They did it.
By God, they did it.
The Philadelphia Flyers managed to upstage the return of long-time Flyer Jakub Voracek by losing their tenth game in a row, for the second time already this season, with a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were unable to solve Elvis Merzlikins until the game was close to winding down, and some more truly terrible efforts on the power play and just enough leaky defensive zone moments did them in.
If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can re-live this one with me as I watched it.
The Game Started:
- The Flyers get a power play almost right out of the gate as Ivan Provorov draws a trip. Try to contain your excitement at the thought of watching another Flyers power play.
- Is it over? Oh, thank God.
- We’ve reached the first commercial break, and Jakub Voracek gets a video tribute and a round of cheers for the fans. And they set it to Springsteen for him. This dork.
- Boy oh boy is there nothing at all going on in the early part of this game. Columbus probably getting the better part of the action but not to a degree that they should be bragging about.
- Facepunching! Between Justin Braun(?!?!?) and Max Domi (that checks out!) And the Flyers get an extra power play out of it.
- The fans boo following the ref’s announcement of the above penalties. I like to think this is because they realize they have to watch the Flyers’ power play for two minutes (it will not be less than two minutes).
- It’s so bad.
- As JJ helpfully points out, the teams are equal in shots on goal at six (6), despite the Flyers having had two power plays. Seems suboptimal!
- Really nice shift there for Claude Giroux, maneuvering around several Blue Jackets in the neutral zone and setting up Farabee for a chance in the slot, then coming back in about 20 seconds later for a shot on goal of his own.
- “I don’t think either side of [the Atkinson for Voracek trade] is complaining.” Well, not because of this, JJ.
- Another great shift there spearheaded by Giroux. He is on tonight. Probably wants to show Jake how much better off he is, right?
- Flyers picked it up a bit in the period’s final minutes, but we head to the locker room scoreless. Shots 11-9 Columbus. A bit of action here and there, but all in all a period you would expect between two teams that are, well, whatever these two teams are right now.
Now It Is The Second Period:
- Second period has started and both teams get an early chance or two aaaaaaaaaand Columbus has one in the net. Shot from Werenski in the high slot goes off of Lindblom’s stick and into the net. 1-0.
- HANG ON A DAMN MINUTE this is going to get overturned. Some dude on the Blue Jackets (there is no way for me to possibly know the name of every player on the Columbus Blue Jackets, I’m sorry) runs into Hart in the crease completely uninitiated and Yeo challenges it and I did not even have time to finish typing this before it gets overturned. Back to 0-0 we go!
- Oooooh, now we’ll get a look at the OTHER side of this battle of laughably ineffective special teams units, as Braun is called for hooking.
- The Flyers, with slight resistance, kill off the penalty, and Provorov gets a nice feed from Konecny in the neutral zone to streak in for a chance all alone. Merzlikins is there to shut him down, as he’s been for the whole game so far.
- How is Boone Jenner around? I swear to god I have been hearing about Boone Jenner being a pain in the ass for the Columbus Blue Jackets since before I knew who the Philadelphia Flyers were. Anyways, he sets up Gustav Nyquist for a nice chance.
- About halfway through this game. Still weird to hear “Voracek” and have to immediately think “oh right other team”.
- And right on cue, our old friend gets tripped by Zack MacEwen in the Flyers’ zone. Blue Jackets get their second power play of the period.
- It does not lead to a goal.
- Buuuuuuuuut that did. Columbus puts it into the net and this one’s gonna count. Laughton can’t handle a pass from Provorov from just inside the Flyers’ blue line and the aforementioned Boone Jenner knocks it over to Oliver Bjorkstrand, who dekes in front and beats Hart. 1-0 just past the halfway mark.
- A couple of good saves by Merzlikins since the Blue Jackets got on the board. He’s been very good so far tonight — and while yes, the Flyers tend to make every goalie look good, he’s definitely had to make some tough ones.
- Is that a SECOND Sum 41 song played by the arena DJ tonight? Flyers can’t waste a gift like this.
- Sheesh, nice drag by MacEwen in close to get another chance that Merzlikins denies, and then the rebound chance by Bunnaman doesn’t go either. Flyers have had a good run of play since the Columbus goal.
- Pugilism! Bit of a scuffle in front of the Blue Jackets’ net, which is shortly followed by a big hit on Oskar Lindblom by “Gavin Bayreuther” (sounds fake), and an extra shove on a prone Lindblom at the end of the play gets him some fists from Scott Laughton. That’s quickly broken up by the refs, and some penalties are being called ...
- Wow. Bayreuther gets an extra two, presumably for the extra check on Lindblom, on top of the two he and Laughton both get for roughing. Not what I expected!
- Oh, crap, that means the Flyers are on the power play.
- Second period ends without a goal (naturally) and about 30 seconds left on the power play for the Flyers to carry into the third. Wasn’t all bad for the good guys (well, “good” is subjective, I suppose), but they’re trailing going into the third.
Wow, It’s The Third Period
- The third period begins, and the Flyers get a rush chance as the power play expires. Merzlikins is there for the rebound chance by Giroux following the initial shot by Atkinson.
- The Flyers have caught up to the Blue Jackets in shots, as both teams have 26 early in the third. A decent effort from them to pull themselves back into the flow of the game after giving up that goal, but nothing to show for it.
- Columbus, clearly on to the secret at this point, puts the Flyers back on the power play, as Patrik Laine slashes down on Farabee as he tries to control a puck out of the air. Honestly, kind of funny sequence to watch.
- It took four power plays, but the fans are finally booing. Just in time to watch the Flyers ice the puck on it. This is pretty embarrassing.
- There’s another one. Not a good one. Multiple Flyers lose a puck battle along the boards, and it’s Laine who ends up with just a bit too much time and space, and when he gets that he’s usually going to put the puck in a bad place. (That being the Flyers’ net.) 2-0. You can see the 10th loss out there.
- And it’s looking a little closer now, as Cam York immediately gets called for a trip behind the Flyers’ net and Columbus heads to the power play after the commercial break.
- Very courteous of the Blue Jackets to go full Spiderman Pointing At Spiderman Meme with the Flyers when it comes to the power play.
- Flyers get a long shift with a few decent chances in front by JVR, Frost, and others, but it’s finally halted as Merzlikins grabs and holds a shot by Giroux.
- Halfway through the third. Morale is low.
- GERALD??????? HELLO????
- Shot from DISTANCE by Mayhew makes its way through some traffic and it hits the high corner past Merzlikins. Flyers are on the board with about seven to go.
- Flyers have outshot the Jackets 9-3 here in the third. They’re trying. Damnit, they’re trying.
- Decent whack at the net there for Laughton that Merzlikins grabs as we hit the last commercial break before regulation ends.
- Mishandled puck by Provorov at the blue line almost gives Nyquist a chance at a breakaway but the Flyers actually backcheck to snuff it out and turn it into a fairly harmless shot. How about that!
- Hart is off with just over two minutes to go.
- Some underwhelming puck movement here as we creep under a minute to go ... and Bjorkstrand ices it with 36 seconds to go. Timeout by the Flyers.
- Sigh. No more fitting way to watch this game end than Claude Giroux diving to prevent an empty net goal in his own zone with three seconds left. 2-1 is your final and the Flyers have lost ten consecutive games for the first time in (/gets out abacus and counts) 43 days. Pretty tough to do.
- I was going to put a section at the bottom with some stray thoughts, and I could come up with some if I really needed to, but, I mean ... what do you even say? This sucks. It just sucks. We’re here watching a team that is a) clearly not good and yet is b) clearly still trying and yet also c) cannot catch a break. It’s brutal, and somehow we’re only halfway through the season on Saturday.
Right. Saturday. The Flyers play again Saturday. Against the Buffalo Sabres. See you then.