VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A year after the Flyers turned around their season in Western Canada, this trip may have cost Dave Hakstol his job (see story).
The Flyers turned in another dreadful effort Saturday night in a 5-1 loss to the Canucks at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Canucks scored three times in the first 11-plus minutes.
The Flyers were swept in Western Canada, losing three games in four days.
Can you believe the Flyers lost yet another goalie to an injury and what should we make of Hakstol’s line combinations?
• I’m not sure what Hakstol’s thought process was with these new-look lines. Nolan Patrick goes from fourth-line checking center back to the second line, where he has just one point in his last 13 games. Jordan Weal and Jori Lehtera, two healthy scratches for the majority of this trip, are your third- and-fourth-line centers. James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny on a third line. It’s as if the coach threw darts on a dartboard. That third line was a big head-scratcher with no real defensive presence and very little time in the offensive zone.
• The Flyers had some real jump in the first three minutes but all of that was zapped once the Canucks scored the opening goal. As Shayne Gostisbehere stated after the Oilers' loss, the Flyers get “down on themselves” when trailing and they turn into a “negative bunch.”
• Somehow, the Flyers made Chris Tanev look like the next coming of Erik Karlsson as he took the puck from just inside the blue line and weaved his way through the Flyers' defense from the high slot and roofed a backhand shot over the shoulder of Anthony Stolarz. Tanev hadn’t scored a goal in his first 29 games, and yet Wayne Simmonds simply can’t allow that play to happen and his feeble attempt at defense was unacceptable.
Pettersson? ❌— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2018
TANEV!!! WHAT A GOAL!!! 🚨🔥 pic.twitter.com/euGV5x4Enx
• The Flyers pulled Stolarz after allowing two goals on four shots. Loui Eriksson’s goal was one Stolarz should have stopped as he was slow to react, perhaps the result of an injury. However, there were breakdowns galore leading up to that point. Gostisbehere was busy chasing and skating in circles during that entire sequence with the puck in the Flyers' zone and Weal completely overskated the rebound.
• As for Weal, he could have had both loose puck opportunities on the Canucks' second and third goals. On the 2-0 goal, it appeared Weal completely overskated the puck and ran into Gostisbehere. On the 3-0 goal, Weal took a bad angle and wasn’t positioned between the puck and Josh Leivo, who fired a sharp-angled shot that certainly Alex Lyon should have stopped. Right now, there are very few forwards I trust to do their job in the defensive end of the ice.
• Apparently, Stolarz suffered some type of lower-body injury and was not on the bench for the Flyers to begin the second period. The Flyers resorted to having Rylan Toth on standby, an emergency backup goaltender supplied by Vancouver’s hockey ops department. The 22-year-old Toth plays for the University of British Columbia and was only on hand in the event something happened to Lyon.
• As for Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings, right now it appears Michal Neuvirth is in line to make the start after leaving Thursday to be with his wife, who’s expecting the birth of their child.
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