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Ducks 4, Flyers 1: Fake game, didn’t happen

The entire thing was one long bad dream.

Philadelphia Flyers v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

Continuing their West Coast road trip, the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Anaheim Ducks in the Honda Center tonight. What happened, who stood out, and how can we expect the team’s fortunes to change in the future? All of this and more below.

What went right?

The Flyers kept the game close and limited shots on goal, Cam Atkinson scored, and Cam York looked active and effective in his season debut. Outside of that, the overall process and results in this game were ... fine. The Flyers won the overall possession and chance battle but were thwarted by goaltending. Still, it’s difficult to say that they performed particularly well, given the final score and the lack of general action in this game.

The lone goal of the night was scored on a fantastic Cam Atkinson drive-by deflection after a solid pass by Farabee. Neat.

This was a sleepy, sleepy game and it’s hard to come away with many positives. Sometimes you can’t say anything good without feeling facetious.

What went wrong?

A few exceptionally awful defensive plays early on in the game sealed the Flyers’ fate. Kicking things off, Ducks leading scorer Troy Terry put one past Carter Hart that hit the middle pipe, leading to the goal getting missed initially and not resulting in a stoppage of play. It was later appropriately credited.

Terry burned Philadelphia a second time thanks to his skill with the puck, but more importantly because Travis Sanheim kindly stepped out of his way before gingerly attempting a stationary poke check. This is the type of shit that makes me question my sanity when I say that he’s a quality second pair defenseman.

Sonny Milano caught a backdoor pass to make it a 3-1 game, and from there not much else happened for the entire third period. Terry found the back of the net for his first career hat-trick, the Flyers got a few looks too little, too late, and another demoralizing loss was cemented. Not much else to say.

Three Big Things

  1. This was one of the most boring games of hockey I’ve watched in a long, long time, and that’s saying something considering I have willingly consumed Barry Trotz’s style of play for a number of years. Nothing happened outside of the occasional breakaway or goal. The lone sliver of offensive spark for Philly was when JVR went in alone on John Gibson, but he was predictably stopped. With all of the COVID absences and traveling, tonight was more akin to a scrimmage than a game from a viewer’s perspective. Not ideal.
  2. Cam York looked fine in his minutes, making some key blocks and generally acting as an efficient fulcrum in transition and the offensive zone. He was unspectacular, but fundamentally sound, which in truth is a refreshing departure from the absolute mess of in-zone mistakes and horrifying on-puck play that the rest of the defense has produced. Keep him in the lineup, please.
  3. Rasmus Ristolaninen has been cromulent, Cam Atkinson is on pace to score over 30 goals, and Martin Jones is one of the NHL’s better backup goalies. The Flyers still stink. What little hope remains is dwindling. The Disney On Ice trip rarely goes well, but this team is running out of chances to reclaim what’s already close to being a lost season.

Post Game Tunes

Imagining Claude Giroux sadly listening to this game on the radio (because he couldn’t figure out how to stream it) with this song playing in his head.

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

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