Flyers

“It’s F—ing Brutal”: Flyers Drop Their 10th Straight

DAVID SWANSON | PHILLY.COM

All of the superstition in the world couldn’t help the Philadelphia Flyers stop a nine-game losing streak and defeat the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon.

It started early, like really early, with the Flyers opting for the Lauren Hart – Kate Smith duet of God Bless America in lieu of the national anthem. It was a beautiful duet, I love God Bless America, but is December 2nd in the midst of a nine-game skid the right time and place?

Wayne Simmonds even started a fight with an innocent Bruin to try to hype his team up. It was unsuccessful, and Simmer served five for fighting for nothing.

The Bruins scored their first goal after a bad Nolan Patrick turnover around center ice. This led to a breakaway chance for Ryan Spooner who netted his first goal of the season.

The Flyers were still playing tough, Ivan Provorov (who played a hell of a game, as always) tried to change the tone of the game with a huge hit on Brad Marchand at center ice. He was called for an illegal check to the head, which was a two-minute minor. Judge it for yourself:

It was a bit high, but Marchand’s head was low. I like the play, I love the tenacity from future captain Provorov. After the game, Marchand took responsibility for putting himself in a bad position.

“Yeah, sometimes that’s just the position and the way things kind of shape up. I kind of expose myself a bit. At times I’m normally pretty good at protecting myself and I just expose myself trying to jump around a guy and that’s going to happen when you open yourself up like that.”

The Bruins scored two more times in a ten-minute span, David Pastrnak and the Flyers killer Marchand were the culprits. The Flyers appeared to stop the bleeding at the end of the second on a beautiful shot by Claude Giroux on the power play, but it was called back due to goaltender interference.

You can see Simmonds graze Rask’s facemask, nullifying the goal.

True story: I met up with my friend from Boston after the game, he said it should have been a goal.

With that, the Flyers lost all signs of life, they were booed heavily going into the third period, and after that it didn’t take long for the “Fire Hakstol!” chants to rain down.

With that I move on to my two takeaways from the game:

I made it clear, I am firmly entrenched in keeping Dave Hakstol as the coach of the Flyers, but he is making it hard to defend. Travis Konecny was benched after two shifts in the third period because “that ice time is earned,” according to Hakstol, and Konecny was in the “bottom three” of a lineup that Hakstol switched around because of the matchup on Patrice Bergeron.

From my seat, it looked like Konecny played a hell of a game. He had one breakaway shot, that he fired right into Tuukka Rask’s leg pad, and was generating a lot of offense with his speed. I’ve noted before that his game is raw, but saying he didn’t earn third period ice time is a poor excuse. Especially when he had four shots on goal after two periods, leading the team.

Hakstol’s questionable coaching decisions are not helping his case. I’m not in the locker room, nor am I at practice, but I find it hard to believe that Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise should be playing this many minutes over some of the younger guys. I would rather see the Flyers lose with guys like Taylor Leier (a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game) and Konecny playing quality minutes than watch the Flyers lose with guys like Weise and Lehtera taking up space. Bottom line: Hakstol is skating on thin ice.

My other takeaway is that, for better or worse, the Flyers live and die by Shayne Gostisbehere. I’m big on Ghost, don’t twist my words. He’s really good at what he does at driving offense from the defensive side. He is the “point guard” of the power play, and he plays with his heart on his sleeve, which is getting him in trouble lately.

This time Ghost took a bad cross-checking penalty on a Flyers power play. He laid out Marchand with a nasty cross-check that he really didn’t need to do as Marchand was skating away.

This was Ghost at his worst; taking a poor penalty on a power play forcing four-on-four hockey for a minute followed by a Bruins power play. It ended up being harmless, but it was an inexcusable play from a veteran defenseman.

Ghost quickly redeemed himself by forcing play the puck into the offensive zone during a Bruins line change and drawing a penalty:

This is peak Ghost. This is the power play that led to the overturned Giroux goal. Ghost continues to prove himself as a valuable part of this team, he just needs to clean his game up and be more disciplined.

Gostisbehere also had the quote for my headline. He wasn’t happy after the game.

“Yeah, I mean, it sucks. There is not much to say. It’s f—ing brutal. Sorry for cursing, but it’s tough right now, I don’t know.”

This stretch of games has been painful, I’d be a lying if I said anything else. The Flyers will look to snap the losing streak on Monday in Calgary. Here’s hoping they come out on fire; pun intended.

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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