Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers — having lost four games in a row and missing inarguably the two best NHL forwards and arguably the best three NHL defensemen on their roster, plus more — played the San Jose Sharks — who were without their top three centers as well as two of their top four defensemen — at the Wells Fargo Center, all while a football game was happening just down the street. The circumstances were not great. The performance reflected that.
The Flyers, within minutes in the third period, established and then blew a two-goal lead, and Tomas Hertl would get his third of the night in overtime to give the visitors a 3-2 win. The loss was the Flyers’ fifth straight, though they managed to get a point in overtime for those of us who care about such things.
Let’s talk about it.
- There really was not a whole lot that went on in the first period, in its entirety. Some decent chances for the Flyers in the second half of it, and the Sharks remained pretty quiet throughout, but still not a particularly impressive period for the Flyers. Can’t recall many other periods that had as many shots on goal as this one did (15-12 Flyers) in which so little actually happened. 0-0 at intermission.
- The visitors controlled the run of things in the early portion of the second period, giving Jones some testers that forced him into the game a bit. Nothing would beat him, though, and as the period moved on the Flyers started to pick it up a bit. They’d once again fail to crack the scoreboard, though, despite a power play effort, and the teams would once again hit the locker rooms at 0-0.
- Arguably of note: during the period, there was an Eagles fight song and chant occurrence in the building. I know that people generally seem to hate E-A-G-L-E-S chants at non-Eagles games, but what’s the verdict on them when they’re occurring at the same time as an Eagles game? I’ll allow it.
- Then the third period, and finally, action! After a great first couple of shifts by the Sharks, James van Riemsdyk makes a great play along the boards, streaks in along the right side, and ripped a shot past Adin Hill to get the Flyers on the board.
- After that ... there were more good shifts from the Sharks. The Sharks largely controlled the early part of this period, outside of that goal.
- Which, naturally, means the Flyers would take a 2-0 lead just a few minutes later. A point shot by Cam York on the power play was deflected by Farabee in the slot, and from there it’d bounce off of JVR, off of Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro, and into the net. Hey! This is going well!
- And ... then ... it was not going well. Those two goals were the Flyers’ only shots on goal for a lengthy chunk of the period, and Jones was forced to make some great saves against his old team.
- Until he couldn’t. First, Tomas Hertl got the Sharks on the board, crashing the net on a drive by Timo Meier and tapping his pass int othe net.
- A Sharks power play opportunity looked like a chance for the Sharks to the game, but the best chance on it came off the stick of a Joel Farabee breakaway. That breakaway, though, was denied by Hill. Farabee would then fall into the net. This does not count for a goal.
- It was not much longer until any good vibes from that penalty kill would end. Hertl would get another one with about five minutes left, getting position in close and knocking one past Jones to tie the game up.
- This was about the point in the third period at which the Flyers realized the game had not ended, and they’d start to actually generate some pressure on Hill, but they couldn’t cash in before regulation time ended.
- The Flyers would get the first chance of overtime ... and then moments later the Sharks would get the last one. A 2-on-1 with Hertl and Meier ended with Hertl ripping one past Jones for the hat trick and for the Sharks win.
- You feel a bit for Martin Jones, who tried his ass off against his old team and just got absolutely no help early on (when the Flyers couldn’t score goals) or late (when the Flyers could not do a single unit of defense). Some great saves by him, especially early in the second and third periods, and no one’s gonna complain about the goalie when he gives up three goals on 47 shots, but still ... that sucks.
- It remains the case, as it has been for a few games now (and, depending on your perspective, longer than that), that the most and possibly only reliable entertainment for Flyers fans — unironic, enjoyable entertainment — comes when Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee are on the ice. No brutal murdering of the stick by Farabee in the hallway this time, but he was all over the place, and meanwhile Atkinson set a season-high with eight shots on goal. Make a few clones of these guys, and then we’re talking.
- Some good and some bad with Cam York tonight. Overall he looked solid and like he belonged, and his shot was in a great place for JVR to deflect it on that second goal (for his first-ever NHL point!). But there’s certainly a bit of an adjustment period for him, and moments like him getting run over a bit on that first Sharks goal make that clear. Still, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get more run.
- I’m not gonna sit here and question effort or leadership or whatever, who knows, but lord, having a performance like the one this team had in the third period is not going to do much to allay concerns that they fold it up as soon as things start to go wrong.
That’s all. Five straight losses. Has a team ever had multiple ten-game losing streaks in a season? Asking for the Flyers. Anywho, Flyers-Hurricanes on Tuesday. See you then.