren't making the playoffs, so it didn't really end well.

I'm sorry to abandon the Flyers again, but the 76ers game is tied 104-104 with 6 minutes left. Until J.J. Reddick hits an improbable jumper to give the Sixers the lead. Maybe this NBA thing isn't as bad as I thought. Though it's hard to root against the Bucks - not only is Giannis I-don't-know-how-to-same-his-name-Atumpo a beast, but they have two of my favorite college stars. Bonzie Colson and Pat Connaughton, who both went to Notre Dame, play for Milwaukee. They combined for over 30 points the other night.

We return to the Flyers for a quick minute, where Bill Clement is yelling about quick whistles. Then back to the 76ers. J.J. Reddick hits another jumper. 111-109 Philly with 4 and a half to play. The Sixers have become a super team overnight, acquiring stars Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris midseason, joining rising home-grown stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. I may not be the biggest Sixers fan, but I still trust the process.

Speaking of overnight super teams, the Phillies lost yesterday in heartbreaking fashion to the Nationals, 9-8. The thing about baseball is it's hard to get worked up over one game, because that season moves a mile a minute (even though they're off today). Their bullpen could use some help, but I'm encouraged that they've scored 8 runs in four of their five games after their bats let them down in the stretch last season. I'm still convinced they'll be great.

Also, how Nationals fans treated Harper was so dumb. The Nationals made him an offer for making an offer's sake, with no intent to re-sign him. Boo management for never building a good enough team around Harper for the Nats playoff failure, not Harper himself. It's John Tavares all over again. He went 5-7 in the series, and has homered in 3 of his 5 games as a Phillie. Boos or not, yeah, you could say I'm a little bit happy with where the Phillies are right now. It's been a long-time coming.

The eighth foul in the last two minutes of game time (approximately) reminds me of why I don't like the NBA all that much. There's 1:38 to play and it's 10:34. Let's see if the game ends before 11:00. It's also tied now, 119 apiece. J.J. Reddick misses an off-balance 3, and the Bucks take the lead at the other end.

TOUCHDOWN ST. LOUIS! Good to see they brought the Rams back.

Joel Embiid turns the ball over and the Bucks score again. Then Tobias Harris misses a jumper. It seems like the 76ers are on their way to a Flyers-like choke.

TK begrudingly gliding to the penalty box is a mood.

Oskar Lindblom, JVR, and G have all scored tonight for the Flyers, in case you're interested. Michael Raffl nearly adds his name to the list but appears to hit the crossbar. There's 1:38 left in the Flyers game at 10:39. Alex Steen is tonight's Chevorlet Player of the Game with 2 goals and an assist. Did you know he was originally a Maple Leaf? I add that he was dealt, along with former Flyer Carlo Coliacovo, for Lee Stempniak. My dad always used to joke that he had Coliacovo on his elbow once, but it went away after his doctor gave him some ointment. Always got a laugh.

It takes two minutes before the St. Louis to finish off the win, as their touchdown beat Philadelphia's field goal. Around the same time, the 76ers finish up a 128-122 defeat. The same amount of game time took nearly five times longer in basketball. Yeah, that's why I like hockey better.

They show highlights of Game 81 from last year, which immediately gives me flashbacks. The Flyers, trying to fend off an upstart Florida Panthers squad chasing them down in the standings, overcame a rusty Brian Elliott in a dramatic 4-3 victory. Jake Voracek scored the game-winner with less than 6 minutes to go, jumping into Oskar Lindblom's arms as the horn blared in the background. They didn't clinch that night - but they were still alive, and that was all that mattered.

The Avs are still losing to Winnipeg, but have cut the lead to one. Arizona is in Vegas and is tied 1-1 midway through the 2nd. A point gained for Colorado or a point lost by the Coyotes sends the Avalanche to the playoffs. If neither happen, the Coyotes live to see another day. Two, actually, because neither team plays again until Saturday.

By the time I publish this, Colorado ties up Winnipeg, and the Yotes jump ahead of the Golden Knights 3-1. But the latter game won't matter unless the Jets can find a way to win in regulation. The Avalanche are just three minutes away from consecutive playoff appearances since they made the playoffs each of their first 10 seasons in Colorado (they also made them their last year in Quebec, if you want to count that). I want to stay up and see if they can do it. But I've got a student council meeting at 7:15 in the morning. I need the sleep.

One more game. One more miserable game. My advice? Enjoy it. The Flyers might not make that easy, but you should try. After Saturday, the Flyers will go 181 days before their next meaningful hockey game. That's an entire school year right there, which, as any high schooler can tell you, is a pretty long time. For some, Saturday might be their final game in the Orange and Black. Get one last look at the 2018-19 Philadelphia Flyers, because after Saturday you won't have another chance.

After then? Gear up. Change is coming. Hopefully by next fall, the Flyers will be, too.