The Philadelphia Flyers must be a maddening team to cheer for.
They can score goals with the best teams in the NHL. They also give up goals with the worst teams in the NHL.
A month ago they were in the middle of a 10-game winning streak that was launching them up the Eastern Conference standings and seemed to solidify their hold on a playoff spot.
After their ugly 6-3 loss in Boston on Saturday, they have followed up that winning streak by losing 10 of the next 13. Depending on what happens on Saturday night, they could be just one point up on a Hurricanes team that still has two games in hand on them for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
An 82-game season is always going to be full of peaks and valleys, but the 2016-17 Flyers seem to be taking that to the extreme.
Saturday’s game was particularly ugly for the Flyers. Not just because it was yet another loss, but because the entire day was simply a total nightmare.
A quick rundown of what all went wrong.
- They gave up six goals to a Bruins team that had scored more than five goals in a game just once all season. That was in the season opener … 45 games ago. They had scored more than four goals just four times entering Saturday.
- They were outshot 39-24 for the game, including a ridiculous 13-5 deficit in the third period when you have expected a team down by two goals to be able to push the pace a little.
- They allowed Brad Marchand to record five points, including a shorthanded goal where he never actually shot the puck.
- When they were on the verge of getting back into the game in the second period, just seconds after Brayden Schenn scored to pull them to within one goal, Jakub Voracek was given a five-minute major for boarding Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, knocking him out of the game. The Bruins scored on the ensuing power play and never looked back.
The day got off to an ominous start when it was revealed that defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was going to be a healthy scratch for the second time this season.
It would not be unfair to suggest that Gostisbehere has struggled a bit lately, or that his play has not quite matched what he did for the Flyers in his breakthrough rookie season. But it is still a curious move to take him out of the lineup given what the rest of the team’s blue line looks like. All of the Flyers defensemen are struggling at the moment. Taking out the one guy that at least has the potential to be a game-breaking player seems to be … well … not the best way to get your team out of a slump. That move on its own is not why the Flyers were blown out. Nobody else really showed up for them, either. But it did seem to at least set the stage for what would go on to be a rough day.
They get a chance to bounce back on Sunday afternoon against a Washington Capitals team that has won eight games in a row by a combined score of 35-11. That includes their most recent wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks by a combined score of 11-2.
In other words: It is not going to get any easier.