Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 73: PHI 2, WSH 9 – Yikes
Inevitable but inexcusable. The Philadelphia Flyers get utterly destroyed, 9-2, by the Washington Capitals. From start to finish, the Capitals skated circles around the Flyers, scoring multiple goals in every period and torching a Flyers team that played so poorly, especially in the third period, you would’ve thought the ice was tilted. Oh, and it all unfolded in front of a national audience, the same audience that will have to watch the Flyers play in less than twenty-four hours against a top-five team in the New York Rangers.
“You don’t give up nine goals by just one area of your game lacking,” said a frustrated Mike Yeo post-game. “It’s extremely disappointing.” He later added, “Clearly we’re not good enough tonight.”
In truth, it’s somewhat surprising that a game like this hasn’t happened more frequently over the last couple of months. At least to this extent. The Flyers actually hadn’t lost by more than 3 goals post-All-Star break before Tuesday. And a fair portion of the games they did lose by 3 involved empty-netters. For a team as short-handed as the Flyers that hasn’t driven play very well, it’s been surprising that they haven’t turned in at least one outright disaster of a final score really since a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 6. And that was a game the Flyers played even more short-handed than normal due to COVID.
But it was that type of game from start to finish on Tuesday. The Capitals scored just 6:01 in on a goal Carter Hart would like back, quickly made it 2-0, then responded to a James van Riemsdyk breakaway goal just 1:16 after James van Riemsdyk got one back. The Flyers lost Hart and Cam Atkinson to lower-body injuries after the first, and things predictably only got worse. The Flyers simply could not or just did not defend the front of their net well, allowing two players one-on-one with Hart and Martin Jones in the first two periods. Both resulted in goals.
The third period played out like a game of Hockey Ultimate Team where one player puts their controller down and walks away from their console in rage. The Capitals didn’t sit on their lead; they pummeled the Flyers to roughly 70% Corsi and Expected Goal rates in the third. They outscored the Flyers 4-0 in that period at 5-on-5. Only the efforts of van Riemsdyk (James, not Trevor), who scored his second of the night on the power-play in the 3rd, kept the
Commanders Capitals from winning by two scores.
This is the type of game that the Flyers have (indirectly) talked about avoiding when they’ve brought up trying to build a winning culture over the last few months when it became abundantly clear this game and the nine that follow it won’t have any other meaning to it. It’s the thing they don’t want to subject Noah Cates, Ronnie Attard, and Bobby Brink (who made his NHL debut Tuesday) to.
And it breeds further skepticism that even a well-executed aggressive retool could close the Grand-Canyon-sized gap separating the Flyers from the Capitals, who most would easily distinguish as the weakest of the eight playoff teams in the East this year. Of course, you could argue the Flyers are the weakest of the other eight teams in the East. Tonight, they certainly looked like that.
This is the first time the Flyers allowed nine goals since their infamous 9-0 loss to the Rangers last season. Before then, they hadn’t given up 9 goals since their equally infamous 9-8 loss to Winnipeg in Oct. 2011.
The Flyers have made some weird lineup choices at times this season. I know a lot of people aren’t happy that veterans like Patrick Brown and Nate Thompson are in the lineup. I understand it when the other option is a green-kid like Hayden Hodgson, someone as injury prone as Wade Allison, or still getting their legs under them after injury in Tanner Laczynski. But sitting Oskar Lindblom for either of those two players just doesn’t make much sense. Lindblom’s been quiet lately yes, but that’s probably because he’s been playing with Brown and Thompson.
Not sure if the Flyers made any promises to Ronnie Attard about NHL playing time, but I wonder if they might consider sending him down at some point. Attard has looked very green so far at the NHL level, which makes sense as he’s clearly the least polished of the three college players the Flyers have signed.
Despite the outcome, not a bad NHL debut for Bobby Brink individually. Brink was one of just four Flyers to finish with an expected goals share of about 50%; he finished second on the team at 59.08%, just 0.7% behind Cam York. He finished with two shots, two blocks, and two hits, and picked up an assist on JVr’s second goal. You can read more about his (former) University of Denver team’s NCAA championship above.
3rd: Matt Irwin (WSH) – Goal (1), Assist (3), 3 Shots
2nd: Johan Larsson (WSH) – Goal (7), Assist (11),
1st: Lars Eller (WSH) – 2 Goals (11, 12), 5 Shots, 62% Faceoffs
PHI: 4/13, 7 PM vs. NYR (47-21-6, L1)
WSH: 4/14, 7 PM @ TOR (47-20-6, L1)
All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick
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