Flyers 2, Maple Leafs 3 | (20-16-8)
Well that fucking fucked. The Flyers have built up a ton of momentum over the last two weeks. They were playing at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs who are stuck in the basement of the league this season. There was the potential to hop into a playoff spot with a win for the first time since October. Everything was pointing toward a win for the Flyers last night which, of course, means they went out there and laid an egg. Just a piss poor performance since scoring that first goal midway through the 1st period. The Flyers are very close to being a good team. The Flyers are pretty close to being a great team. But it’s games like last night that show they’re not quite there yet. Because great teams are able to put away games regardless of who they’re playing. The Flyers, however, always find a way to lose to the cellar dwellers of the league and the fact that they only lost that game by 1 last night was ridiculous. We’ll start off with some real quick good news but then it’s time to talk about what changes need to be made.
Shayne Gostisbehere For Norris
This kid is just such a fucking stud. I said this after Sunday’s game but his ability to generate offense through his defense is what’s going to make the Flyers a crazy dangerous team to play in years to come. He had eyes on Boyes and Reilly that whole time, broke down the play like he was a corner in the NFL and jump right up as soon as that pass left his stick. His awareness and decision making as a rookie in this league is just incredible. Pretty interesting move by Phaneuf to just do nothing on that 2-on-1. And it wasn’t the only time that Gostisbehere made Phaneuf look like a clown last night.
Speaking of Phaneuf, I like the thought of Brayden Schenn to go after the big fella but yeah, probably not the wisest decision he ever made in his life.
Phaneuf may have won the fight, but Lupul still banged his wife. People don’t forget. Alright that’s enough of the good stuff because I’m getting sick just thinking about last night again.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to get just under 6 minutes of playing time and STILL be a -2 on the night? The Flyers bottom 6 is absolutely atrocious right now. As impressed with the top 6 as I’ve been in the past few weeks, the bottom 6 makes me want to puke any time I even look at them. And RJ Umberger is the main culprit right now because absolutely nothing good happens when he’s out on the ice. Nothing at all. The fact that he’s been in the lineup so much this season is appalling. Here’s a fun little Corsi chart for all you nerds out there courtesy of the good people at War On Ice.
Hell, you don’t even have to be a fancy stat nerd to understand how much that line fucking blows. If there’s only one problem I have with Dave Hakstol, it’s that he doesn’t like to change his lineup when the team is winning. That’s an incredibly dumb and incredibly short-sighted mentality. Because when RJ Umberger puts your team in a position to lose night in and night out, obviously your winning ways aren’t going to continue for much longer. The Flyers have so much talent just sitting in Lehigh Valley right now. Bring up Sam Gagner again. Bring in Jordan Weal, who came from LA in exchange for Vinny and L. Schen.. Hell, bring back Taylor Leier or Nick Cousins. Just give us anybody aside from RJ Umberger so that you can throw someone on Laughton’s wing that could give him a fighting chance to prove himself. It’s the same shit that happened with Vinny. You can’t expect anybody to contribute when they’re playing with Bumberger. It drives me apeshit. And anyone on the 4th line can grab a seat in the press box as well for all I care. The Flyers are going to continue to be a mediocre hockey team until they find a way to address their bottom 6. Because the top 6 play a damn fine game, they’re just getting dragged down by the weak links.
Again, the Flyers had built up so much momentum over the past 2 weeks. They’ve been playing a great brand of hockey and have been putting together damn near close to full 60-minute efforts every night. Last night was just a different look. They scored that first goal of the game and then allowed Toronto to completely take over from there. I realize they only lost the game with 7.5 seconds left in regulation on a shot that hit off of Del Zotto’s pants, but it really shouldn’t have been that close anyway. That was a tough one to swallow. Definitely a huge 2 points that the Flyers could end up looking back on come April and really wish they could have back. But that’s over now and it’s officially Pittsburgh week. First time playing those sorry sacks of shit this year and a win against those jerkoffs will be exactly what this team needs to get there confidence right back on track. Pray for Crosby.