The Flyers continue to remain punchless on a nightly basis.
In this case, it was a dreary 3-0 loss Thursday night to the Devils, who got an early Adam Henrique goal off a deflection, and then spent the rest of the evening checking the Flyers into the ice. That made 41-year-old surefire Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur’s 122nd career shutout — his 12th against the Flyers — relatively easy.
Brodeur only needed to make 22 saves, few of them difficult, as the Flyers were unable to mount any semblance of a sustained attack in falling to 4-10-1 on the year.
The grizzly numbers seem incomprehensible for a team that still has 12 players remaining from the 2012 club that scored 30 goals in a first-round, six-game playoff upset of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. That includes Claude Giroux, whose spectacular play in that series led to then-coach Peter Laviolette calling him “the best player in the world.”
Yet this team has an NHL-worst 22 goals to show for its 15 games, team captain Giroux is still searching for his first and Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell have just one apiece. They’ve managed just two goals in the last four, but thanks to stellar goaltending from Ray Emery and Steve Mason, they managed to steal a win and overtime loss.
However, the frustration is beginning to get to them, as the players held an impromptu players-only meeting after being serenaded by boos as they left the ice.
“We talked about a lot of stuff, not really anything I’m going to share,” said Simmonds. “We know what we did wrong, and we’re trying to address it. Obviously, we hear the boos. It just means we aren’t doing our job. The fans react to what they see and that’s not good enough.”
While there are still 67 games remaining, the Flyers know they’re digging a hole for themselves. They’ve already squandered an early favorable schedule with nine home games, meaning they’re going to need to make up ground on the road. Of course, when you’re not scoring it wouldn’t matter if you played on the moon.
“It was good that we talked,” said defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was victimized by Cam Janssen’s early third period goal, which caromed off his skate past Emery, before former Flyer Jaromir Jagr put it away with an open-net goal. “We’ve got to straighten some things up and we talked about it.
“We have to move forward. We have a lot of games left to turn this thing around.”
Next up is Edmonton here Saturday, a team actually playing worse than they are (4-11-2).
The trick now is turning those postgame words into actions — and goals.