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Flyers vs. Panthers recap: Ugly start to the home-and-home

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The Florida Panthers absolutely routed the Flyers. It was not fun, and I suggest you avoid watching it. If you've already watched it, I suggest you invent a time machine and go back to a time before it existed.

When will death’s icy grasp claim me, A Flyers Fan?
When will death’s icy grasp claim me, A Flyers Fan?
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

It's increasingly likely that perhaps our optimism after the Flyers debut against the Lightning may have been something akin to a mistake.

From the very beginning of the game, I had a bad feeling. I can't explain it. There was something in the air. Even something about the way the first shift went made me vaguely uncomfortable. I mean, maybe it was just that watching Nick Schultz defend against Jaromir friggin' Jagr is depressing. Regardless, it didn't take long for that discomfort to register as a deficit on the scoreboard. When Steve Mason turned aside a center ice dump in, Trocheck was able to backhand it easily through the five hole, and we were off to a bad start.

It didn't stop there, though. Two quick penalties, to Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl respectively, gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead within a frankly shocking six minutes of the first period. And no, Steve Mason wasn't able to find his legs. Not too long after, he turned the puck over while trying to outlet, and Jokinen was able to capitalize easily. 4-0. This early into a game, a four goal deficit isn't even upsetting. It's just funny. Salt in the wound.

I thought, maybe, perhaps, it was a bad period. I thought, maybe, perhaps, they would have a better start to the second. I thought, maybe, perhaps, I was wrong after I watched Jagr open the period with a goal off a terrible turnover by Raffl in front of the net. 5-0. I was exhausted by the weight of the team's inadequacy.

A net-front scrum from the fourth lines then sent the Flyers to a power play, which eventually got the boys on the board thanks to a point shot from Mark Streit. At least there would not be a shut-out: a consolation prize on our wild ride through a nightmarish hellscape.  However, that was all it would be. There wasn't a grand resurgence, even though the Flyers eventually came to even out shots on goal and spent a lot of PK time in Florida's zone. It just wasn't enough. Sometimes it isn't.

Jagr opened the third period with a power play goal, and Smith grabbed another power play goal on the 5-on-3, each putting another nail in the coffin and putting me out of my misery.

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things:

  • Tonight was the first time we saw the Steve Mason that everyone was laughing about when the Flyers traded for him. It was...phew. It was not good. If you didn't have to watch the slaughter, don't bother and just take my word for it. It was nasty, and it will only serve to make you sad. He looked totally out of sorts, unable to control rebounds and messy with his puck-handling. I almost feel bad being so critical of him, but he was really not good.
  • A bunch of Panthers scored, and they looked very good and very strong. Whether or not they are actually very good or very strong remains to be seen, considering that we found out this evening that the Flyers are actually hot garbage juice masquerading as a hockey team composed of human men.
  • Brandon Manning looked noticeably slow this evening. Considering that his skating is one of his strengths, I'd say that he probably needs to come out quicker next game if he wants to keep his roster spot. There's plenty of 6th d-men waiting in the wings, eager to take his place. Speaking of defensemen liable to lose their jobs, Luke Schenn took a double minor due to his own clumsiness, falling to the ice and nicking Huberdeau with the toe of his blade. Like, holy shit, Luke. Come on now. Stay on your skates. I know you're Neville Longbottom incarnate, but this is something else.
  • Though I thought that Sean Couturier's line looked okay, Wayne Simmonds has been all but invisible thus far. The team is relying on that line for secondary scoring, and it's really gonna have to kick in at some point.
  • I hesitate to give too many compliments on a night when they lost by 6 goals, but the fourth line played well. They drew two penalties and kept possession of the puck more often then they gave it up. Also, #heart and #grit and all that nonsense.
  • The Flyers top power play unit is a positive, but we all already knew that, so there's no point in doing more than mentioning it tallied tonight. The Flyers went 1 for 4 on the power play, so it needed to be better if it was to make a difference in this gong show. On the opposite side of things, they got absolutely destroyed on the penalty kill, giving up three goals on seven power plays. Way too many penalties to kill in the first place, but whatever.
  • For what it's worth, Michael Neuvirth played okay when relieving Mason. He slowed the bleeding, at the very least, stopping 19 out of 22.
  • Ryan White had the first fight of the season, squaring up against Sean Thornton, who matters so little to me that I refuse to spell his name correctly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And please, before you comment about how stupid I am: I know. I've been hyperbolic for the sake of comedy. It's a bit.

This game was dogshit, true, but it was only the second game of the season, and it was undoubtedly Steve Mason's worst game as a Flyer. Still, watching games that are this awful are not fun unless you get to the Exaggeration Stage, the 4.5 stage of grief, right between depression and acceptance.

The Flyers are back at it on Monday when they host their home opener in the second half of the home-and-home against the Panthers.  Let's hope it's prettier than tonight was.