*By the third period last night, the press box conversations no longer centered around promoting and demoting players, or switching up the lines, or even getting Andrew MacDonald back. It was about an ineffective coach and the general manager who hired him to affect a change in culture that simply has not occurred, and it was about veterans playing with the yippiness of rookies and rookies who are either not here (Sam Morin) or who have all but disappeared (Nolan Patrick).
*The Flyers lost for the fifth consecutive time at home Tuesday night and the 10th time this year in regulation. Add in all their overtime losses – many which followed third-period meltdowns like the one in Pittsburgh Monday night – and this team has not finished in a celebratory mood since it left the Wells Fargo Center ice after beating Chicago 20 days ago.
*Officially, their winless streak now stands at nine games, and the “at least we got a point” talk has thankfully disappeared. Even the “We played a good game, just have to eliminate a few mistakes” line was given the night off Tuesday, after being oddly employed amid that 52-shot barrage the Penguins threw at Brian Elliott in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 overtime victory on Monday.
*The Flyers played like a team still shell-shocked Tuesday, getting outshot 29-18 over the first two periods, incurring the wrath of a Wells Fargo audience that started emptying out early in a listless, lifeless third period.
*Those who remained did so, it seemed, simply for chanting purposes. E-A-G-L-E-S was an early favorite, but “Fire Hakstol” – or was it “Hextall”? – gained momentum as the final dreadful minutes trickled away.
Some other observations:
*That ringing in your ears. The Flyers followed their four-post second-period performance Monday night in Pittsburgh with a couple of back-to-back ringers on ensuing first-period rushes after the Sharks had tied the game at 1. First, Valtteri Filppula rang one post, then it was Shayne Gostisbehere hitting it on the rush.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that six in two periods of play is a Flyers record. If not an NHL one.
*Meanwhile, as the puck went up and down the ice, Scott Laughton was an unlucky example of the physicality differences between the two teams. He was run over by Dylan DeMelo as he sought to defend his zone, and after the Flyers regained the puck and he regained his feet, DeMelo ran him over again heading the other way.
Ivan Provorov had a big hit on Logan Couture near the Flyers bench before that, but this team badly misses the slightly unpredictable physicality of Radko Gudas, who has now served six games of his 10-game suspension. Joe Thornton’s second-period power play goal made it 11 the Flyers have allowed in the last seven games – which includes the game Gudas left in the first period after slashing Mathieu Perrault across the neck.
*Andrew MacDonald blocked three shots over the first two periods, including one off the left leg that forced him out of the lineup for over this fateful month.
*Phantoms Phenom Danick Martel hasn’t had much time to strut his stuff. Despite being promoted to the second line alongside Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds, he had just 5:27 of ice time through the first two periods and 8:49 (12 shifts) for the game. The two penalties assessed to Simmonds over the first two periods didn’t help. Martel registered a shot, had one blocked, and was on the ice for the Sharks first goal, although he could hardly be faulted for it. He was in good position and had his man marked when Chris Tierney got Travis Sanheim to sag too deep in the defensive zone before unleashing a wrister that found net.