Entering Friday afternoon's game, the Flyers had not yet trailed through their 4-0-0 start to the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.
They trailed early and big in a back-to-earth Game 2 loss to the Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, a disastrous 5-0 decision that has evened the Flyers' best-of-seven first-round playoff series with Montreal.
Carter Hart was yanked from the game with 2:03 left in the middle frame after yielding more than three goals for the first time in 12 games.
An awful first period by the Flyers (more on that below) set the tone and now head coach Alain Vigneault will have to work his magic with some adjustments if his top-seeded club wants to regain control of the series.
"We got our butts kicked," Vigneault said postgame in a video interview.
Flyers' largest margins of defeat this season:— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 14, 2020
6 goals — 7-1 loss to Penguins, Oct. 29
5 goals — 5-0 loss to Canadiens, Aug. 14 (playoffs)
5 goals — 6-1 loss to Sharks, Dec. 28
5 goals — 5-0 loss to Devils, Feb. 6
• After shining through his first three starts in the tournament (3-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average) and having his 22nd birthday Wednesday, Hart was roughed up by Montreal.
The Flyers were not good in front of him and Hart wasn't good himself, either.
On Jesperi Kotkaniemi's first of two goals to make it 2-0 in the opening stanza, Hart had a bad giveaway behind his net that eventually led to the marker. If there's one thing Hart has had to work on, it's his play with the puck outside of his crease.
Hart made only 22 saves on 26 shots before Brian Elliott took over, finishing the game with five saves on six shots. Hart will be right back at it in Game 3. It's his first taste of failure in the NHL playoffs.
Carey Price is so difficult to beat when he has a big lead. He was impressive and pitched a 30-save shutout.
• As the Flyers started looking like a contender down the stretch of the regular season and through the round robin, they didn't give fans much at all to complain about; they were that good.
Well, the first period Friday against the Canadiens was worthy of complaints. The Flyers put out what might have been one of their worst first-period performances of the 2019-20 season.
From the onset, the Flyers looked slow, sloppy and out of sync as the eighth-seeded Canadiens completely took it to the Eastern Conference's top seed.
The Flyers trailed 1:02 into the action on a Tomas Tatar goal (his first of two) and things never got better during the opening stanza. As a result, they were down by multiple goals at first intermission for the first time in their last 15 games, while they were outshot 16-6. At one point, Montreal had a 12-0 advantage in shots.
It sort of felt like an ugly flashback to 2018-19. The Flyers were not ready or energized out of the chute and it burned them a game in this series. Every game is precious in the playoffs.
• The Flyers' nightmare was capped when All-Star and leading scorer in the regular season Travis Konecny exited the game in the third period after blocking a shot with his foot.
Konecny departed under his own power without putting pressure on his left leg. The Flyers will hope it was a precautionary exit in a game that was already decided.
Salt in the wound: Travis Konecny leaves the game after blocking a shot.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 14, 2020
Flyers will want to bury this one far and away. pic.twitter.com/C0pScdiaZc
Michael Raffl (undisclosed injury) was able to skate in warmups after missing the final two round-robin games and Game 1 of this series. Scratches can skate during warmups and the fact that Raffl partook is a good sign for his potential return.
Alain Vigneault can't comment on the statuses of Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 15, 2020
• If you're looking for any positives after this one, it's that the Flyers went 19-6-1 without consecutive losses from Jan. 8 to the end of the regular season (also known as the NHL pause on March 12).
The Flyers since Jan. 8 prior to NHL stoppage. pic.twitter.com/icUrYeh98q— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) April 5, 2020
Under Vigneault, the Flyers were very good at burying a bad performance by quickly turning the page with proper adjustments. They suffered a 5-0 loss and 4-1 defeat during that stretch from Jan. 8 to the end of the season; they responded well from both of those clunkers with strong wins.
• Losses like that will bring changes in the playoffs.
The third defensive pair of Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Braun struggled. Both blueliners had a minus-2 rating, both had turnovers and both just didn't look in rhythm.
The Canadiens' fourth goal took a bad bounce of off Gostisbehere's skate. Those happen but they also don't look good. A Gostisbehere penalty led to a Montreal power play goal to make it 3-0. The holding call on Gostisbehere was questionable as he was trying to prevent a breakaway from Max Domi.
Everyone played poorly, but it wouldn't be surprising if Vigneault gives Robert Hagg a look for defensive and physicality reasons in a big Game 3.
• In an attempt to spark the Flyers, Vigneault shuffled his lines for the third period but it didn't lead to much.
The Flyers' top five goal scorers from the regular season — Konecny (24 goals), Kevin Hayes (23), Sean Couturier (22), Claude Giroux (21) and James van Riemsdyk (19) — have combined for nine assists but no goals in the tournament so far.
• The Flyers' power play is 1 for 19 in the tournament. It hasn't been sharp or consistent when the Flyers get set up.
• The series continues Sunday with Game 3 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
For the full series schedule, click here.
The Flyers won't have an on-ice practice Saturday.
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