There are a number of things you can take away from the Flyers' 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks tonight, which dropped them to 1-6-0 on the season to date with one game remaining before a six-day break that will surely be a long period of soul-searching for a team that cannot, for the life of it, find ways to win hockey games.
And if you watched, you'd know that not all of those takeaways are bad ones. Tye McGinn scored his second and third goals of the season, making him the team's leader in that category despite only having played in two games. Each of the top three lines seemed to have some chances here and there, and the team definitely started out the contest with an edge over the Canucks in most facets of the game. Not to mention, they only committed one minor penalty on the night, which is more or less cause for celebration on its own.
So yes, there are some positives. And we're not the only ones who think that, what with the team's captain (who picked up his second point of the season tonight) calling it their best game of the year so far after the game.
But trying to find silver linings is getting old already. The Flyers lost tonight because they took a 2-1 lead in the second period and then spent most of the rest of the game trying to sit on that lead. After getting things going up-ice, getting chances and two goals, and probably outplaying the Canucks in all three zones, they stopped doing the things that were working, and it eventually cost them.
The defense, which had done a superb job keeping chances to the outside, had bad breakdowns in the third, including the two fatal ones that led to goals against. Steve Mason, who had a bit of a stroke of bad puckhandling luck that led to the team's first goal against but otherwise kept things quiet through two periods, suddenly had to actually start trying to make saves, and while neither of those latter two goals was really on him and he was good otherwise, he wasn't able to bail them out like he had in some of the team's other games (most of which have, of course, been losses regardless).
And the offense, which had pushed forward and created offense against a Canucks team that is darn good, stopped doing those things. And when you're facing a team with as much firepower as the Canucks, that's going to get you eventually. It did tonight.
The team wasn't able to do what it seemed like it had finally shown it could last Saturday, which is playing good, aggressive hockey for an entire game. If they don't prove they can do it again soon, this might get even uglier, because sitting on a lead is a bad habit for a team that doesn't seem to be getting leads very often nowadays.
Stats and stuff:Boxscore | Event summary
Ice time: Flyers | Canucks
Detailed game report | H2H Corsi
Shot Report | Faceoffs | Game discussion thread
A couple more odds and ends:
* Seriously Tye McGinn rules. Obviously, it's just two games, but if he keeps playing well with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek I can't imagine the team is able to send him down when Lecavalier and Hartnell get healthy, are they? They like him in a top-6 role, and he showed them why tonight.
* The power play is still terrible, though thankfully tonight it only had two chances to show us how terrible it was. Including one with eight minutes left in a tie game with one of the Canucks' best defensemen, Kevin Bieksa, in the penalty box. Wouldn't want to be capitalizing on that, or anything.
* Obviously it's one game and we've been fooled here before, but easily the best non-McGinn takeaway from this one was only taking one penalty in the entire game. Probably just a blip on the radar rather than the start of something good, but who knows?
* Hey, at least we didn't lose to the Sabres!
* ... oh, crap, we have fewer points in the standings than the Sabres. It's bad here, guys. Really bad.
Questions with Answers
- Can the Flyers stay out of the box? Yes! Actually, yes! Too bad that didn't actually help much.
- Power play goals? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
- Will the solid 5v5 play from Saturday carry over to tonight? Eh. Started well. Got worse as it went on, which is partly to be expected when you're leading, but they definitely sat back and got a bit too conservative as the game went on.
Comment of the Night:
McGinn is on pace to score 115.5 goals this season.
Last game for a week on Thursday against Pittsburgh. Bet that goes well. Nucks Misconduct with the Vancouver side of things. Go Flyers.