Falling Asleep in OT – Blue Jackets 4, Flyers 3

There were points in Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in which the Flyers looked like a rejuvenated squad. The team had four days to recover coming off a somewhat unexpected victory against cross-state rival Pittsburgh on Saturday night, a game which many believed perhaps signaled a turning point in the team’s season. However, with new GM Chuck Fletcher watching from his box and new assistant coach Rick Wilson on the bench, the Flyers squandered a gutsy comeback and fell asleep in overtime. It marked the second time they dropped a result at home in overtime and the team’s 9th overall loss at home in 14 games played at Wells Fargo Center.

The game got off to a solid enough start with captain Claude Giroux ripping a gorgeous shot to beat Sergei Bobrovsky high on his glove side.

If you were surprised he didn’t make the typical Flyers’ 2-on-1 extra pass, imagine how Bob felt.

The Flyers were riding high on 90’s Night. Everything was going their way…for about 60 seconds. Seth Jones put a weak shot on net, beating Anthony Stolarz for the game-tying goal.

It was one that haunted Stolie in the postgame scrum – he admitted that was the one he wanted back –  and one that Dave Hakstol acknowledged as well:

“Biggest part for me was how [Stolarz] responded after that first one slid through. That shows to me a little bit of his poise, confidence, maybe calm is a word he wants to use.”

Thing got a bit worse before they got better after Brandon Dubinsky deflected a shot from the point past Stolarz to put the Blue Jackets up 2-1.

To his credit, Stolarz rebounded with a few huge saves including this highway robbery:

Scott Laughton said of Stolarz:

“He let one in at the start there but then he settled in and made huge saves that could have been in the back of our net.”

The second period was an absolute travesty by the Flyers. They came out with little-to-no energy, were outshot 12-5 and gave up three power play opportunities. Two of the three conceded power plays were on penalties taken by Scott Laughton, both of which were bad penalties to take. In fact, one came at center ice on a half-hearted left jab thrown following a crosscheck missed by the officials. It wasn’t a great game by #21 to say the least.

That leads me to one positive from the game: the penalty kill. The Flyers managed to kill off all five Columbus power plays, making it 15 consecutive penalties killed off by the much-maligned special teams unit.

The Flyers appeared to have tied the game at 2-2 on a beautiful shot from a tough angle by Sean Couturier, but:

That was followed up with some tough luck as a pass from Claude Giroux went through Wayne Simmonds to a wide-open Sean Couturier at the back post. It was a shot he needed to bury, but:

After Boone Jenner put the Blue Jackets up 3-1 with 14:45 remaining in the third, Travis Sanheim announced his presence with a pair of great goals.

The first was an absolute beauty as Sanheim found himself one-on-one with Bobrovsky in a tight window. Rather than rip a quick wrister to the near post, he collected himself and deked Bobrovsky, switched the puck to his backhand, and deposited the Flyers second goal into the back of the net:

The second goal was an absolute screamer that went high on Bobrovsky like Giroux’s first period goal.

Sanheim’s play was on everyone’s mind, with Claude Giroux reiterating his confidence in the young defenseman:

“…he’s a very smart player. When he sees an opportunity to go, he joins the rush. For a defenseman, his skills are pretty high. When he plays with confidence, he’s a very dangerous player.”

With emotions running high, the Flyers forced overtime and I, for one, figured the game would head to a shootout:

Ten seconds into the overtime, Seth Jones struck again:

That’s a tough way to lose, especially after fighting back from a 3-1 deficit. Hakstol put it best:

“Yeah, it’s disappointing the way it ended. I mean, I won’t lie to you. That’s a hard way to lose the extra point. We felt good about battling back and the way we did it in the third period, and got our game going. It hurts a little bit to have it end the way it did right off the opening draw. One of the things, Coots and Provy are around that puck and they’re a huge reason why we were in OT, because they played a hell of a game. They were really good throughout the first sixty minutes. It hurts a little bit.”

We’ll have more from the Flyers’ loss later today, including a breakdown of the team’s woeful power play. I’ve also been told Anthony’s got a big story he wants to share.

For more Flyers coverage, be sure to check out our pregame and intermission shows before and during home games via Facebook Live on the Crossing Broad Facebook page and Periscope via Anthony’s Twitter account. Also, listen to our Flyers podcast Snow the Goalie ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter:@AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad

 

 

 

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