After a tough battle with Columbus, the Flyers fell just short of a comeback as they were defeated by a final score of 4-3. But when it comes down to the evaluation of the Flyers, you could say they played sloppy. The little things in hockey matter and the Flyers didn’t want anything to do with them. They were sloppy in there own zone and were way to passive instead of just getting shots to the net. Here are my five observations from this afternoons battle between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers.
- The Bread Man:
Artemi Panarin had himself quite a day. He was all over the ice and the Flyers never found a way to contain him. He finished the afternoon with a goal and two assists. With less than a minute left in the second, the Blue Jackets decided to go with a shoot first mentality pretty much right off the faceoff. Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois won a faceoff late in the 2nd in the offensive zone and got it right back to Panarin who ripped it past Carter Hart to give the Blue Jackets a 4-2 lead. That would be the eventual game winner for Columbus who has now won three straight games.
2. Turnovers Kill
Man oh man do the Flyers need to work on there passing game. Its been the story of the season for the Orange and Black. Well, that and the goaltending carousel. The Flyers had a total of nine giveaways this afternoon and boy did it hurt them. With a little under five minutes left in the 1st period, Ivan Provorov made a big mistake when he turned the puck over to RW Cam Atkinson. Atkinson made the pass to Panarin who passed it off to Dubois and then to the eventual goal scorer Zach Werenski for a Columbus goal that made it 1-0. Provorov ended the game with two giveaways. Both Scott Laughton and Jake Voracek also had two giveaways. In the end it comes down to sloppy play with the puck. Something needs to change or were in for a long season.
3. A Mixed Bag Of Results for Couturier:
It was an odd one for #14 this afternoon. He was neither spectacular nor terrible, hence the heading that reads a mixed bag of results. With the first period winding down, the Flyers powerplay was looking as if it would be a lost cause. Shortly there after though, Claude Giroux won a faceoff and passed it right back to Couturier whose initial shot was blocked. Couturier wouldn’t be denied though as he went to his backhand on the follow up and snuck one past Bobrovsky to tie the game at 1-1 with 22.3 seconds remaining. That would be about the only good thing that would come from Coots today though as he went downhill after that. Early in the 3rd, Couturier decided to pass the puck instead of putting it on net. If he shoots the puck, there’s a chance it goes into the back of the net. Instead he passed it and it resulted in a missed opportunity. Couturier also had a rough day defensively as he finished with a +/- of -3.
4. A Confident JVR:
James Van Riemsdyk finally looks like he’s getting back into the swing of things. He’s also getting some puck luck which every player needs once in awhile. A little over thirteen minutes into the second period, van Riemsdyk gathered the puck and fired a shot at Bobrovsky who gave up a big rebound. Flyers center Phil Varone was right on the spot as he shot it into the yawning cage to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Late in the 3rd period with the Flyers scrambling down 4-2, JVR found a loose puck in front of the net and pounded it home to give the Flyers hope. He finished with a goal and an assist this afternoon and was +2. Through ten games in the month of December, van Riemsdyk has scored four goals and tallied three assists adding up to a grand total of seven points. Now this is more like the old JVR.
5. Playing from Behind:
The stats tell you everything. When the Flyers don’t score the first goal, things just don’t go there way. Heading into this afternoons game, the Flyers owned a dreadful record of 6-13-1 when the opposing team gets on the board first. Columbus did just that when they went up 1-0 late in first period. When tied after the first period, the Flyers were 3-4-1. Columbus was up 4-2 after two periods of play and if you were one of those people who knew this statistic, you probably took a deep breath just like I did. When trailing after two periods, the Flyers owned a record of 1-13-2. That thirteen changed to a fourteen after todays loss. Playing from behind is clearly not one of their strengths.
Next up for the Flyers is a showdown with a Metro foe in the New York Rangers. That will take place tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden as the Flyers look to get back on the winning side of things. Puck drop is at 7PM. As always, Lets Go Flyers!