Tonight's game was pretty much the definition of the phrase "darkest timeline".
Sean Couturier shaved, the Flyers lost to the worst team in the East, and worst of all, there was a legit possibility that Claude Giroux could have been out for an extended period of time after what seemed to be a serious injury. I was in full panic mode.
Thankfully, Giroux's injury wasn't as bad as it initially seemed, because he's probable for the Flyers game in Jersey tomorrow. Thank every diety you know of. Still, the Flyers played a game tonight and they lost that game, so I am upset about it. A little.
Almost immediately, things seemed out of control for the Flyers. Jordan Staal had a high quality chance within the first sequence of the game. The Hurricanes went on to outshoot the Flyers 12-4 in the first. That was bad because ideally, you want the Flyers to shoot more. To compound the bad thing, the Canes had the gall to use all of their offensive pressure to score. Like, score a goal. One that gave them the lead. I know. How fucking rude of them. Didn't they realize that this was a game the Flyers were supposed to win? I guess no one gave them the memo.
Really though, it was an ugly first period that needed to change if the Flyers had any desire to actually, like, win the game.
While they certainly maintained some legitimate possession early on in the second period, the Flyers were unable to do much with it, even with two power play opportunities. The Hurricanes were able to extend their lead to two with a goal from Eric Staal. The defensive coverage was nasty, so I'd just prefer not to talk about it. God damn the Staals. Go farm something, you giant blond freaks.
Five minutes into the third, Claude Giroux went down as a skate from Faulk cut him across the back of the leg. It was scary, everything unfolding so quickly that it seemed almost surreal. Giroux had to be aided off the ice, apparently unable to bear weight on his leg.
The game went on, but it was hard to focus on anything besides the captain. Chris Vandevelde scored to bring the Flyers within one, but that's as close as they'd get to tying it up.
- The Flyers losing streak has now extended to four. Whatever, Claude Giroux's okay.
- The fourth line continues to look great. There were multiple shifts by them where they had the Canes completely hemmed in. I hope Zac Rinaldo is comfortable up there in the box, because it looks like he's gonna be up there for a while.
- Mark Streit had that really ugly turnover that led to Carolina's first goal and, while it was obvious that he was trying to do way too much, I thought it was pretty insane that none of the forwards cycled back to the point when he pinched. I mean, I know it was a shift by the fourth line, but there has to be some responsibility on the forwards end as well.
- I saw Matt Read double shifting after the Giroux injury. Deserves some credit for that. He's played well.
- Kudos to the training staff and to the refs who responded quickly and efficiently when Giroux went down. Also, kudos to Andrej Sekera, who helped Giroux down the tunnel in a great show of sportsmanship. We have no idea how dangerous the play was or even could have been, so it's heartening to see them respond so well.
As a final aside, let me just say this: the Flyers aren't good. They're just not a good team. Don't blame losses like this on effort. It's not effort. It never will be effort. Every player on the team wants to win just as badly as every other player in the league. You can't will a team with glaring inadequacies into winning. It's not a matter of passion or drive or toughness. It's talent. Same as it ever was.
And it's okay to admit that. Anyone should be able to admit that it's absolutely zero fun right now. Even more, it's incredibly hard to watch the star of the team go down the way he did, but that doesn't mean that you should complain about the team like it's a heart issue. It just isn't.
The Flyers will wrap up this road trip against the Devils tomorrow night. Today sucked. Send all your positive thoughts to Claude Giroux. He deserves them. Night, y'all.