The Flyers stooped to a new low in a 3-1 loss to the Sharks to push their losing streak to nine games.
That new low? A pathetic third period effort that saw just one shot on goal through 15 minutes to start the third period facing just a two-goal deficit. Having blown two-goal leads in multiple recent losses, the Flyers had an idea how plausible a comeback would be, and they spent the third period looking largely like they could care less.
Aaron Dell needed to make just 22 saves in net for the Sharks, and faced just five shots in the third when you would have expected the Flyers to be pressing to avoid yet another loss. In reality, the Flyers’ quick start would evaporate almost as quickly as it began.
The Flyers looked to get the early jump they needed after a tough loss in Pittsburgh just 48 seconds in as Claude Giroux opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Jake Voracek and Andrew MacDonald picked up assists on Giroux’s 11th of the season.
Giroux also extended his point streak to five goals with the goal and rewarded the Flyers for a couple early scoring chances on Sharks goalie Aaron Dell.
Never leave Claude Giroux wide open, you'll pay for it. pic.twitter.com/s4lhIpslkH— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 29, 2017
That, however, would be the high point of the night for the Flyers as they tied the franchise record for consecutive losses with nine.
Tempers flared when Robert Hagg finished his check on Tomas Hertl behind Michal Neuvirth’s net, creating a four-on-four as the cross-conference clubs finished off their season series. Shayne Gostisbehere jumped to Hagg’s aid, helping out the rookie as a crowd gathered.
Just after the 10-minute mark Chris Tierney tied things up at 1-1 with a wrist shot past the glove side of Neuvirth. Tierney’s shot appeared to hit Travis Sanheim’s stick on the way to Neuvirth.
A night after hitting five posts against the Penguins, the Flyers would find the iron a pair of times on back-to-back shifts with four minutes left in the first. First it was Valterri Filppula, then a big blast from Shayne Gostisbehere.
Already on the game’s first penalty kill for the Flyers’ 28th-ranked unit, Michael Raffl would put his team down by two men for 1:18 with a delay of game call late in the first period.
Joe Thornton would make it count, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead with 1:18 left. Thornton caught Neuvirth looking for the next pass and slipped a low shot through the five-hole of the goaltender.
The Flyers’ struggling penalty kill would still be on the hook for time left on the Raffl penalty to start the second, but were able to get a much-needed kill to stop some of the Sharks’ momentum.
To sum up how things have gone for the Flyers in their last eight games, their first power play of the game lasted for just nine seconds as Jake Voracek negated the man-advantage that Dale Weise somehow earned.
Though the next Flyers power play would last longer than nine seconds, it was again cut short by 19 seconds as Wayne Simmonds ended this one prematurely with a tripping call. Though the Sharks wouldn’t score, it was more of the Flyers shooting themselves in the foot as they’ve done so much of lately.
More bad news was on the way for the Flyers as Marc-Edouard Vlasic extended the Sharks lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the year with 3:56 left in the second. Vlasic’s point shot found its way past Neuvirth with a mess of bodies in front.
Through two periods it was hard to believe that the Flyers actually held a lead at some point in this one, as the Sharks just imposed their will in the second stanza. They pelted Neuvrith with 17 shots and kept the Flyers’ scoring chances to the outside and not much of danger towards Aaron Dell.
Michal Neuvirth came up with a nice save on a Joe Thornton breakaway early in the third to keep the Flyers within two, staying with the veteran center as he went to the backhand. It was a night in which Neuvirth wasn’t his best, but didn’t get much help in front of him either. He finished with 31 saves on 34 shots on the night, making his first start since 11/21 in a loss to Vancouver.
Down two goals and trying to fend off their ninth-straight loss, the Flyers managed just one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes of the third period. Past that, they rarely gained time or space int he Sharks’ zone, a staple of Pete DeBoer’s teams so far in his NHL coaching career.
The Flyers spend the rest of the third running into the Sharks’ defense and didn’t seem to come to life until their net was empty with two minutes left. No more goals or a miraculous comeback would be on tap, though, and the Flyers would be booed off the ice as they were sent to their ninth-straight loss by a 3-1 final.