Devils 4, Flyers 1: There’s still time (for things to get worse)

The Flyers aren’t good at much this season, but they’re great slumpbusters.

The Flyers lost again tonight. I’m not gonna do the usual thing I do with recaps where I actually went through the game and talked about what happened as it happened, because a game like this at this point in a thoroughly lost season does not deserve that much attention.

Instead, tonight we present the recap as a list. Here are the Top 7 Most 2021 Philadelphia Flyers Moments Of Tonight’s Game. We chose seven because the Flyers surrendered seven points in the past four games to a team that collected zero standings points in their previous nine games.

The Top Seven (One For Each Point The Devils Got Against The Flyers This Week) Most 2021 Philadelphia Flyers Things About Tonight’s Game

7. The entire stretch of play between the Devils’ first goal (we’ll get to that, I promise) and the end of the second period. The Flyers actually buckled down defensively in the first period after giving up that first goal, going nearly 14 minutes between shots on goal allowed by the Devils. And even in the second period, there were some decent things happening in terms of shot and chance suppression; outside of the Devils’ goal that doubled their lead, they really didn’t get much going. The visitors only had 14 shots on net through two periods, compared to the Flyers’ 22, and the Flyers led in Expected Goals as well, pretty substantially so in fact.

Yet ... I don’t know. At no point did it feel like the Flyers were playing particularly well. Maybe it was because shots weren’t getting through — the Devils, to their credit, blocked a ton of shots tonight. Maybe it was because their chances, outside of one flurry of chances in the first and another late in the second, just weren’t dangerous. Maybe it’s because we’re just not capable of feeling anything. This just felt like a slow march towards the exit for 55 minutes after the Devils’ first goal, and that’s just how far too many games have gone since March began.

6. This “goal” that the Flyers got, on which a centering attempt by Scott Laughton was knocked towards the net by New Jersey’s Yegor Sharangovich, seemingly over the line, and immediately blown dead as a goal by the official standing about three feet away from the net. It took about four seconds of watching the overhead camera to be able to tell that the puck did not cross the goal line and would not be a goal.

Moments of good-ness in this season are fleeting and also not real.

5. In the second period, with the Flyers on the power play, Ivan Provorov took a big wind-up, swung towards the net ... and missed the puck and fell down.

I’m not trying to pick on the guy, but boy, if Ivan Provorov putting everything he had into a shot attempt and fallng to the ice without making contact isn’t all of us watching this team every night for the last two months, I don’t know.

4. The Flyers, down 4-0 with just over a minute to go, scored to ruin the other team’s shutout, in a game where they probably just deserved to be staring at a goose egg on the scoreboard.

It’s not your fault, Joel. I’m happy for you, I really am. I just ... I hate that I’m getting annoyed about goals. This season has poisoned me.

3. That first goal that the Flyers gave up, the one that sent us on the death march that we’ve described over the past few hundred words, was an unscreened shot from the top of the circle by Jesper Bratt that bounced off of Brian Elliott’s mask and into the net.

I have ... I have so many thoughts. For one, it serves as a reminder that for all of the blame that needs to be doled out for this season, there is only so much you can do when every goalie you put out there just does this as often as the Flyers’ goalies have this year.

And on top of that ... why is Brian Elliott still playing this much? I know, I know — Carter Hart isn’t going to play again this season. And I am also very well aware that the results don’t actually matter any more. But why play the guy who not only doesn’t figure to be in the team’s plans beyond this year, not only isn’t playing well in general right now, but also that has already played twice this week when we know he doesn’t play well when he’s leaned on this much? Just play Alex Lyon. Or Felix Sandstrom, who I don’t really think is anything but at this point truly who cares. This just feels like overkill on the poor guy, not to mention it’s not like his play really deserves a reward of more starts.

2. Another thing about that goal there. Look, I really never cared about “team X scoring/allowing the first goal” statistics. Scoring the first goal is nice, it really is, but it also ... doesn’t matter that much. It does matter, but not really any more or less than any other goal scored in a hockey game. As it turns out, scoring goals makes you more likely to win games. (Oh wow!) So I never worried about it that much. The Flyers’ current streak of giving up the first goal in a game (which extended to 10 with tonight’s game) sucks, and the team has to try and figure out why that’s happening, but that in and of itself only means so much to me.

That all said ... it is wild that these New Jersey Devils went eight straight games having given up the first goal and then went into this series and scored the first goal all four games. The Flyers were absolutely the cure for what ailed this garbage team, because right now the Flyers basically are a garbage team of their own.

1. The most 2021 Philadelphia Flyers thing about this game is that we just had to watch them get treated like a punching bag by the team that, coming into this series, was the second-worst team in the NHL by record, and yet there are still five games left on the season for this team to find a new rock bottom.

There’s Still Time For Things To Get Worse. Sounds like a hell of a title for the video yearbook.

Back-to-back with the Pens starts on Monday. Go Flyers.