Hours after Chuck Fletcher talked about how he believed the Flyers could be competitive, they were completely outplayed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nick Paul scored twice and Steven Stamkos recorded his 1,000th point as the Lightning ran away with the 4-1 victory.
This game had the makings of a blowout, similar to the 7-1 game a year ago against this exact team. That game saw the firing of Alain Vigneault. While no one is expected to be fired after this one, it’s clear that the Flyers have a long way to go before they can be considered a competitive team. Beating up and skating with the “non-threat” team means nothing when they are truly exposed against the top teams in the league.
If you want to take away any sort of positive from this game, it might be hard to do that. The one thing you can point to is the play by Carter Hart. Despite the final score, things could have been so much worse without the strong effort that he had. In the second period alone, Tampa outshot the Flyers 17-2 and outscored them 2-0. There was about 6:29 between Philadelphia’s two shots in the period.
Hart made highlight-reel saves and faced heavy pressure from the Lightning for almost the entire game. You can say the fourth goal was bad as it came off a dump-in from center ice. But it took a bounce off the end boards, off Hart’s skate, and dribbled into the net. It’s a bad look, but it doesn’t ruin the good night that Hart had.
"“That might be one of the worst goals I’ve ever given up. That was tough, but it happens. Some bounces go your way, some bounces don’t. That one didn’t, but the best thing about it is it’s in the best. Just gotta put it behind me.”"
If you want to look at another positive, it’s that Travis Konecny scored in his first game back. It came over midway through the final period off a nice feed from Travis Sanheim. Sanheim sent a cross-ice pass to Konecny who took a step and ripped one from the right faceoff dot. Credit to Tony DeAngelo on the secondary assist as well as he made the pass whilst falling.
But other than that, it was that second period that was the true downfall of this game. Once Tampa grabbed momentum, the Flyers couldn’t do anything to stop it. There was no one that was able to even turn things around for a second to stop the proverbial bleeding.
"“We couldn’t gather ourselves, we didn’t have someone or a group to turn around a shift of our own. We just never got our feet underneath us after that one shift. It’s momentum swings. It’s a great lesson for us. A good team like that, that knows how to win, coming off a loss, they seized that. And once they had us, they kept pushing and we just could not get our feet underneath us from there.” John Tortorella credited as what went wrong in the second."
As Tortorella also mentioned, this one will be a teaching moment for this group to see who responds from this and who steps up. There are going to be plenty of other games like this throughout the season. So they need to take this one on the chin, but also know they have even more tough games ahead of them on this homestand. They can use what went wrong in this game to help them figure out how to change things in a timely manner.
"“You just have to move on from it, you can’t let it linger. It’s something we already talked about as a group. Everybody goes through it so we gotta bounce back Saturday. But you can’t keep having the same conversation.” Tony DeAngelo said about responding from the loss."
They will welcome in a red-hot New Jersey Devils team who has been on an absolute tear as of late. Their 13-game winning streak came to an end about a week ago, but they’ve gone 3-0-1 since then, scoring five goals in two of their victories.