Over the past three weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers have resembled an actual competitive hockey team. Whether it was the call-up of Shayne Gostisbehere, increased familiarity with coach Dave Hakstol's system, or the health of all of their key players, the Flyers were winning games and looking good doing it.
Tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, they turned back the clock and played like the early November Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers fell behind quickly and never recovered, losing to the Blue Jackets by a score of 4-1. Nick Foligno scored two goals for Columbus, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn the win. Steve Mason made 30 saves of his own.
Defensive zone play, or a lack thereof, was the story of the first period for the Flyers. Philadelphia struggled to exit their own zone cleanly throughout the period, and it resulted in two Columbus goals. Nick Foligno scored the first, ripping a one-timer past Steve Mason to give the Blue Jackets an early 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Jack Johnson extended the lead with an assist from Scott Laughton, who deflected a harmless-looking point shot past Mason.
Michael Raffl gave the Flyers some hope in the second. After failing to beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a breakaway, he was able to find the back of the net with the help of a slick pass from Brayden Schenn and an end-to-end rush from Shayne Gostisbehere. But Foligno quickly put Columbus back up by two, sniping a wrist shot past Mason on the rush to make the score 3-1.
Columbus wasn't finished. Scott Hartnell both extinguished the penalty kill's recent run of dominance and put the game out of reach, scoring a power play goal right in front of the net. That would be all that the Blue Jackets would need, as the Flyers struggled to create sufficient chances or sustained offensive zone pressure in the third period to really threaten a comeback.
Comment of the Night:
The good: Ghost got another point!
The bad: Everything else