Flyers

Flyers

The Flyers were playing a winless team.

During the second period alone, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored two goals apiece as the Flyers went off for five in the stanza.

Overall, 10 different players registered at least a point and Christian Folin, viewed as the team's seventh defenseman, finished with a plus-4 rating.

So how did this one end for the Flyers?

Jordan Weal squeaking a shootout goal between the legs of Panthers netminder Michael Hutchinson and Calvin Pickard, who was with another club two weeks ago, putting on the finishing touches at the other end for a 6-5 survival (see observations).

Tuesday's game should have never sniffed overtime or the Flyers' hallowed skills competition.

Inconceivably, it did.

It did because what felt like the chief storyline and concern surrounding the 2018-19 club slipped past the curtain and took center stage: the Flyers will have no problem scoring goals, but can they prevent the opposition from doing the same?

The answer was obvious and blurted out Tuesday.

From the defensemen to the forwards, there are far too many breakdowns in front of Brian Elliott, inconsistency that leads to 5-2 advantages being erased on home ice by a team walking into the Wells Fargo Center without a victory or a power-play goal. And it's difficult to rely on Elliott, at 33 years old, to make numerous bail-you-out saves on a nightly basis.

It won't happen.

 

When play in front isn't good and Elliott isn't sharp, either, a result like Tuesday's becomes galling, but not so surprising. Especially when your top defensive pair looks just as suspect as anyone else instead of the surefire bet everyone expected (see story)

Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov are both a team-worst minus-5 through six games, which tells a big part of the story.

Head coach Dave Hakstol walked to the postgame podium wearing a stern, almost disconcerting look, one you would anticipate following an 8-2 loss in the home opener.

And could you blame him? In desperation, he had to pull his goalie holding a 5-4 lead five minutes into the third period.

"I think it's more just a reset on the bench and that's a big part of the message," Hakstol said. "Reset here, fellas, get going in the right direction.

"Kind of a crazy game."

Not in a good way.

The Flyers are tied for seventh in the NHL with 21 goals scored, but have allowed the second most at 25. The only team to surrender more has been the Red Wings, who are 0-4-2.

The Flyers are 3-3-0 … barely.

"When you look back on it, it's just two points," Pickard said. "We'll take it any way we can get them."

Right now, it's to dare the opponent to score with them. It makes for entertaining, wacky and sometimes thrilling, hold-your-breath victories.

Or, it makes for a devastating loss.

The Flyers were on the good side Tuesday.

They should know that won't always be the case.

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