RECAP: Flyers Return To House Of Johnny; Get Similar Results
The last time the Flyers came to the house of the Blue Jackets to play a hockey game, they got singlehandedly repelled by the brilliance of Johnny Gaudreau and were sent home packing after only having pieced together two goals.
The night certainly didn’t start much better than the first rendition of this matchup. But there were some moments of distinctly high highs followed by a new staggering level of depression. So, it was a normal night of Flyers hockey.
And really, a night of Philadelphia sports in general.
Getting Down Early:
The Flyers did a half-decent job of controlling the ice in the early going and getting more shots directed to the net. Unfortunately, that did not yield early results. For one thing, the Blue Jackets had the far superior quality of chances which more than compensated for the relative lack of quantity.
And for another–more simple thing–the Flyers put the puck in their own net.
Yes, that happened!
After the Flyers clumsily abdicated the ice while a Blue Jackets rush was unfolding, Justin Braun–one of the few remaining defenders–tipped a cross-ice pass into his own net. He turned into an extra attacker, which was not a very happy accident.
The Blue Jackets ultimately added to their lead on an ensuing Power-Play, where a perfect tic-tac-toe passing sequence ended with Boone Jenner tapping a puck in the net while sitting on the blue crease. It was a beautiful sequence led by rookie sensation Kent Johnson and–of course–Johnny Hockey.
Ultimately, all Boone Jenner had to do was exactly what Justin Braun did. Albeit for his own team.
Battling Back AGAIN:
Long live the Flyers’ stupid levels of resilience.
They come back from yet another 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 2, and they show an almost uncharacteristic amount of skill in doing so. The first goal came as a blast off of Kevin Hayes stick, but really, the play was made by Travis Konecny.
His play along the wall to first dig out a loose puck, then win control of the puck before firing a perfect pass to the slot was simply sublime hockey. A mixture of power, grit, and skill. I remain thoroughly impressed by TK to begin the season.
The good times kept coming when Noah Cates tapped home a cross-ice feed from Zack MacEwan to tie the game.
The good times were then quickly replaced with the bad, as the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 4-2 lead.
It all started from a rather ill-advised shot attempt by Travis Konecny. Boone Jenner blocked the shot, and the puck careened off of his body hard enough to create a subsequent breakaway. Jenner buried the shot after getting all alone with Hart, and it was a 3-2 game.
It was not a fun night to be Carter Hart, who–despite making some ridiculously good saves throughout–had to contend with frequent easy tap-ins by friend and foe alike and impossible breakaways.
The bad times, like the good before it, kept on rolling. This time, Eric Robinson pounds home a goal from the doorstep because the Flyers were seemingly allergic to protecting their crease at all, much less doing so with aplomb.
Battling Back YET AGAIN!
No, seriously, this level of resilience has entered the realm of comical.
After enduring a strange amount of Twitter venom despite being on the ice for 0 of the goals against to that point, Morgan Frost created a prolonged offensive zone sequence that ended with a knuckle-puck shot from Nick Seeler finding a way home.
It was truly hilarious for that play to come for Frost after the Twitter timeline descended into incoherent rage directed at him.
Remember Travis Konecny, who had an assist to begin the scoring but then also heavily accounted for giving up a breakaway goal? He put himself back in the black by slamming home his 7th goal of the season after corralling a loose puck from mid-air, settling it, and pounding it into the net.
It was one of those plays that looked a lot easier than it really is. The coordination is impressive.
You Did All of That… Just For THAT?!
All of that battling back counted for exactly one measly point in the standings. And why? Because the Blue Jackets won in Overtime. How did they win in Overtime? Oh, well they followed the same damn formula they’d been following all night.
A Hayes turnover–and an otherwise nonexistent backcheck from the other two Flyers skaters on the ice–led to a 3 on 1 against Hart. Which lead to an unstoppable tic-tac-toe play, and put the game away for Columbus.
I mean, that’s just embarassing.
Rapid Fire Takeaways:
If the Flyers can’t outperform the Blue Jackets who are severely and utterly injured in ways that are hard to numerate, I can’t name a single team in the NHL they should be favored against. Even the Coyotes, at this point, is pick ’em odds in my book.
Carter Hart looked MUCH better than his stats will show. Despite 5 goals against, they were all rather embarrassing defensive efforts. And plenty of the saves he did make were of an extremely high level of difficulty. But I don’t care how good the goalie is. You have to give them a chance, and the Flyers didn’t.
The Blue Jackets are a hilariously speedy team.
The Flyers’ resiliency, while funny, is going to be completely meaningless if they put together defensive efforts as sad as the one they put forth tonight.
Mandatory credit: Johnny Ulecka