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Flyers 2, Canucks 1: Justin Bailey’s nightmare

The Flyers played a pretty decent game tonight.

Philadelphia Flyers v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

After a gritty win against the Edmonton Oilers, the Philadelphia Flyers faced a familiar foe for the second game of their road trip. The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Orange & Black in their first meeting of the year; how’d things go in the rematch? Read on for more.

What went right?

The Flyers dominated the first period and half of the second period, wholly outclassing a Vancouver team that looked every bit of its thirty-second rank in xGA/60 at 5-on-5. It helped that Sean Couturier set the tone just 23 seconds into the game with a goal. Not too shabby.

The power play had some great looks off of set plays all game, including what produced the eventual game-winning tally off the stick of James van Riemsdyk Jimbo van Rimbo for his first goal of the year. This is NSFW.

After going up 2-1 on the ‘Nucks, the Flyers relied mostly on Martin Jones and decent defense as time wore on. Normally that’d be a disastrous stratagem, but Jones actually looked quite confident and solid between the pipes on the evening, only allowing one kinda-fluky goal and coming up with some big saves.

Philly did push back in the third period on offense somewhat, too. Another game on the road trip where despite the odds, the Flyers outplayed their opposition at even strength and found a way to win via special teams and... goaltending? That last part feels odd to say out loud.

What went wrong?

Team discipline was again a problem, with six penalties going against Philadelphia. This was admittedly a tightly (and questionably) officiated game, with twelve infractions total between the two sides, but the trend of high PIM totals through the first five games of the year remains active. Seeing the final score, too, one might recognize that outside of the first power play for the Orange & Black on the evening, they didn’t look do hot on the man advantage.

The Flyers slowed down to a halt after Zack McEwen and Luke Schenn exchanged pleasantries via their fists, with the Canucks taking control in the 10 minutes that followed. Luckily, this didn’t result in a Vancouver goal. Inconsistency and potential letdowns like these are something for Alain Vigneault to keep trying to hammer out of this locker room in practice, if we’re being really nitpicky.

The defense wasn’t stellar tonight per se, either. A lot of gaffes were covered up by Martin Jones’s stellar play (top five things I didn’t think I’d be saying this early in the season), but again, considering the circumstances, nothing was too egregious. Could this team stand to be better close to the net and take fewer dumb crosschecking penalties? Yes, but, it wasn’t an absolute killer this time out.

Oh yeah, the Canucks scored, too. That wasn’t awesome.

Three Big Things

  1. The Flyers have found four out of a possible six points in games without Ryan Ellis. That’s commendable work by the depth on this team. Giroux and the usual suspects have all stepped up, but silently excellent play from guys like Oskar Lindblom and even Joel Farabee has been the difference between wins and losses.
  2. It’s too early to make hard calls on Martin Jones, but as I said coming into the year, he’s capable of having a few great games in a season. He managed some of these show-stoppers last year with the Sharks, too (I had the misfortune of watching a lot of Sharks hockey, as my roommate is a fan), but the oh-God-everything-is-on-fire games vastly outnumbered the good ones. If the Flyers can keep successfully counting cards and hitting on their hands with Jones, he’ll be a good backup goalie for them; tonight showed what he’s still capable of, and why this front office believes in him.
  3. The set plays are hot, Mr. Therrien. Keep cooking up devious stuff and having your players execute it to perfection. Thanks.

Post Game Tunes

Bob Seger has a certain swagger behind his songs that befits a win.

Good night, good hockey, and as always, go Flyers.