Last night was a frustrating one for the Philadelphia Flyers. Another third period lead squandered, only this time, there was no solace to be found in an extra period. The Bruins battled back from a 3-1 deficit to snag the win and leave the Flyers left in a state of confusion. The important thing here is the bigger picture.
It’s not as if the game started anywhere near encouragingly. In what may now officially be the most disappointing 12 seconds of my life, Shayne Gostisbehere was beaten in a one-on-one and it looked like Provorov tried to deflect the puck out of harm’s way, unfortunately guiding it past Carter Hart in the process. All momentum was sucked out of the arena at that point and it could very easily have turned into a bloodbath. It didn’t.
Nic Aube-Kubel was among the Flyers who rose to the challenge, setting the tone by slamming his body into Bruins players throughout the night, leading the team in hits (5) and driving them to respond. Three consecutive goals were scored by the Flyers after conceding that opener and for a team who have struggled to create opportunities without being super high-percentage, this was beyond encouraging.
The Flyers still rank at the bottom of the pile in shots per game, but their 25 shots last night and 29 the game before mark a significant leap up from the 17 shots which were fired in 3 of the last 4 games beforehand.
Sure, the penalty kill, a previously spotless unit, may have given up a pair of goals in a gut-wrenching situation and a dodgy penalty was worth discussing, it was nice to see that even after suffering a gut-punch within the first minute of play, the Flyers fought back in a big way…especially in the second and third period
“I thought we played a good game.” Captain Claude Giroux told reporters. “The second and third we played well. They have a good power play. They were able to get a few goals to tie it up there. It’s obviously a little frustrating not getting that win, but I think we’ve played better than in games we’ve lost this year. We got to deal with this.”
Giroux has a point. Last night’s loss, while agonizing, isn’t one that should raise any legitimate concern. The PK unit can’t be expected to bail the team out night after night and it eventually caught up with them. However, while the PK unit struggled, the intensity was ramped up. The forecheck was aggressive, the hits were more thumping,
“It’s a tough loss.” AV explained. “We had a lead against a real good team and we permitted their power play to give them an opportunity to win the game, which they did. You got no time to feel sorry for yourself. You got to get right back at it. That’s what we’re going to do.”
The Bruins are no slouches. They’re now on a 6-0-1 run and have yet to concede a game to the Flyers this year. 10 of the 14 goals scored across those 3 games have come in the final period, which is something that absolutely needs to be circled in red before the teams clash again later this week. But overall, it’s not like the Flyers were out-hustled, outmatched, or out-coached.
An unlucky bounce from Provy’s stick in the first, a questionable penalty call on Kevin Hayes late in the game, and a PK unit that finally caved in after clearing 14 of 15 deficits during a 4 game winning streak, should not raise cause for concern.
The loss looks ugly on paper, but while the Bruins won the ‘bread’ of the game, it was the Flyers who made up the appetizing Sandwich filling, showing that they can indeed go toe-to-toe with the Bruins and outplay them over the course of an elongated stretch. All that’s missing is the cherry on the cake…and there’s a chance to earn it on Friday night.