Let me get this out of the way, so I can try to avoid talking about it the entire rest of this recap: the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. They beat the Patriots in order to do so. That was cool and fun and very exciting.
This is the Philadelphia Flyers, though, which cannot really be described by either of those phrases as of late. A pretty awful first period, a hey-that-wasn’t-bad second period, and a mediocre third period cost the Flyers their fifth straight game as they went down 3-2 to the Boston Bruins.
The Flyers had the advantage in shots, 33-27, but low energy where it counted and yet another late goal given up against the Bruins did them in. This game happened before. We all witnessed it. This is the worst deja vu I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Here’s Wayne Simmonds with the mood of the night:
When you're at the dentist and they ask if you've been flossing. pic.twitter.com/Fvy9xubtVW— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 9, 2018
The game opened with a power play gifted to us. How fun. The refs were forced to call a belated high-sticking double minor on Kevan Miller once Wayne Simmonds started spitting up blood on the bench. The crowd wasn’t very happy, but you can’t do that, so off to the man advantage we went.
Just as I started thinking “can we reject this power play on account of not being good at them?” the Flyers decided to make me look like an pessimistic idiot. The power play (which lately has been bad, not good) kicked into motion with the Flyers gaining control. This was the first truly dangerous power play the Flyers have put together in some time, and it didn’t take long for them to score. Nolan Patrick, parked right in front of Tuukka Rask, sent a slick pass to a wide-open Jakub Voracek on the right side, and there was no missing that. Good guys 1, bad guys 0.
What a pass from Nolan Patrick pic.twitter.com/z4KuBiqNfH— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 9, 2018
The second power play wasn’t nearly as exciting, though the Flyers had a few good looks to start with. Boston’s aggressive penalty kill was up to the task.
Long gone are the days where the Flyers refused to take penalties. Jori Lehtera was sent to the box at 6:05 on a fairly weak slashing call on Rick Nash. Boston’s power play (which lately has been good, not bad) got to work. The Flyers penalty kill was mostly successful here, though they struggled to clear at times. Alex Lyon made some solid saves and a particularly nice play by Matt Read finished out the penalty.
This positive momentum didn’t last long. You watch this team often enough, right? The game returned to 5-on-5 hockey, and a particularly terrible sequence against the Bruins top line would cost the Flyers the lead. The Patrick line failed to clear the zone multiple times, with Patrick specifically turning over the puck to Brad Marchand. Robert Hagg blocked a Riley Nash wraparound attempt, but the rebound went in after an effort from both Nash and David Pastrnak. Nash, after some deliberating, got credit for the goal. Tied game.
The Flyers would go to the man advantage at 15:45, this time courtesy of a trip by Marchand on Shayne Gostisbehere. The Flyers failed to score on this power play, but to their credit, it wasn’t without effort. The first unit had a fair amount of chances, including a particularly dangerous shot by Claude Giroux that Rask managed to handle.
The sequence leading to the go-ahead goal for the Bruins started with a pretty blatant trip on Simmonds in the offensive zone by Tommy Wingels. This went uncalled, and the puck found Brian Gionta’s stick for a breakaway. Unfortunately for Lyon, it is the curse of a Flyers goalie to be bad at breakaways and/or shootouts, and he failed to make a save there.
AFTER ONE: 2-1 Bruins, shots 16-10 Flyers
The second period was less eventful than the first, which is probably a good thing. The teams both swapped chances in the first several minutes, but nothing that looked particularly dangerous for either side.
The first penalty in the second period would be called on Lindblom for slashing, though it didn’t look like he was the Flyers player at fault. Regardless, the Bruins went on the power play at 6:28. This seemed bad.
Except it wasn’t bad, somehow! In a series of events that can only be described as preposterous, a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity by none other than Valteri Filppula and Jori Lehtera ended up in a goal. Lehtera went five-hole on Rask, and it actually went in. That was noted offensive powerhouse Jori Lehtera’s 3rd goal of the season.
For your enjoyment we put the 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' theme over Jori Lehtera's goal. pic.twitter.com/Yl0y4hN227— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 9, 2018
The game-tying goal gave the Flyers a little bit more energy, and they killed off the rest of the penalty easily. If it takes a Lehtera goal to keep this team on their toes, I guess I’ll have to accept that.
The rest of the period went scoreless, with a lot of credit to Lyon for coming up with some good saves where it counted. He had a shaky first period, but he looked much better in the second, handling a few dangerous shots up close.
AFTER TWO: 2-2, shots 26-17 Flyers
The Flyers went back to the penalty kill almost immediately in the third after Travis Konecny was sent to the box for hooking on Miller. He probably thought Miller went looking for that call, but it’s still a pretty easy one to make.
This Bruins power play just didn’t look as dangerous as some of their previous chances. The Flyers killed the penalty, but the next ten minutes or so would continue as if the Bruins never left the power play. They dominated play for long stretches at 5-on-5, and Lyon came up big for the Flyers, having to make some seriously difficult saves. The Flyers needed more energy in this period, and it didn’t seem like they were able to generate any.
Still, the game remained tied, and a scoring opportunity by Sean Couturier would end up giving the Flyers a power play as he was hooked by Marchand at 13:21. This power play had some good looks from the top unit specifically, but nothing was able to get through.
Both of the teams swapped chances to close out the period, and you really thought you could smell overtime coming from a mile away. Though, with this team’s track record against Boston...
I actually wrote that before Boston scored, thinking it was a very funny joke, and then Marchand scored with 22 seconds left on the clock. I hate myself and I hate this team.
Hey, the Eagles are still Super Bowl champions. Goodnight.
AFTER THREE: 3-2 Bruins, shots 33-27 Flyers