The score was just 2-1, but the Carolina Hurricanes’ first win of 2013-14 really digs the knife into the Philadelphia Flyers, who are still searching for their first win of the season after three frustrating games.
Carolina dominated much of the play, out-shooting Philly 34-18 (including 17-5 in the first period and 7-3 in the final frame despite Carolina holding that 2-1 lead).
Different goaltending pictures
It marks Anton Khudobin’s debut as Carolina’s sneaky-good backup after serving that part for the Boston Bruins.
In times like these, it’s basically a reflex to blame the goalie in Philly; can they really do that after Steve Mason stopped 32 out of 34 shots, though?
One might have seen some symbolism in Nicklas Grossmann’s third-period cross-checking penalty, as the blueliner sent Patrick Dwyer sprawling dangerously into his own goalie.
Few bright spots for Philly
Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo collected matching -2 ratings on Sunday, so if you want a quick group to blame, that might be a start.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Flyers’ problems are broad enough that the more useful activity might be finding the strong points.
- Star center Claude Giroux hasn’t scored a point yet. The same can be said of Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and others.
- To hammer the point home, the Flyers have only scored three goals in three games.
- Philly scored its first even-strength goal of 2013-14 today. Other than that, they’ve only scored on the man advantage, going 2-for-14 so far. Special teams isn’t that much of strength, however, as they’ve allowed more power-play goals (three on 17 penalty kills) than they’ve scored.
- Their shot totals have dropped from 32 to 23 to 18.
So … yeah, basically everything is going poorly.
Axe to fall?
The inevitable question, then, is how long is the leash for head coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren?
Both front office members have received multiple votes of confidence, yet there’s no denying that the Flyers organization has a tendency to make bold, reactive moves instead of staying the course. (“Hey, we gave Ilya Bryzgalov two whole seasons!”)
Fair or not, it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a knee-jerk reaction coming soon. While we wait, feel free to play “When will the Flyers win their first game?” game by looking at the next 10 contests in their schedule:
Tuesday: vs. Florida
Friday: vs. Phoenix
Saturday: at Detroit
Oct. 15: vs. Vancouver
Oct. 17: vs. Pittsburgh
Oct. 24: vs. NY Rangers
Oct. 26: at NY Islanders
Oct. 29: vs. Anaheim
Nov. 1: vs. Washington
Nov. 2: at New Jersey
As you can see, the Flyers have a week between home games against the Penguins and Rangers, so … they might want to start winning by then. Just throwing it out there.