On the Wells Fargo disaster meter, that 60-minute performance ranks at about a 9.5.
Had Gritty’s steel cable snapped during his descent from the rafters, we would have seen an all-out catastrophe at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I just think we played like s--- tonight and the score shows it," Claude Giroux said.
It was the same 8-2 score from last year’s home opener against the Washington Capitals, when the Flyers could do no wrong. Only this time the guys in orange and black did absolutely nothing right, except for Brian Elliott, who prevented the Sharks from reaching double digits (see observations).
Overall, it was the Flyers' worst effort in a home opener dating back to a 7-0 shutout loss to the Kings in 1971.
“Yeah, we sucked," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "It is what it is. I feel so f---ing bad for Moose right now. We left him out to dry. He was our best player tonight. It could have been 8-0 after the first."
Usually, a goaltender who allows eight goals on any particular night is your worst player, not your best, but Gostisbehere’s right (see story).
The target practice Elliott faced didn’t look that much different than pregame warmups, when players skate in freely and fire at will. The 23 first-period shots were the most the Flyers had allowed in a single period since December 2008.
“Sometimes it takes a little bit of a wake-up call,” Elliott said. “I don’t think we had the structure to take on their attack. They did a good job with four guys joining the rush. It kind of felt like wave on wave.”
Even the Flyers' best defensive player, Sean Couturier, was caught up in the riptide. Couturier finished with a minus-3 rating Tuesday night, which happened just once in the 82 games he played all of last season.
Afterward, Dave Hakstol admitted he should have yanked Elliott after the second period with the score 5-1, but you could almost go blind from all the hindsight decision-making in this game. Whatever the Flyers attempted to do to slow down the Sharks, it was met with the worst results.
Ivan Provorov failed to get a puck on net from just inside his blue line, resulting in an odd-man rush the other way, and before Lou Nolan could credit the goal scorer on the PA system, Sharks center Joe Pavelski crashed the net to put home a rebound just 11 seconds later.
“On the first goal, we have everything in place where we want it, but we give up a puck and give up a 3-on-1, and then we give up one on a center ice face-off, which should never happen,” Hakstol said.
Just three minutes and 28 seconds into Game 1 at the Wells Fargo Center and it was all over.
Game. Set. Strike a match and light the scoresheet on fire. That’s the only approach the Flyers can take with a back-to-back against the Senators on Wednesday night.
“It’s one game. Everybody needs to relax,” Giroux said. “We’re going to go back to work tomorrow and get a win in Ottawa and we’re going to move on from there.”