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Panthers 2, Flyers 1: No thank you, Mr. Roberto

The Flyers? Losing? It’s just about as likely as you think!

Florida Panthers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Here is a fun fact about both me and Shayne Gostisbehere: we are both from Florida! It’s true. You may have heard it on the broadcast several times, or any time we’ve ever played the Florida Panthers, whichever. Florida ice hockey is real and alive and it is my friend, because it gave us our boy Shayne, and that’s what this is all about.

(As grateful as I am to the Panthers for this, Shayne is a grown boy now and one of us, so I will remain unbiased here.)

The Flyers looked to continue their strong play over the past couple weeks, and not for nothing, they managed to do that, just in random intervals strategically spread throughout the game like some kind of treasure hunt for us, their adoring fans.

Despite putting together a serious explosion of offense in the third period, it wouldn’t be enough to make up for two lackluster (and boring, so boring) periods of play. Roberto Luongo was often the culprit here, but you really would like to see some more effort, right? Oh, and we gave up a power play goal. That’s part of it, too.

The Flyers had a slight edge on shots by the end (31-30) but that does not tell the whole story. That’s what you’re here for, anyway!

The first period started off pretty uneventful, with neither team recording any shots on goal through the first two and a half minutes. This would set the tone for the rest of the period, which had me zoning out more times than should be possible, considering I “love” this sport.

Not for nothing, however, the Flyers played a decent first period defensively. Even with a few turnovers that didn’t go their way, they kept control of the puck and looked fairly competent in the neutral zone, breaking up entries at the line and holding the Panthers to just one shot on goal through the first eight minutes of play.

The second half of the period would tell a slightly different story, but the Flyers got out unscathed, mainly due to Brian Elliott bailing them out when needed, specifically on a shot by Jonathan Huberdeau that saw Elliott making the best save of the period.

An interference call at 15:53 against the Panthers sent the Flyers on their first power play of the night, and what do you know, it was an absolute embarrassment to watch. They struggled with their entries on this one, which is to say they didn’t get to set up until past a minute in, and nope, they didn’t score, either. The good fellas at the Wells Fargo Center voiced some of their displeasure, and I found myself joining along at home.

There isn’t much to say about this period, mostly because not a lot happened. Sometimes, that’s a good thing! It’s nice to watch twenty minutes of hockey and not have much to say beyond “hey, that was fine.” The Panthers ended up with the edge on shots by the end of the period, in part due to a flurry of activity in the Flyers’ zone towards the end, but nothing quite dangerous enough to make me sweat.

God, how am I already tired, what the hell, man.

AFTER ONE: 0-0, shots 11-6 Panthers

I fell asleep during intermission. Good morning.

The second period opened up considerably, though mostly in favor of the Panthers. So it goes, I guess. Elliott was once again forced to bail us out, and that he did for the most part, as best he could. In my near-comatose state, at one point during this broadcast I thought I heard Jim Jones say, “Flyers illuminati,” and it just sounded true.

The Panthers were gifted their first power play of the night by our favorite son Sean Couturier, who went to the box at 3:33 for hooking. Out comes... the Philadelphia Flyers penalty kill (2018-2019 edition)!!!!!!! Imagine fanfare made entirely of a class of 4th graders playing the recorder.

Ignore my pessimism, they didn’t give up the goal here. It did feel like they were only delaying the inevitable. Come on, guys, rip off the band-aid.

A delayed penalty on Ivan Provorov for “tripping” (citation needed) at 7:39 would do it for the scoreless game, as our historically bad penalty kill did what it does best and gave up a goal at 8:15. At least it’s familiar. Aaron Ekblad would get the tally. 1-0 Panthers.

The next several minutes of play would again look pretty underwhelming for the Flyers. The only real standout to me this period was Scott Laughton, who looked great defensively, and Elliott who was forced to make some killer saves to keep the game close.

You know, I hate to be one of those people sitting at home, drinking beer or coke, scratching my balls and yelling “shoot the puck u idiot!!!” at the television, but I did find myself channeling that energy as an exciting offensive rush would fizzle out due to Travis Konecny simply taking far too long to take a shot. The ice was open, and he just hesitated until the options disappeared. This play would result in another tripping penalty on Provorov at 13:02, as he was forced to make the only play he could to prevent a breakaway going the other way.

This is far from Provorov’s best game, but this was a smart play by him with limited options. But he looked so fucking sad in that penalty box, oh my God. Sports are really and truly awful for the soul.

The penalty kill went to work and managed to keep it a 1-0 game. Color me shocked.

Not that it would last long, however. A quick shot by Evegenii Dadonov got past Christian Folin (him again?) and behind Elliott. I guess that’s fine, too.

AFTER TWO: 2-0 Panthers, shots 24-14 Panthers

Oh man, don’t you just hate this team, hahahahahaha.

It is so Flyers to play two underwhelming and, frankly, boring periods of hockey and then immediately come right out the gate with a burst of offensive activity in the third. They threw almost everything they had at Roberto Luongo, forcing him to come up with some serious magic, and even then it wouldn’t be enough.

At 3:55, the assault would finally find its mark, and Jake Voracek netted one behind Luongo off the rush. What a shot, baby. I actually felt something.

At the five minute mark of the period, the Flyers had already racked up 9 shots on goal. That’s no joke, considering they were held to just 6 in the first and 8 in the second. Down just one goal now, they looked capable of tying the game, waking up from the slumber of the first 40 minutes and creating opportunities in the offensive zone.

Oskar Lindblom in particular was having an excellent period, putting together some creative offense and producing a shot off the crossbar that had me holding my breath; full stop, the Lindblom-Patrick-Voracek line was the most dangerous offensive line for the Flyers all game. I even got a little bit excited! I forgot what that felt like!

Of course, we often forget that: Roberto Luongo.

Despite all their efforts in the third, and trust me, there were many, the Flyers just couldn’t get that game-tying goal past Bobby Lou. Bad things sometimes happen. If you are a fan of the Flyers, they tend to happen a lot! Imagine that.

AFTER THREE: 2-1 Panthers, shots 31-30 Flyers