Prior to Tuesday night, the only other time the Wells Fargo Center unleashed a round of boos during the Flyers’ five-game homestand was when Andrew MacDonald was introduced before the home opener.
For MacDonald’s sake, he had nothing to do with this debacle — a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks (see observations). It marked the Flyers’ most lopsided loss of the season and the first game in which they were completely out of it when the third period began.
“To a man, we could have been a lot better, starting with me in the net. That’s where it all starts,” Brian Elliott, who stopped just 19 of 25 shots, said. “It’s a big, strong team. We beat them in their barn last time. They had something to prove and we didn’t answer the bell.”
Tied, 1-1, after the opening 20 minutes, the Flyers seemingly lost their composure by turning over pucks and allowing calls (and even non-calls) to affect their play on the ice.
“We’ve got to do a better job of keeping our composure,” Claude Giroux said. “We weren’t happy with some of the calls. I’m probably the first one to lose my composure, and we got away from our game plan.”
Giroux’s lack of discipline came as Ducks center Antoine Vermette took a whack at Giroux’s shin and broke the captain’s stick. Yet, no slashing penalty was called.
On Giroux’s next shift, he was called for tripping (possibly out of frustration) when he stuck out his skate and sent Chris Wagner tumbling to the ice just seconds after Wagner had leveled Jori Lehtera.
With Giroux in the box, the Ducks scored on the ensuing power play when Nick Ritchie backhanded a rebound past Elliott for a 3-1 lead.
The Flyers were also facing a Ducks team that came to Philadelphia considerably healthier than the one they faced on Oct. 7 in Anaheim. The Ducks’ boost most notably came from the return of captain Ryan Getzlaf, who led the attack with a goal and an assist (see highlights).
“They have guys who can skate, big bodies,” Giroux said. “We just couldn’t feel the puck tonight. It’s frustrating. Games like this are going to happen. It’s how we deal with it.”
Bad decisions? Check.
Poor discipline? Check.
Bad goaltending? Check.
Terrible ice? Depends on who you’re asking.
Apparently, there was plenty of blame to be passed around.
“That’s the worst it’s ever been in my career here,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “I thought the ice was horrendous tonight. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s not an excuse or anything, it’s just something we’ve got to deal with and hopefully it will get better.”
“I don’t know, but we’ll look into it,” Giroux said. “It’s just a little different. We don’t know what was the issue. I don’t really want to comment on it because I don’t know what was going on.”
As bizarre as that may sound, head coach Dave Hakstol may have been second-guessing the defensive pairings he put on the ice following the injury to MacDonald Saturday, as all three pairs had very little experience together.
“You’ve got to play a couple of games to get some chemistry,” Gostisbehere, who started the game with Radko Gudas, said. “As a team, I think we could have played a little better, obviously, but I think it comes with not playing with certain guys.”
Even Ivan Provorov had a lousy night with his most inconsistent game of the season. By the third period, Hakstol elected to play the defensive shell game and go back to what had worked in the past.
“I think we just went back to some comfort level,” Gostisbehere said. “I played with Hagger (Robert Hagg), Man Dog (Brandon Manning) has played with Gudy before. I think just to get some familiarity together. I don’t know what’s going to go on, but as a team we could have played a lot better.”
Patrick exits early
Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick left the game in the second period when Wagner checked him into the boards and appeared to rattle his head (see video). No penalty was called as the rookie went straight to the dressing room for further evaluation. By the third period, Patrick was dressed and in the press box.
“I think it was a shoulder-to-shoulder finished check,” Hakstol said. “I’m going to look at it a little bit closer, but I don’t think I need to. I saw it live and I thought it was a shoulder-to-shoulder finished check.”
On the Flyers’ final goal of the game, three players all celebrated a milestone of sorts:
Sean Couturier scored the goal, his 200th NHL point.
Jakub Voracek registered an assist, his 500th NHL point.
Travis Sanheim recorded his first career NHL assist and point.