1. I agree The Flyers, why start playing defense now?
I have never personally been a part of an NHL team’s pre-game meeting, but I’m guessing no coach has ever expected to give up five goals on the first eight shots against just 9:41 into the game. Hearing those numbers it’d be easy to pin the loss and five-goal deficit halfway through the opening frame on last night’s starting goalie Brian Elliott, but it wasn’t all (or even mostly) his fault.
Three of the first five goals came thanks to a Blue standing directly in or on the edge of the crease. The other two came on wide-open shooting chances during special teams’ play. St. Louis’ first shot of the game was Ivan Barbashev backhanding a puck out of midair past Elliott’s shoulder. The Blues’ third shot of the game was a tic-tac-toe passing sequence on the power play from Brayden Schenn (I said they were on the power play) to David Perron in the opposite circle to Ryan O’Reilly, who was camped out on the far side of the crease for a tap-in tally. The Blues’ fourth shot of the game came after Travis Sanheim got caught high in the offensive zone on a power play, which lead to 2-on-1 for Oskar Sundqvist and Alex Steen against Ivan Provorov. Scott Laughton backchecked pretty well to interrupt Sundqvist’s attempt to pass or shoot, but the former Pittsburgh Penguin still managed to find Steen across the slot for a rather wide-open shot. The Blues’ fifth shot of the came came 13 seconds after the Flyers’ first goal and featured Patrick Maroon at the top of the crease being cheered on or yelled at by Corban Knight (whatever it was, it wasn’t anything to actually prevent Maroon from receiving a pass) as Tyler Bozak found the power forward in front. The fifth goal for the home team came on their eighth shot of the game, when David Perron was given a few seconds to line up a wrist shot from the right circle on the power play. That’s when Elliott was pulled and if you’d like to really blame that start on the former Blue, be my guest.
As for the entirety of the game, last night marked the fourth time this season the Flyers have allowed seven goals or more in a single game joining nine other teams to accomplish the feat. Surprisingly, despite giving up five goals or more in 23 games this season, this was the only game so far this season the Flyers gave up five goals in the first period. That’s something!
2. Oskar Lindblom and James van Riemsdyk might be even better next season
There weren’t many positives from last night, but two of the three goal scorers are forwards that have put together strong seasons with reason to believe next season could be even better for both players.
Lindblom made a nice move in close on Jordan Binnington for his second in as many games, third in four games, and his 16th on the season. His first full season in the NHL hasn’t been easy, as highlighted by his 30-game goal drought, but that isn’t all his fault. Former head coach Dave Hakstol apparently wasn’t a fan of Lindblom and now interim head coach Scott Gordon didn’t start trusting the Swedish forward’s game until a month into his tenure. Now, when consistently given ice time in the top six, Lindblom has scored 12 goals in the 35 games since he snapped his goal drought. Hopefully the Flyers’ next head coach knows what they have in Lindblom from the jump.
As for James van Riemsdyk, he just batted down a Carl Gunnarsson pass below the Blues’ goal line, drove to the front of the net, and batted his own rebound out of midair to beat Binnington to make it a two-goal game. A pretty incredible goal that everyone either didn’t notice or won’t care about because this game and season has sucked.
JVR scores the game's 6th goal in the first 7 and a half minutes of the contest. pic.twitter.com/MdvVDHEmyz— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 5, 2019
It was JVR’s 27th of the season, a season where he missed 16 (pretty much 17) of the first 18 games with his new club. His shooting percentage is a little higher than his career average and his individual shot and shot attempt per 60 rates have dropped a bit, but a full season with possibly a few new offensive weapons to play alongside and JVR should pot at least 30 goals next season.
3. There’s Sam Morin
To go along with his 42.86 corsi for percentage and the fact he was only on the ice for one of the Blues’ four even-strength goals last night, Sam Morin finally brought that physical play we’ve been hearing about for years. After he nearly dropped the gloves with Patrick Maroon, Morin ran over Robby Fabbri in pretty comedic fashion.
Lmao Morin dumped someone without even trying. pic.twitter.com/tkWpEA3eGT— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 5, 2019
Morin made his presence felt despite not registering a single hit and only playing 10:07. He’s perhaps the team’s most polarizing prospect among fans, and it’s hard to really grade his play considering the state of the team and the lack of purpose in these final contests, but it is nice to finally see a glimpse of what he is supposed to be at the NHL level.
4. Claude Giroux rules
The captain. pic.twitter.com/hmxmKO5fr5— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 5, 2019
Much like the JVR goal, Claude Giroux’s goal from last night will go unnoticed because these last few games are pointless, but the captain’s tally was the 236th of his career. He has now passed Rod Brind’Amour’s goal total with the Flyers and sits 10th all-time in goal scoring for the franchise. The nine players in front of him are Bill Barber (420, the rare nice), Brian Propp (369), Tim Kerr (363), Bobby Clarke (358), John LeClair (333), Rick MacLeish (328), Reggie Leach (306), Eric Lindros (290), and Simon Gagne (264). Now think of those nine players and the Flyers’ teams they were on. Think of the teammates they got to work with, the general managers that those players had that were willing to swing for the fences each summer in free agency or through trades. Think of how many of those nine actually played alongside one another for several seasons. Remember that when you hear some fans or local media personalities try and say Giroux deserves some of the blame for this mess of a Flyers’ era.