Still winless in the regular season since 1996.
That’s how the Blackhawks left the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon after the Flyers handled Chicago with ease in a 4-0 shutout.
The Flyers have now won 15 straight regular-season home games over the Blackhawks. The longest current streak belongs to the Penguins, who have ripped off 17 straight wins over the Jets/Thrashers.
Which former Norris Trophy defenseman did the Flyers exploit and how well has Brian Elliott played lately? Here are my observations from the Wells Fargo Center:
• Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an absolutely brutal turnover in the defensive zone that led to Claude Giroux’s first-period goal. Keith blindly backhanded a pass from behind the goal line, which Giroux intercepted and beat Corey Crawford's five-hole. It was a brutal game for Keith, who also misplayed the puck that led to the Flyers' second goal.
• The Flyers had a yucky, sloppy first 10 minutes and didn’t look ready for the 1 p.m. start. They had some poor stick handling and Shayne Gostisbehere had a terrible giveaway, while the Flyers couldn’t navigate their way through the neutral zone and were thankful they didn’t cough up the first goal of the game.
• Chicago came into this game tied with Ottawa for having allowed four or more goals 10 times already this season. In the first six minutes of the second period, the Flyers attacked the Blackhawks' porous defense with some prime scoring opportunities. It was their best push of the game to that point as they put the first seven shots on net in the second period.
• How could you not admire the effort of Sean Couturier as time expired on the Blackhawks' power play? It was vintage Couturier, who used his size and his positioning shielding Chris Kunitz from the puck. It’s an area of Couturier’s game he probably doesn’t get enough credit for as he had also drawn a penalty on Kunitz. That’s points in five of Couturier’s last six games. Couturier finished with two goals for his 10th career multi-goal game.
• Referee Corey Syvret, brother of former Flyers defenseman Danny Syvret, officiated his first Flyers game and just his seventh NHL game. There’s been plenty of criticism surrounding the current crop of officials and how they may not be prepared for the speed of the NHL, but Syvret and veteran Dan O’Rourke called a solid game, not over-officiating while making the obvious calls.
• I’m impressed with the manner in which Christian Folin continues to handle himself. Folin has been remarkably steady since some early-season slips and stumbles and turnover-prone plays. Against the Blackhawks, Folin’s positioning and stick play were solid in separating players from pucks. With that said, I don’t see an opportunity for Andrew MacDonald to work his way back into the lineup anytime soon as the current pairs continue to work well together.
• You don’t really notice Elliott because he doesn’t have that top 10 eye-popping save to his game. Everything Elliott has done recently has been so steady and he was locked in through the 60 minutes. Elliott was the primary reason why the Flyers' PK snapped a nine-game streak of allowing a power-play goal. Elliott now has a shutout streak of over 125 minutes with his last goal allowed to Ilya Kovalchuk on Nov. 1 in Los Angeles.
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