COLUMBUS, Ohio — The losses at Nationwide Arena are mounting up, and the time elapsing from the Flyers' last win in Ohio's capital grows more distant.
With Saturday night's 2-1 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets, the Flyers have now lost 11 straight games in Columbus — the Flyers haven't won here since Dec. 13, 2005.
Blue Jackets rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the shootout's only goal.
Dave Hakstol's 200th game as the head coach wasn't all for naught, of course, given the Flyers at least exited with a point — just like they did in five previous losses on the road against the Blue Jackets.
In just their fifth contest of the season against a divisional opponent — and the first of four against their rival from Ohio — the Flyers once again found themselves playing catchup, thanks to Seth Jones' power-play goal in the opening stanza.
The Flyers answered in the second period with Ivan Provorov's blast from the point that found eyes through traffic and past Sergei Bobrovsky.
With Michal Neuvirth still on the shelf, Hakstol continued to ride Brian Elliott, who made his 11th straight start and second in as many nights. The 32-year-old backstop was once again sensational, turning away 35 Columbus shots on 36 total shots.
Before the Flyers take their holiday hiatus, here are some observations from Saturday’s showdown in the Buckeye State:
• Much like the previous 10 road games against Columbus, the Blue Jackets clogged the neutral zone early on, suppressing a good portion of the potential chances that did end up in the Flyers’ offensive zone. Columbus’ transition game, on the other hand, made zone-entry for them not so difficult.
The Blue Jackets’ speedy transition established possession often, and for as much of a cliché as “getting pucks deep” is, it’s exactly what the Blue Jackets did.
• The Flyers failed to damage Columbus’ fourth-ranked home penalty kill, as they struggled to set up shop in their own zone. The normally sure-handed Shayne Gostisbehere was unable to keep the zone on a pass to the point and later turned the puck over, leading to a breakaway chance for Matt Calvert.
The orange and black failed on their second power play of the night in the second period due in large part to an outstanding Bobrovsky save on a Giroux one-time attempt set up by Voracek. An early third-period penalty to Nolan Patrick was nullified by a roughing penalty to Artemi Panarin, which also came up empty.
• The orange and black’s penalty killing unit was not granted such fortune. Seth Jones broke the game’s seal on the man advantage thanks to a too many men penalty taken by the Flyers' bench.
Jones’ wrister from just inside the point deflected off of Ivan Provorov before setting the cannon off. With their first-period power-play goal, Columbus has now scored on the man advantage in four straight games.
• The Blue Jackets’ opening tally marked the 15th time they’ve scored the game’s first goal in their last 24 outings. Columbus is now 16-3-2 when scoring first. Conversely, the slow starts for Hakstol's team bit them Friday night in Buffalo and nearly once again Saturday night.
• Columbus continued to pressure the Flyers at the start of the second, pushing the visiting team back on their heels until Provorov blasted home the equalizer. Later in the second, it appeared as though the Flyers took the lead on a goal deflected off the stick of Taylor Leier, but an officials’ review determined that Leier’s stick was above the crossbar, wiping the go-ahead mark off the board. After the play was replayed on the big screen, it’s interesting the goal was not waived off right away.
• Although the number of former Flyers who have come back to haunt their former team is plenty, perhaps no other former Flyer has done so more than Bobrovsky. Not only has the Russian-born goalie gone on to win a pair of Vezina Trophies, he’s also been a nuisance to the team that’s historically had their share of goalie woes.
The fact Bobrovsky has thrived post-Philadelphia within the Flyers’ division, no less, adds salt to a wound that Elliott has otherwise bandaged.
Bobrovsky was excellent Saturday night. He made 30 saves and was perfect in the shootout.
• Tonight’s tilt was career game Mo. 692 for Giroux, moving him past Simon Gagne for 10th on the Flyers' all-time list. The captain now sits only 33 games behind Gary Dornhoefer for ninth on the list.
• Just the Flyers' fifth game this season against a Metropolitan Division opponent, and the first since just after Thanksgiving.
• After playing their fifth game throughout the span of the last full week, the Flyers will enjoy the holidays with an extra day off on the tail end of the Christmas break. Their next slate of action will include two games in the next eight days.