If you were hoping that they Flyers would have taken their days off to re-energize, try to put the past month behind them, and attempt to dispel some of the growing pressure on their veteran head coach heading into this back-to-back against two of the league’s mightiest teams, it did not take long for the Flyers to dash those hopes. The Flyers lost their eighth in a row this season and their tenth in a row to the Lightning.
Sometimes a game this bad on the scoreboard just needs to be forgotten, thrown out, a “burn-the-tape” game, if you will. But coming as the most recent loss of an eight-game losing streak, it doesn’t really feel like an outlier. This is just what happens when a team playing as poorly as the 2021-22 Philadelphia Flyers are playing do not get top-of-the-league goaltending.
So, we can’t really just push this one out of mind, but as onlookers, we’ve got nothing to do but wait and see what the Flyers, now 8-10-4, do with their roster, with their coaching staff, and with their approach on the ice. We’ll be right back here tomorrow against the Colorado Avalanche in what should be a less embarrassing outcome for Philadelphia, but it also might not be.
The Flyers seemed to be trying to take advantage of their rest advantage (three days off vs. the Lightning’s none) to start the game, keeping the puck on their sticks once they got it, rotating around the offensive zone and quickly jumping out to a 6-1 shot advantage in the first five-or-so minutes of the game. The Lightning struck first though, with a Ryan McDonagh goal eight minutes in quickly followed by a second strike from Corey Perry picking up a bank off the back boards and tucking it into Hart’s net.
Mac Truck coming through! pic.twitter.com/Kscdoexcqw— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 5, 2021
Scorey Perry: Activated. pic.twitter.com/XIOgBYgjXE— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 5, 2021
The Flyers basically went back to work after the minute-apart Tampa goals to no avail, finishing the period with a 14-9 edge in shots, 25-17 in CF, and 17-11 in FF, and a 2-0 deficit on the goal sheet.
The second period basically started with more of the same except this time Sean Couturier had a full cage on (he took a puck to the face at the conclusion of the first). Rookie Taylor Raddysh picked the blocker-side corner on Hart off the rush and a few minutes later rookie Boris Katchouk potted a slow motion rebound off a Victor Hedman shot.
Cleared for liftoff. pic.twitter.com/fWFVyIq7Et— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 6, 2021
The game’s first penalty came on a Zach Bogosian holding call on Travis Konecny behind Elliott’s net, but that just led to a failed clear from Carter Hart out of his net that ended up on Mathieu Joseph’s stick and in the back of the wide open net. Hart ceded his net to Martin Jones before the power play even ended.
The Flyers killed off a slashing penalty committed by Oskar Lindblom, and then Giroux and Atkinson turned a two-on-two rush into a power play when Jan Rutta hooked Atkinson reaching for a return pass and the Flyers killed that one off too. There was a moment there where someone somewhere (notably, none of the referees on the ice) thought Scott Laughton might’ve scored a goal, but it was ruled a high stick.
At the end of the period, the Flyers once again had a lead in 5-on-5 shots (8-7), CF (14-10), and FF (12-8) but a three-goal shortfall.
It kind of felt like the Lightning went into the third period like an NFL team that’s already clinched heading into Week 17. The bottom of the lineup guys were getting a lot of ice time and their rebuilt third line even put one home thanks to Pat Maroon.
A Travis Konecny collision with Brian Elliott brought about the only remaining excitement for the rest of the game — it prompted some retribution from Cal Foote and led to a scrum, some rare emotional fireworks from Travis Sanheim, a bunch of guys in both boxes, and a Cam Atkinson redirection goal on the power play.
There was another Lightning goal and oh who cares let’s just get this thing over with.
- Morgan Frost and Kevin Hayes are an interesting combo right now. In part it’s because they’re two new additions to the lineup who are still bringing a good amount of energy to the team when they’re on the ice. But they’re also both pretty heads-up creative passers, so seeing them work together on offense—despite a lack of results tonight—is pretty fun. Or, at least, it was fun the few times it was applicable.
- I do hate pointing to the extracurricular activities of hockey games as proof of much, but with as much has been made about the Flyers lack of willingness to make some noise for each other in between whistles, it was once again notable that the only scraps tonight came courtesy of the Lightning stepping to Konecny after Brian Elliott hit the ice.
- Despite it being totally understandable to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning, this 7-1 game did nothing to take any heat off of Alain Vigneault, and midway through it one of these names of his potential mid-season replacements got scratched off when news broke that the Vancouver Canucks will make Bruce Boudreau their bench boss.
- As someone watching from home, Shore Night seemed to consist of a few Springsteen songs in between whistles and some postcards projected onto the ice between periods. I mean, they could’ve mixed in some Southside Johnny or any of the assorted Brian Fallon projects or even some Count Basie, but, as a Jersey Shore native, I can’t complain with Bruce.
- Brian Elliott had exactly one shutout in the Wells Fargo Center in each of the four seasons he played for the Philadelphia Flyers. This being the only game he’ll play here this season means that the third-period power play goal from Cam Atkinson will keep him from reaching that quota for a fifth year in a row.
- The last time Martin Jones faced the Tampa Bay Lightning was also not a complete game played for him. On December 7, 2019 in Tampa, he allowed 4 goals on 21 shots and got the hook at the start of the third period. The Lightning beat the Sharks 7-1.
- This was the eighth game this season where the Flyers put more shots on net than their opponent. They are 3-5 in those games and have been outscored 24-17.
- The Flyers have now allowed 164 first career goals after Boris Katchouk’s rebound goal tonight. That’s the 17th most in the league since they entered in 1967. Despite all our jokes that they always allow first goals, they’re actually tops in that stat in the past 10 years, with only the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken allowing less in that time, obviously.
- Patrick Maroon now has 14 points in 17 games against the team that drafted him 161st overall in 2007, which, at .82 points per game, is a lot better than his career scoring against all other teams, which sits at .41 points per game.
- The Flyers haven’t beaten the Lightning in the regular season since December 29, 2017, a stretch of ten games. They did beat Tampa, though, in the round-robin games in the Covid bubble in August of last year in that brief moment of optimism, seemingly the very last moment of collective optimism in Flyerland.