That was ugly, far worse than expected.
Sure, I had imagined the Flyers would have suffered from a little rink rust, but what occurred last night in the first game back on the ice between the Flyers and visiting San Jose Sharks? Well..let’s just say there was a lot to be desired concerning the end result.
Perhaps the fanbase should just consider this game a mulligan, an aberration. It might make the stink of witnessing a befuddled defense surrender 7 goals to just three players feel a little better? Who knows. I also failed to mention that it should have been 8 goals to just three players, but for some reason, quite possibly mercy, Toronto’s ruling department on goals scored waived off an obvious Logan Couture third goal. That would have given the Sharks two players with hat tricks on the night, in the same game.
How mortifying, really.
The game of course didn’t start out that way. In fact, things looked pretty bleak for the Sharks, even after getting a flukey goal to start the scoring by suspension magnet/enforcer Raffi Torres. Steve Mason looked dumfounded as the puck took an awkward hop, found Torres’ stick, and trickled past Mason for the score. The Flyers persevered however, and promptly took back the lead after two fantastic goals.
The first was by defenseman Andrej Meszaros, fresh off his Olympic bid, and was pretty smooth. Taking the puck deep on the play, Meszaros took the shot on Sharks backup goalie Alex Stalock, who was filling in for another Olympian Antti Niemi. Stalock couldn’t control the rebound, which Steve Downie collected and then deftly passed to a striding Meszaros who then buried the puck past Stalock for the even score.
Brayden Schenn would give the Flyers the lead mere seconds later when he kicked back a centering pass towards the goalmouth from behind the goal line, which in turn bounced off of Sharks defender Jason Dmers and past an unsuspecting Stalock for a 2-1 Flyers lead.
It went all downhill from there.
The second period, as often as it has been for this club all season long, was the source of impending doom for Giroux and Co. I’d prefer to to call this instance the “Joe Pavelski Show”, since the second featured pretty much Pavelski decimating the Flyers defense and making Mason look quite pedestrian in net for the duration of the period. The wheels came off hard and quickly for Philly, and it got so bad from the second on that Mason was yanked for Emery who in turn wound up yanked for Mason later in the third after being victimized himself by the shoddy defense placed in front of him.
Raffi Torres scored another goal adding insult to injury, and Logan Couture nearly had a hat trick until the refs stole it back from him. It was a deserved goal, but apparently the brass felt so horribly for Philly’s thrashing they discounted it. It was painful to watch a team that seemed in a groove come apart so quickly, and it’s not as if the Sharks changed up much, as it appeared the Flyers just wore themselves out. Olympic fatigue syndrome must be real, I suppose, because it was plainly apparent last evening.
This club will have no choice but to pretend last night’s contest never even happened in the first place, and move on since there really is no alternative to explaining the lopsided loss. I hope they have their collective heads together when a couple of rivals come to town this weekend, every game counts now, and the Flyers would do themselves a world of good to get down to brass tacks in practice, and fast.
*Photo courtesy of NHL.com