Dictionary.com defines the word “Bad” as: “Not good in any manner or degree.”
Sometimes you don’t need a big word to describe an event. The Flyers’ first game against the Penguins this postseason was the textbook definition of bad.
There really wasn’t much to write home about in this game. The Flyers never really got anything going offensively, struggled defensively, and had mediocre goaltending at best. The Penguins scored three goals in the first period, two goals in the second, and two again in the third. Sidney Crosby had a hat trick, Malkin torched the Flyers on a breakaway fresh out of the penalty box, and Jake Guentzel led the Penguins in scoring with four points. I could go on all day about what else went wrong on Wednesday night, but instead I’ll summarize it in the following fashion: the good, the bad, the ugly.
The Good: This was only game one
Lucky for the Flyers, nothing from Wednesday night’s game carries over into game two. Sure, the Penguins absolutely dominated the Orange and Black in every aspect of the game, but that means nothing in Game 2.
There is only one way to go from here: up. The Flyers are a talented team. They just need to take a deep breath, regroup, learn from their mistakes, and come out like men on fire on Friday night. Simple as that. If the Flyers do that and take a 1-1 series back to Philly they will put some pressure on the reigning champs. If that happens it will be a whole new series. Mark my words.
The Bad: Goaltending
Brian Elliott did himself no favors on Wednesday night when he allowed five goals on nineteen shots. He looked a little rusty and found himself out of position a lot.
Petr Mrazek spelled Elliott after the fifth goal was scored. He allowed two goals on fourteen shots. He didn’t look bad, but didn’t look good either.
No matter how you cut it: allowing seven goals is bad. Call it poor defense in front of the goalie, call it what you will. Sometimes goaltenders need to make timely saves to keep their teams in games and Brian Elliott didn’t do that Wednesday.
That reminds me – tweet of the night goes to Calgary Flames’ SB Nation site Matchsticks and Gasoline:
…we probably should’ve warned the Flyers about playoff Brian Elliott
— Matchsticks&Gasoline (@MatchsticksCGY) April 11, 2018
I’m holding out hope that Elliott can improve. He played well when the Blues went on that deep playoff run back in 2015-2016, but recently he’s been a liability.
Elliott should get the start on Friday night. I’d expect him to have a relatively short leash, though.
The Ugly: The Flyers came out flat
I mean this in any and all possible ways.
The Orange and Black never got anything going on offense. They looked weak in all three zones, and aside from a few big hits scattered over 60 minutes, played a lifeless brand of hockey.
The Flyers’ special teams was the most flat I’ve ever seen. The power play went 0-4 and looked pathetic. The penalty kill wasn’t much better.
The Flyers’ calling card in the 2012 series against the Penguins was physicality and getting under their skin. This team hardly reflects that. It might stem from the bench leadership (on his quietest day, Peter Laviolette is more animated than Dave Hakstol). I’m not saying I want the team to just throw their bodies around, but they need to show more signs of life if they expect to make some noise in the rest of the postseason.
In the next game, I expect the on-ice leadership to take the game into their own hands a little more. I can tell Claude Giroux is disappointed in his performance. He wants better for this team and I think he will do everything in his power to bring an even series back to Philadelphia. I fully expect Game 2 to be a better game for the Orange and Black. Game 2 is Friday night at 7:00 P.M.