The Philadelphia Flyers may have lost two games over the weekend, but those losses were more disappointing than embarrassing - close games that could have went either way but failed to deliver a positive result.
This one, on the other hand, was embarrassing.
Looking for a strong start after losing twice in two days on Super Bowl weekend, the Flyers instead were dominated from the opening whistle. The Anaheim Ducks imposed their will on Philadelphia in all three zones, and were up 2-0 before the first period ended. The onslaught continued for the remainder of the contest, as the Flyers exited with a 4-1 loss. Steve Mason stopped 22 Anaheim shots in the defeat.
The Flyers really were never in this game. Anaheim raced out to a 12-1 shots on goal advantage, punctuated by Rickard Rakell's power play goal midway through the period. There was no wake-up call received by Philadelphia, however, and it wasn't long before Rakell struck again. This time, he used Michael Del Zotto as a screen and flipped an unexpected shot past a startled Steve Mason, giving the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
Philadelphia's best ten minute stretch of the game followed, as they were actually able to generate some extended zone time and some chances on Anaheim goaltender Fredrick Andersen. Two power play opportunities - one soon after Rakell's second goal, and another at the start of the second period - certainly helped, but they weren't enough to get Philadelphia on the scoreboard.
By the midway point of the second period, the Flyers' brief flurry had subsided. But it wasn't until Chris Stewart drew a penalty shot opportunity and buried the ensuing chance that Philadelphia's hopes of a comeback truly went up in smoke. From that point on, the Flyers were a frustrated, undisciplined squad, incapable of consistently executing against a defensively-sound Ducks team. Only a late Wayne Simmonds power play goal that bounced off the shoulder of Cam Fowler kept the game from ending in a shutout.
Questions to Answer:
- Anaheim played last night and got beaten pretty soundly in the process. Flyers are at home with the extra day of rest. Good start? Please? Outshot 15-5 in the first period, it was pretty much the opposite of a good start.
- That said, the Ducks have been really good lately. 3+ goals in eight of their last ten, 4+ in six of those. Gonna need the defense to step up today. Do they? The team struggled in all three zones from the opening whistle. Sure, the defense played poorly, but so did everyone else, from Jakub Voracek all the way down to Steve Mason.
- Dave Hakstol leaned heavily on Giroux and Voracek last weekend. Does that happen again tonight? They unsurprisingly led all Flyers forwards in 5v5 ice time, but the blowout nature of the game allowed Hakstol to try out some new combinations in the third period. I'd expect the disparity to be significantly higher in games where the outcome is still in doubt late.
- Brandon Manning's back in the lineup, with a guy who's played pretty poorly of late in Radko Gudas. Can they somehow make it work? Nothing really worked in this one. Manning did fight Patrick Maroon in a futile attempt to spark his team, though.
- Shayne Gostisbehere's point streak. Does it live on? Yes! Thank Cam Fowler's shoulder for that late secondary assist for Ghost.
Comment of the Night:
So far the highlights of this game have been Bellemare playing soccer and Manning punching a guy. Can Nick Schultz go bobsledding or something next?