Entering tonight's game in Chicago, no one thought that the Flyers would blow the Blackhawks out of the water. The cards were stacked against us in this game -- the Blackhawks are the defending Cup champs, are currently first in the NHL, and were coming off back to back wins where they scored six goals in each.
But the first period of the game seemed to tell a different story. Philadelphia dominated play and walked into the locker room after 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead on Jakub Voracek's second goal in two games. If hockey was a 20 minute game, perhaps tonight would have been a different story. Alas, the next 40 minutes happened ... and there was very little upside to them.
The Blackhawks scored five goals in the second period and beat the Flyers handily in just about every possible way. Their passes looked cleaner, they were skating faster, and they looked far more confident. From there, the Flyers did what they do best: let their emotions get the best of them.
No losses are enjoyable, but this one was particularly nasty. Being outscored so massively, seeing players take frustration penalties, and watching the game escape them so entirely is depressing.
Bullet points to sum up:
- The Flyers had been on a downward progression as far as their minor penalties were concerned: seven in Detroit, five in Dallas, and three in Ottawa. If you thought that was to continue, you'd be wrong. They took seven tonight, many that were untimely and completely stupid. Cough, cough, Scott Hartnell.
- Jake Voracek's been having a rough time of it so far this season. He scored the Flyers first goal, putting up goals in back to back games, but later on lost a battle against Michael Handzus which eventually yielded a shorthanded goal. Jake's never been strong on the backcheck, but that was just painful to watch.
- In fact, the entire top line went minus-3. Jokers.
- Disastrous night for the Luke Schenn/Andrej Meszaros pairing. There were multiple occasions when they were visibly behind the play. Most notable for Schenn? Drifted behind the net as though he forgot who he was supposed to be checking and Kris Versteeg capitalized. Meszaros? Lost Andrew Shaw around the back of the net and Shaw put in a wraparound. Sloppy stuff. I'm assuming one of them sits in favor of Gus tomorrow.
- Ray Emery faced 18 shots and let in 6 goals. Phew. Most of those can't be blamed on him, but still, not a great showing in his old stomping grounds, I'm afraid.
- Highlight of the evening for me was seeing Sean Couturier work on Patrick Kane. Kane, while he picked up two assists, was relatively quiet for the evening. Even got stripped a couple of times.
It wasn't a good one. No point in sugarcoating anything, but the Flyers will have to shake this one off quickly, as Danny Briere and the Montreal Canadiens visit the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow night. It'll be an emotional game, no doubt, so let's pray that the Flyers can keep it from working against them. It certainly won't be an easy one.
Afterwards, the Flyers have four games against divisional opponents, which will give them an excellent opportunity to leap up in the standings. I'm sure these games will prove to be an important step on the road to playoffs, so we gotta make sure we get those.
Comment of the Night
You really think he'd still be on the team?
>> Snevik, on the Flyers being screwed out of Patrick Kane