Uncalled penalties and sloppy play in all zones held the Flyers back tonight. Despite keeping the shots in their favor (33-25), they fell 6-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in their most discouraging effort of the season.
Here’s Radko Gudas with a good representation of how the game went tonight.
October 24, 2017
The first period kicked into motion with a face-off violation penalty by Anaheim at 1:57, sending the Flyers on the first power play of the game early on. John Gibson had a huge save up close on a textbook Wayne Simmonds redirection, but aside from that chance, the effort as a whole looked fairly underwhelming.
Ivan Provorov was called for tripping at 3:47 with ten seconds left on the power play, giving Anaheim a power play just shy of the full two minutes. Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton did a great job of suppressing the Ducks on the penalty kill, but the Flyers would eventually give up a few high-danger shots up close. Brian Elliot looked up to the task.
Then noted offensive dynamo Sean Couturier scored! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A stellar pass by Claude Giroux gave him just the right amount of room up close for a few fancy dekes, and he made it look too easy. 1-0 Flyers.
Couturier goal pic.twitter.com/PBpmtaU4Bo— steph (@myregularface) October 24, 2017
Kevin Bieksa did a Kevin Bieksa thing and crosschecked Radko Gudas (really! I know!) to the kidneys. No idea why anyone wants to tempt fate like that, but Gudas wanted blood. Both players would go to the box for unsportsmanlike activities, and we got more 4-on-4 hockey.
The Ducks did a good job of keeping pressure on the Flyers, as is the story of this period. A shot by François Beauchemin gave Elliot a scare when it bounced off the post, but he covered up quick on the rebound. No sweat, no sweat.
Bieksa and Gudas came out of the box and immediately dropped the gloves. Gudas went down first, but the linesmen stepped in before any damage could be done, and the fight was over probably sooner than both players would like.
Anaheim had their share of scoring chances, but their pressure in the Flyers zone was what looked truly dangerous this period. Although the Flyers kept the shots in their favor, the Ducks looked like the better team. Their skating was better, their pressure on the puck was stronger, and they looked like the hungrier team for the majority of the period.
The tie goal felt inevitable, and it was! With just a minute and a half left on the clock, Ondrej Kase scored for the Ducks on a quick redirection. But you already knew that would happen, right?
AFTER ONE: 1-1, shots 12-6 Flyers (somehow)
I don’t even want to write about this one.
A series of unfortunate events awaited the Flyers in the second period, starting with a hit by Chris Wagner on Nolan Patrick against the boards. Patrick’s head slammed against the glass and he took his time getting up. He went down the tunnel, being helped by the concussion spotters, and didn’t return for the rest of the period.
The go-ahead goal for the Ducks came early in this period, with Brandon Montour scoring off the rush. The Flyers simply gave him too much room and paid for it. 2-1 Ducks.
Uncalled penalties would be the story of this period. Simmonds was tripped up by Getzlaf with no call, and almost immediately afterwards he was called on a weak slashing penalty. Off to the box he went, and he didn’t look very happy about it. Anaheim got their second power play opportunity of the night.
Another uncalled penalty came soon after when Giroux came into the offensive zone with speed, looking for a short-handed goal. On first glance, it looked like he broke his stick on his shot, but it turned out to be a slash by Antoine Vermette that did the deed. The puck hit the post, and Giroux looked for a penalty call that just didn’t come.
The Flyers managed to kill off the penalty on Simmonds, but the even-strength hockey wouldn’t last very long. Anaheim was sent on another power play, this time on a weak tripping call on Giroux.
Obviously, as these sort of things go, the Ducks scored on this opportunity. Nick Ritchie’s power play goal put the bad guys up 3-1 and I’m seriously considering opening up a bottle of wine at this point.
Although the officiating played a big role in this period, it’s still clear that Anaheim was controlling play in this game. The shots finally started to reflect that, as the Flyers had only three shots in the first ten minutes of play in the second, while the Ducks managed to rack up eight.
The frustrated Flyers finally got some offense going in the second half of the period, starting with a rush to the net by Simmonds that Gibson had an answer for, followed by a shot by Voracek that deflected just shy of the net up front. They started to push more on the puck and keep some pressure on the Ducks in their zone, but it looked like too little too late.
The Flyers were sent on another power play when Ritchie tripped up Couturier in the Anaheim zone, but it’s another underwhelming effort. The Anaheim penalty kill is up to the task, and the Flyers just didn’t look particularly dangerous on that one.
Rickard Rakell would eventually score for the Ducks on a set-up by Getzlaf, and the Ducks went up 4-1. Ugh.
The refs tried to win back the favor of the Philadelphia crowd by calling a couple penalties on the Ducks, first a tripping call on Andrew Cogliano and then a slashing penalty on Bieksa. 5-on-3 hockey! These refs may actually live another day.
The Flyers came up with a few dangerous shots on this opportunity, but the period ended before they could get a goal.
AFTER TWO: 4-1 Ducks, shots 25-18 Flyers
The period began with 19 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey left on the clock. The Ducks managed to kill this off, as well as the remaining few seconds of the Flyers 5-on-4 power play.
The Flyers were managing to come up with some chances, with Jordan Weal in particular getting an opportunity with an empty net up close, but the team looked tired and frustrated. They still weren’t skating on Anaheim’s level and failed to control the play early on in the period.
They would pay for this, of course. The Ducks scored their fifth unanswered goal of the game with Getzlaf slipping the puck right between Elliot’s pads. 5-1 Ducks. I’m opening up that bottle of wine, by the way.
Both teams swap chances over the next few minutes, then a delayed penalty on Rakell gave the Flyers their third power play of the night. The Flyers had a couple of good looks on this power play, but nothing that would be converted into a goal, and Anaheim had no trouble holding them back.
However, a light in the darkness: Travis Sanheim’s first NHL point. He beautifully set up Couturier on his second goal of the night, and the Flyers managed to stop the bleeding just a little bit. 5-2 Ducks, with Voracek notching his 500th point and Couturier his 200th on the goal.
The Flyers let us get our hopes up juuust a little bit by drawing a penalty on Kase, sending the good guys on another power play. Their pressure looked good, but they couldn’t get anything by Gibson. So much for that.
Kase came out of the box and didn’t waste much time. He rushed the net, drew a penalty shot, and scored. Of course he scored! That’s our fault for getting excited about Sanheim’s first point.
AFTER THREE: 6-2 Ducks, shots 33-25 Flyers
That’s the game. Happy birthday to me!