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Lausanne HC 4, Flyers 3: Not a typo

Just a reminder: this team isn’t in the NHL.

2019 NHL Global Series Challenge Switzerland - Philadelphia Flyers v Lausanne HC Photo by Robert Hradil/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite a late-game surge the Philadelphia Flyers dropped their first game ever outside of North America to Lausanne HC by a score of 4-3 today. Carter Hart was pulled after he allowed four goals on limited shots against while the trio of Claude Giroux, Connor Bunnaman, and Sean Couturier lit the lamp for Philly.

It really doesn’t matter what laundry list of excuses you can put together, today was a pretty poor showing from the Flyers. The team definitely had some obstacles going into today’s tilt (different continent, adjusting to a new time zone, bigger ice, not valuing the game as much as the opponent), but whatever you want to say doesn’t cut it as a team in Switzerland’s top-tier league looked pretty damn good against the Orange and Black. The team failed to produce high-danger chances or produce any consistent pressure in Lausanne’s zone until it was a three-goal game with under ten minutes to play in the final stanza. The home team didn’t necessarily live in the slot or crease in the offensive zone either, but they did manage to get shots from the point on (and in) the net.

The home club converted on their first real chance of the exhibition, as Yannick Herren scooped up his own rebound after his original shot caught Hart up high to cause a rebound that he managed to pounce on before Hart or Shayne Gostisbehere were able to clear from danger. It wasn’t Ghost’s best play, as he stood in Hart’s line of vision for the puck and failed to block the shot or clear the rebound caused by the first attempt. A few minutes later Kevin Hayes was caught slashing a Lausanne skater behind the hosts’ net, which led to a nice passing sequence on the power play to extend the Flyers’ deficit to two. Philly found themselves in a three-goal hole at the end of the first frame as an additional point shot found its way past Hart.

In the second period, Joel Vermin extended Lausanne’s lead to four thanks to another special teams’ goal. With Farabee in the sin bin, Vermin worked his way into a soft spot between three Philly penalty killers to set himself up for a one-timer and power-play goal we’ve seen a few times before. Before things truly got completely out of hand, Giroux managed to put in a rebound on a rush chance to make it a three-goal game. Flyers’ fans couldn’t even enjoy that play because Travis Konecny took a spill and slammed into the boards seconds before the tally.

Philly revved up the pressure as time started slipping away in the third period, but goals from Bunnaman and Couturier weren’t enough to force overtime.

Three stars

1. Claude Giroux

In a game where the Flyers failed to really pressure a non-NHL club, Giroux had a goal and came pretty close to scoring another. To go along with his tally in the middle frame, the captain drew a penalty shot after he was able to sneak behind the defense to receive a multi-line pass to spring him for a breakaway. Giroux proceeded to lose control of the puck near the top of Tobias Stephan’s crease before the disc glided into the former Dallas Stars’ prospect’s leg pads. An inability to beat an NLA goalie twice on a pair of golden opportunities may have been a negative for this team in another game, but considering the team’s unwillingness to drive to the net or look for chances in the slot today Giroux provided some of the best chances.

2. Brian Elliott

Carter Hart managed to allow four goals against on less than ten shots from Lausanne. With the team down by a considerable margin Elliott stepped in and made a handful of crucial saves to keep the Orange and Black within at least striking range of a comeback. One would think a four-goal deficit in this situation would have been enough of a wakeup call for the the Flyers, but Elliott needed to deny a few golden opportunities from Lausanne to keep it a 5-0 or 5-1 game.

3. Connor Bunnaman

With a roster spot seemingly locked up, Bunnaman proved why he’s on the team today as he found the back of the cage in the loss. A good d-to-d pass from Matt Niskanen set up Travis Sanheim along the left boards in the offensive zone, who managed to get the puck to the net for a Bunnaman rebound. While falling over Bunnaman managed to backhand a shot past Stephan to make it a two-goal game early in the third period. Alain Vigneault started mixing up lines to open the third period, which gave Bunnaman a chance to work with different linemates and see different opponents after the whole fourth line had a quiet opening two periods. The Flyers need a better fourth line than they offered last season, and a young player like Bunnaman contributing and driving play on the bottom line could be an unexpectedly big boost to the club.

Two big questions

1. Will Phil Myers do enough to ensure himself a roster spot?
Nope. He wasn’t able to stand out in a positive light and almost every single one of his shot points failed to make its way to the net or create a second chance. Myers had a few notable gaffes against the Boston Bruins last Monday and failed to erase that performance from our minds in today’s loss.

2. Will Morin and Hagg do enough to push Myers out?
Again nope. Myers failed to make a statement, but Morin and Hagg didn’t either. Hagg had a chance in the second period, as he was in the crease with Stephan out of the blue paint as Joel Farabee circled the net and was looking to center a pass, but the puck never made its way to the crease. Outside of that neither play stood out in any of the three zones or phases of the game. The futures of Myers, Morin, and Hagg probably weren’t altered that much following today’s embarrassment in Switzerland.

Play of the game

Bunnaman provided an entertaining goal in an otherwise painful defeat.