By Nat Marlowe
The Philadelphia Flyers dropped another one to the Boston Bruins, brutally losing in regulation by a final score of 6-1. While it is the first time the Flyers have lost consecutive games on the road for the first time in twelve months, the holes on this team’s defense are becoming even more glaringly obvious. The offense failed to get anything rolling, generating only 17 shots on goal for the game, while the defense left Carter Hart out to dry.
In yet another slow start to the season, the Flyers only had 4 shots on goal while allowing 10 Bruins shots in the first period. Defenseman Mark Friedman returned to play after leaving Thursday’s game early for precautionary reasons, but found himself in the penalty box early for tripping Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Selke Award Winner and newly appointed Bruins Captain Patrice Bergeron scored 13 seconds into that powerplay opportunity. The Flyers failed to gain control of the puck for a clear, allowing Boston to cycle the puck quickly, and for Bergeron to tap in Nick Ritchie’s rebound. Carter Hart in spread eagle elevated his right pad leg in anticipation of the shot, but Bergeron kept the puck on the ice to get it past Hart.
Philadelphia came flying in the second period as Kevin Hayes captured the puck in the neutral zone for a great give and go opportunity. Hayes found a wide open Jakub Voracek along the boards, and caught the Bruins sleeping as Voracek fed it back to Hayes, tipping it past Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask for the 1-1 tie. Boston woke right back up as Craig Smith scored his first as a Bruin just over a minute later from a great neutral zone breakout. Charlie Coyle who helped Smith on the previous goal would increase Boston’s lead late in the second. With Hart too deep in his net, Coyle to one hand touched the puck past him. Hart allowed two goals on six shots in the second frame.
It was all Boston in the third frame, as they outworked, outsmarted, and outclassed the Flyers throughout. The pesky Brad Marchand scored two in a row early in the third for his second and third goals of the season. Just before Marchand’s first goal of the game, Philadelphia defenseman Erik Gustafsson failed to gain control of the puck that was right at his feet in his own zone. Bergeron pounced and fed it to Marchand who crept in from the slot for a tremendous scoring opportunity. Marchand would then score on the powerplay after Mark Friedman took another penalty against Frederic, this time for unsportsmanlike conduct. Adding insult to injury, Bergeron would then score his second of the game for Boston’s third powerplay goal. A flat, lifeless, and predictable Philadelphia offense that only put up five shots on goa in the third failed to test Tuukka Rask in any way.
At the final horn, Hart smashed his stick multiple times against his goal posts out of rage and frustration. While Hart apologized and says he regrets the outburst, who can blame him when his team has failed to bail him out several times this season already? Hart currently has a 4.18 goals allowed average and a .880 save percentage for the season.
The Flyers have fallen to third place in the MassMutual East Division. They will play the New Jersey Devils on the road this Tuesday night. You can catch that game at 7:00 on 97.5 The Fanatic!