It was bound to happen. The Flyers were going to lose a game with Carter Hart in net.
The Flyers on Saturday afternoon were crippled by defensive breakdowns and tortured by Columbus' first line in a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jackets at the Wells Fargo Center.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson were responsible for Columbus' four goals and had a combined eight points Saturday. Dubois and Panarin each had three points.
The Flyers closed out their 2018 home portion of the 2018-19 season 7-8-2. They embark on a five-game road swing Sunday in Manhattan against the Rangers before the Christmas break.
• Hart made his third straight start and this was certainly the shakiest he's looked. Hart's biggest issue was controlling rebounds. On Columbus' second goal, Hart made a spectacular save on Atkinson but the Blue Jackets' winger buried the rebound.
There was nothing Hart could have done on that one, though. The defense wasn't there — Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim allowed three Blue Jackets behind them on that sequence.
But generally speaking, rebounds were an issue Saturday for Hart. Hart allowed four goals on 19 shots. His fourth goal was the first bad one he's allowed yet.
• Provorov's confidence with the puck remains a huge concern. On Columbus' first goal, Provorov circled back into his own zone to successfully create space but lost control of the puck as Atkinson entered to apply pressure. That led to a tic-tac-toe sequence, resulting in a Zach Werenski goal. Provorov has to play a more simple game.
• The overall story of this game can be summed up in two parts. One, the defensive breakdowns were inexcusable and left a young goalie in tough positions. And two, the Blue Jackets' first line had a field day with the Sean Couturier line as they were responsible for all four goals.
Couturier was on the ice for all four Columbus goals, which doesn't happen often. He wasn't completely to blame as the defense was leaky and Jakub Voracek was careless.
• The Flyers' power play came into Saturday dead last in the NHL at 12.1 percent, was 7 for 79 since Oct. 13 and was 0 for its last 13. That skid ended with 22.4 seconds left in the first period when Couturier's second-effort backhand beat Sergei Bobrovsky.
Coots ties this game up on the power play! pic.twitter.com/S8gkuMgPyt— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 22, 2018
Couturier's goal came from some luck — it wasn't an especially strong shot. But it came off a faceoff win from Claude Giroux and it counts.
• Speaking of Giroux, this dude has consistently been elite this season, just as he was last year. Giroux's assist was his 20th point in his past 15 games, and he now has 28 points over his last 20 games. He now has 42 points in 34 games. I'd be shocked if Giroux doesn't end up as the Flyers' second all-time leading scorer. Heck, it's not completely out of the question he can pass Bobby Clarke's 1,210 points — he's 491 points away.
• If there is one player who has been drastically different in the short three-game sample size under interim head coach Scott Gordon, it's Nolan Patrick. The second-year center has looked more assertive and has taken better routes both with and without the puck. That continued Saturday, and his line with Laughton and Michael Raffl generated some solid offensive-zone play. The coaching change certainly appears to have resonated with Patrick.
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