Allowing two goals during a span of 11 seconds in the first period set the tone for the Flyers in a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jackets in the final meeting between the two teams.
Bad defensive coverages and a failure to clear their own zone led to a very poor start.
Claude Giroux scored the Flyers' first goal for the third straight game and has now scored 11 goals in his last 18 games.
The Flyers had to fight back from three different two-goal deficits, but couldn’t manufacture the game-tying goal in the third period.
Shayne Gostisbehere scored his 12th goal just 16 seconds into the second period to reduce the Blue Jackets' lead to 3-2, but Columbus answered just 3:09 later as Cam Atkinson scored his second goal of the game.
Atkinson netted a hat trick after adding an empty-net goal in the final second.
The Flyers and Blue Jackets are now tied with 81 points in the Metropolitan Division as both teams have 11 games remaining. The Flyers hold the tiebreaker with one more regulation/overtime victory.
• It took all of 11 seconds for the Flyers to fall behind 2-0. With the Flyers chasing the puck around their end, they couldn’t clear the zone as Travis Sanheim pushed the puck forward without gaining possession. That allowed the Jackets to maintain possession and Oliver Bjorkstrand from one knee roofed a shot from close range. Those types of mishaps the Flyers must avoid.
• Columbus came right back and doubled its lead with four of its defenders along the boards. Once the Blue Jackets gained possession, Boone Jenner simply beat Brandon Manning to the front of the net and redirected Jack Johnson’s slap pass in which Petr Mrazek had very little shot at stopping. It’s a lost board battle leading to a breakdown in coverage that we’ve seen from the Flyers on several occasions this season.
• Giroux had Sergei Bobrovsky beaten on a breakaway attempt but the puck hit the post. However, Giroux received his redemption and fired a one-timer past Bobrovsky. The Flyers' top two lines were very good in the offensive zone in the first period.
TK ➡️ Giroux = PERFECTION pic.twitter.com/wuzzrJ1Dzj— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 15, 2018
• Another tough break for Mrazek as the Blue Jackets took a 3-1 lead after Atkinson batted in Seth Jones’ shot from the point. Another goal where the Flyers were chasing the puck in their end and couldn’t clear the zone.
• Two bad goals to start the second period. Gostisbehere scored on a simple snap shot from the right circle that Bobrovsky couldn’t contain as the puck snuck past him. Mrazek answered with a bad goal of his own as Atkinson beat him blocker side. The way Mrazek played it appeared as if he was never on his angle.
• Giroux took a puck to the side of his face that forced him to go to the locker room and get treatment. The Flyers' captain returned in the final three minutes of the second period.
• Andrew MacDonald needed every bit of the 72 inches from post to post to beat Bobrovsky as his slap shot clanked off the right post and then the left post to cut the Jackets' lead to 4-3 after 40 minutes of action.
This shot by MacDonald 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/x4bPKmjmXU— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 16, 2018
• The Flyers came out for the third period with a desperate mindset, outshooting Columbus, 9-3, in the first 10 minutes, but not much from the high-danger areas.
• John Tortorella completely lost his mind when the officials whistled the Blue Jackets for too many men on the ice. His theatrics make those seats behind the bench worth the price of admission.
• The officials let a lot of stuff go in that first period, including a clear crosscheck into the back of Sean Couturier on the Giroux goal. Not sure how or why that wasn't called.