The Flyers really could have used a win tonight, especially considering the Blue Jackets are one of the easier opponents they will face down the stretch. Unfortunately, things just didn't pan out the way we would have liked.
There's really only one word to describe how the Flyers started off the game: sloppy. They certainly didn't get outplayed by the Blue Jackets, but they just weren't able to get a good step on them either. Multiple blown chances and an inability to get anything done on the power play were the real highlights of the first 20 minutes. Booooooo.
Speaking of the power play, it looked just god awful in the first period. The Flyers had a hell of a time getting set up in the zone, and when they did, it never amounted to any quality chances. I'm fairly certain the Blue Jackets generated more offense on their three short-handed situations than the Flyers did, and that's just sad.
Regardless, the Flyers' less than stellar play didn't turn into an advantage for the opposition, and the period ended scoreless.
The second period began remarkably different, with the Flyers very clearly dominating play and getting a good number of pucks on net. They forced Sergei Bobrovsky to make a bunch of key saves, and had he not been on the top of his game, the Flyers would have taken off on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Flyers were the better team for the majority of the period, Columbus struck first. That goal came from James Wisniewski on a really dominant Blue Jackets power play where they were just peppering Steve Mason with shots. You ever get that feeling where you know a team is about to score? That's exactly what that Columbus power play was like.
That goal would prove to be the only one of the stanza, and the Flyers found themselves entering the final minutes of the game from behind, as they are wont to do.
The Blue Jackets were able to increase the goal deficit early on in the third, when that little rat Brandon Dubinsky redirected a shot from the point through the legs of Steve Mason. Even though the goal was pretty fluky (it bounced off rat man's skate), Columbus was definitely playing better than the Flyers. Given Philadelphia's history dictating play late in games, it was all pretty disappointing to see.
The Jackets just kept controlling play for the remainder of the period, preventing the Flyers from delivering a late game comeback. Sure, our boys put out a late game push with an empty net, but were never able to convert.
*A pretty bad outing for special teams tonight. By the end of the second period, the Flyers were 0-4 on the power play and let up a goal while shorthanded. To be fair, Couturier -- arguably the best penalty killer -- was in the box for Columbus' power play goal. Still, there's been a lot of talk about this team "living and dying by special teams." If you put any stock into that statement, tonight was kind of disappointing…and scary.
*Our old friend Mr. Sergei Bobrovsky was pretty good, stopping every shot he faced tonight. As I noted in the preview, he's dropped off a bit from last year, but he's still a pretty decent goaltender. I'm still glad he got traded, though, given that we thought Ilya Bryzgalov was the starting goaltender for the remainder of the century.
*Tonight we saw some really strong play from the Grossmann-Streit pairing. Those two guys get a lot of flack around these parts, so it's certainly surprising to see them put up the effort they did tonight. Credit where credit is due, and such.
*Vincent Lecavalier has been pretty damn good since getting demoted to the fourth line. Maybe Kurt's suggestion of putting him on the fifth line isn't such a bad idea…
*The Flyers have now lost three games in a row. Not exactly what you want to see with their playoff hopes in the balance.
Next game is Saturday against against the Bruins. Go Flyers.