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New GM, Same Exact Philadelphia Flyers

Columbus Blue Jackets v Philadelphia Flyers

Final Score: Flyers 3, Blue Jackets 4 (OT) | 11-12-3


Did the Flyers battle back from being down 3-1 to at least force last night’s game into overtime and take a point away from that game? Yes they did. But did they take 5 penalties in the process? Did they get out-shoot 25-11 through the first 2 periods? Did they look horribly sloppy trying to break out of their own zone all night resulting in a bunch of unforced turnovers? Did they waste 3 perfectly good powerplay chances because they could never really seem to get set up? Yes and yes and yes to all of the above.

What we saw last night was the same exact Flyers team we’ve seen for the majority of the season–a team that clearly has talent but just constantly makes life way more difficult on themselves than it needs to be, which ultimately results in giving the game away. In the days/week after Ron Hextall was fired, we saw some stories out there saying that it was Hextall’s micromanaging that was the root of so many issues with this team. That Hextall never let Hakstol coach the way he wanted to coach. That Hextall had spies on the coaching staff and the defensemen resented Gord Murphy for it. All these things about how Hextall had too tight of a grip on this team and was suffocating them.

Well the grip was let go and the Flyers should have had some fresh air to breath in last night. Their first game with Chuck Fletcher officially named the new GM in town. You’d think they would want to put on a decent performance for the new boss, but they just never seemed to really get themselves going at all until Travis Sanheim decided to flip the switch on his season late in the 3rd period. Even after Captain Claude opened up the scoring with this vicious snipe…

…Columbus scored just over a minute later to cancel out any sort of energy or momentum the Flyers would have gained after that Giroux goal.

Which has been another chronic issue for this Flyers team so far this season. I don’t know if anybody keeps track of this or not but this team has to lead the league in amount of goals given up under 90 seconds after a previous goal was just scored. For some reason, this Flyers team suuuuucks at responding after a goal is scored. They always seem to lose that next shift or two once a puck ends up in the back of the net and I need at least two hands now to count the amount of times they have given up a goal immediately after scoring one of their own. Some of that is tough luck. Some of that is coincidence. But I think a lot of that is mental. And it’s been a major mental flaw on this team all season in a season filled with mental flaws.

Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all bad. There were definitely some bright moments in that game last night, like Travis Sanheim finally scoring his 1st goal of the season and then immediately following that up with another goal to tie the game up and send it to overtime.

Real slick finish on the first one and then a beauty of a snipe on the 2nd. Hopefully last night will be the type of confidence boosting game Travis Sanheim really needed to start to breakout here. And with those 2 goals last night, he now has just as many tucks on the season as Erik Karlsson. Not that that’s a big deal or anything like that. And outside of that weak 1st goal of the game, I thought Stolarz made a lot of big saves last night to keep the Flyers in a position to be able to get that game to overtime.

But in the end, the game was still lost because of too many unnecessary mistakes. Like the 5 penalties, for instance. Hockey games are only 60 minutes long. Playing 10 of those minutes down a man just doesn’t seem to be like a great recipe for success. Even if the Flyers ended up killing all 5 of those penalties (credit to the PK unit there), that is still 10 minutes that the team doesn’t generate a ton of offense. That is still 10 minutes where lines have to be jumbled around. That is still 10 minutes where Columbus gets to push the pace a little and get their skill guys the touches they need. And if it’s not the penalties, then it’s the unforced turnovers. And no turnover was worse than this one in overtime that eventually led to Seth Jones turning the lights out at the Wells Fargo Center.

Now first off–this is why the Flyers should NEVER start an overtime without 93-28-53 on the ice. I don’t give a fuck about matchups. You need to put the guys out on the ice who are going to win you the extra point. And with the way that Couturier looked last night and with how Provorov has looked all season, they sure as shit weren’t going to be the ones to win that game. So Hakstol deserves plenty of blame here as well. But holy fuck. How tight is Sean Couturier gripping his stick? Just calm down, bud. Why are you one-timing a pass right back to Provorov here?It’s 3v3 overtime. There’s plenty of open ice to work with here. Just take the pass, turn up ice, dump it into the zone if you have to, just do anything besides put the puck back in your own zone. You can see that Provorov expected Coots to start wheeling up ice by the way he looked like he was trying to get a quick jump on Atkinson to join the rush there and get a 3v2 opportunity. But instead, Couturier sends it right back to Provorov as Provorov is trying to go the opposite way, it’s a terrible pass, Provorov doesn’t make it any better by fumbling with the puck along the boards, and then puck ends up in the back of the net about 8 seconds later. The Flyers won the opening faceoff in overtime and the game was over 10 seconds later. It’s almost impossible for that to happen yet it did because only the Flyers know how.

So yeah. There were some good things last night but ultimately the good was outweighed by the bad, and that’s just what Flyers hockey has become recently. So some signs that you’re not actually as bad of a team as your record indicates but then shoot yourself in the dick a few times for fun. What a pleasure it is to be a fan of this team.

@BarstoolJordie