Sometimes it's hard to pull a ton of words together after watching a game. A lot of the time when that's the case, though, it's because you're left stunned, heartbroken, speechless, etc., due to an incredible ending or an unbelievable game or something like that.
It's hard to come up with a lot to say after tonight's game, but that's mostly because it's hard to come up with much noteworthy that even really happened in tonight's 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After a not-bad week in California that even had ol' Ed Snider happy about the direction this team was headed in, tonight we saw a lot of similar things to what we've been seeing for most of the season. An inability to execute the simplest of passes and motions that any NHL team should be able to make. Prolonged stretches spent in the defensive zone, waiting on the goalie to bail them out. An overreliance on special teams, which blows up in their faces when some bad execution (and, in fairness, bad luck) on the penalty kill finds them in an even bigger hole.
Credit to the Flyers for "fighting", if you want to call it that -- they turned up the jets in the final few minutes of the third period, down a goal, and it ended with Brayden Schenn scoring his second of the night in the final minute to salvage a point out of this mess. But another breakdown in overtime brought this to an end, moving the team to 2-8-2 in its last 12 games and letting one of the few teams actually behind them in the standings pick up some ground.
I said before the game that these next few weeks will be the Flyers' real chance to get back in the race. They're at home for four games beginning Thursday before going on their Disney on Ice trip, and the quality of teams they'll be facing over the next few weeks -- for the most part -- isn't great. But this game should just serve as a reminder: every one of those teams is currently looking at the Flyers on their upcoming schedule, thinking "that team isn't great", too.
And right now, it's hard to argue with them.
* To sum up how much the Flyers struggled to get things going offensively, here's how things were going between the puck drop and that aforementioned last-few-minutes scramble:
In their last 10 games, Columbus gave up 37, 40, 41, 37, 32, 30, 42, 25, 55, and 34 shots. Flyers have 15 with under 5 min left.— Kurt (@Kurt_BSH) December 10, 2014
This Columbus team is getting better (and healthier), but they're still a team that you can get pressure on and generate offense against. The Flyers didn't get pressure on them until the very end of this game (they'd end with 21 shots, six coming in those final few minutes of regulation + overtime). That's not acceptable.
* Scott Hartnell -- who hadn't scored a goal in about a month before tonight -- scored a goal in the crease on the power play while Nicklas Grossmann shoved a Jackets forward into Steve Mason, because of course. We all probably could have seen that coming, right?
* On that note, the penalty kill ... I don't want to say it was terrible -- there was some bad luck involved on each of the Jackets' two goals. On the first one, Braydon Coburn (THANKS, KEVIN) got in the way of a cross-crease pass, and it bounced right back to the guy at the post, who was unmarked and fired it past Steve Mason, who followed the (anticipated) trajectory of the pass to the opposite post. The other one was the aforementioned Hartnell goal, which came after a lengthy scrum in front of the net. With that said, they did kill off two big penalties in the third period, including one with five minutes left where they had more offensive zone time than the Columbus power play did. So I don't think they were awful, the way they have been at some points this season. Still, though ... tough to really look at this game as progress on that front when you give up two goals.
* Something nice to say: Scott Laughton still is really fun to watch, and maybe his highlight of the night came when he atoned for a turnover by catching up on the backcheck to snuff out a breakaway. He clearly still needs some work, but the guy makes things happen with his skating, and for a team that looks like it's moving in molasses a lot of the time, that's more than welcomed.
* Why, upon Brayden Schenn's game-tying goal squeaking through Sergei Bobrovsky's pads, did the ref put up a touchdown/field goal signal? Anyone? (Two goals for Schenn tonight, by the way, including one off of a verrrrrrry nice feed from Giroux in the first period.)
* I love the guy, but something is clearly off with Matt Read this season, and man did he look bad tonight at a lot of different times. He's going to get a lot of heat for not getting back in time on what ended up being the game-winning goal in overtime, and while he was clearly tired at the end of a long shift, I can't say that heat is unwarranted. The Flyers need to get him going. Need to.
COMMENT OF THE NIGHT:
Maybe he was holding up 5 fingers to tell coots how many millions he makes.... we have a producer at work that always reminds coworkers how much business he brings.
-- omiller315, trying to figure out who/what exactly Andrew MacDonald was waiving his hand at on the game-winning goal
Back home for a week! Thursday night against ... New Jersey. Of course. Is it possible to have a less exciting game than this one? Stay tuned! Go Flyers.