Aw, come on. Yeah — that’s the kind of hockey game that sends you home with a disgusting taste in your mouth. We don’t like the shootout anyhow in this town, but when the Flyers lose a game that they utterly dominated for 50 minutes -- a game in which Andrew MacDonald scored the lone goal in regulation! — it just makes you angry. Yeah.
The Flyers dropped a tough 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators, who are a team that’s struggled quite a bit so far this season relative to the expectations on them when they began play at the beginning of the season. They showed a bunch of those weaknesses tonight as Philadelphia dominated at five-on-five for much of the game, but couldn’t beat goalie Pekka Rinne, who is apparently good at a sport called hockey.
The loss is the Flyers first home loss in their last seven games, and OK — we’re gonna talk about it.
Steve Mason made 30 saves for the hockey team known as the Flyers in the losing effort, while Rinne made 31 in the loss. MacDonald was blessed enough to score a goal for the Flyers, but they were unable to win the game thanks to a valiant effort from Rinne and a goal from Nashville’s Filip Forsberg that tied in midway through the third.
The Flyers definitely let off the gas pedal in the final frame after playing tight defense and controlling the play throughout much of the first 50 or so minutes. One look at the shot attempt chart tells the main story:
The pairing of Shayne Gostisbehere and Brandon Manning had a particularly solid night, holding Nashville attackers to just three shot attempts against while they were on the ice. (Philadelphia took 14 shot attempts while those two were on the ice, for comparison.)
But in the end, Nashville’s late third period burst led them to score a goal and, then, eventually, win the game in the shootout. Forsberg’s goal had been coming for a bit, and Mason started to look a bit shaky as the third went on, kicking out juicy rebounds. He didn’t have the team in front of him to thank, however, as they basically collapsed into a passive shell that you very much want to avoid when protecting a one goal lead.
The power play didn’t look dangerous at all, going 0-for-3 on the night. The game could have seen its turning point with an early second period 5-on-3 chance for this team, but the entertaining show we’ve seen all year on the PP was nowhere to be found tonight. It’s probably nothing to be alarmed about, but in a tight game against a team with a bad penalty kill, it wasn’t the best-case scenario. If you didn’t know anything about the Flyers heading into the game, it’s not likely you would have known this team had one of the best power-plays in the league.
(Shamless plug: we’ll surely hear more about that on a new edition of Broad Street Hockey Radio tomorrow night.)
One other thing we’ll be talkin’ bout, besides the Flyers now facing a two-game losing streak after winning 10 straight? We’ll be talkin’ bout a few hits that Travis Konecny took in the third period. About midway through, one of the Nashville players — doesn’t matter who, we won’t be talkin’ bout them until next season now -- absolutely hammered on Konecny behind the play. It was an obvious penalty, and yet the officials kept the whistles in their pockets. Later in the third, Konecny was smashed into the boards with a clean hit. He was slow to get up and could certainly be feeling the effects in the morning. (Hopefully not. We need him for the goals and the smiles.)
Wayne Simmonds spent a lot of time in the trainers room after this one too. He was a physical presence all over the ice, and when they win that’s gotta feel good for him. Tonight, though, the bruises are probably feeling a bit bigger.
Games like this are just so damn frustrating. The effort was there for the majority of the contest, and the results followed in a way that would make their names and their families proud. But as Bill and Kelly and Steph and Charlie are sure to yell about on tomorrow night’s podcast (another shameless plug!), they all seemed to lose the wind from their sails after the Forsberg goal.
In all honesty, folks, this are the kinds of games that make you love hockey and also make you hate it. Specifically, it’s the type of game that the Flyers really deserved to grab two points in despite the wind coming out of the sails late. Strong goalie play, strong even strength play, and ... well, sure, let’s go up against a tough goalie and lose anyway.
At least the Flyers got point, though. The hockey team now awaits the Washington Capitals, who are neck and neck with the Flyers in the wild card standings. A win in the first divisional game since before Thanksgiving will feel really good, particularly because it will wind up being an important one in the standings once all of the games are done in April. And then the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
OK, that’s that. Now listen to the fuckin’ song while you watch the damn highlights:
All aboard the Wayne Train! Choo Choo! pic.twitter.com/UdKUjM0jBK— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 20, 2016
Travis Konecny just got robbed, and we're not okay with that. pic.twitter.com/Y8wQrHYnAI— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 20, 2016
Konecny didn't die for this pic.twitter.com/f7F25IbalH— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 20, 2016
Good night, bad hockey everyone. pic.twitter.com/oMqSKXW2nU— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 20, 2016