Exactly 50 years ago the Philadelphia Flyers were born. They haven’t won a Stanley Cup in the last 41 of those years.
As the organization and city of Philadelphia began their half-century celebration of one of the most storied franchises in hockey Tuesday night, the team on the ice was very reflective of those 41 seasons of struggle.
In a dirty, ugly and penalty-riddled battle against the Ducks, Anaheim prevailed 4-1, as the Flyers dropped their third straight after winning two in a row to start the season’s second half.
Every measurable (and unmeasurable for that matter) in Tuesday’s game was atrociously skewed against the Flyers as they were beaten to every puck, were generally unable to secure possession and were flagged for a ridiculous eightpenalties in the first two period for 19 penalty minutes (the Ducks actuallyhad nine for 23 in the game).
Here are the three biggest takeaways from a game that, by all accounts, was a little out of control.
With the Ducks on the second day of a back-to-back the Flyers were looking for a fast start. Being outshot 12-1 in the game’s first 12 minutesis not what they had in mind. And relenting a power play goal to Anaheim (scored by Rickard Rakell) is also not on the to-do list.
Trailing 1-0, the Flyers defense failed them once again as the Ducks’ 13th shot resulted in Rakell’s second goal of the game putting Philly behind 2-0 with around five minutes to go in the first.
Typically a rock in net, Steve Mason faltered twice on Anaheim’s first two, making a pair of mistakes he certainly will be thinking about for a little while.
After heading into intermission down by two, the Philly boo-birds were not shy to share their thoughts with the dreary hockey club.
Can’t take the pressure
The Ducks, who only had twomore wins than the Flyers coming in looked elite on the forecheck and in the defensive zone, creating pressure on the puck and filling the passing lanes, minimizing Flyers’ opportunities.
Without the windows through whichto create scoring chances, the offense was mum — especially early with the Flyers outshot 15-5 in the first 20 minutes.
In the second period Philly had more focus, rallying off the next eight consecutive shots while controlling the puck much more comfortably.
It didn’t make much of a difference, as the Flyers fell into a deeper hole after Chris Stewart was awarded — and drilled — a penalty shot to put Anaheim up 3-0.
A fracas that sent five players into the penalty box with minor penalties certainly made the second period interesting, (with Brandon Manning and Patrick Maroon earning fighting majors) with the orange and black eventually killing off a 4 on 3 and 5 on 3 during the aftermath.
For a very long and violent second period, there were six Flyers penalties an five for Anaheim. And the teams saw every possible power play/short-handed situation possible.
A little solace came at the 6:05 mark in the third when a Claude Giroux slap shot was flipped in on a rebound by Wayne Simmonds to cut the deficit to 3-1. Shayne Gostisbehere extended his point streak to nine with a secondary assist on the strike. An empty netter by Andrew Cogliano put the Ducks up 4-1 in the last minute of action.
It was a mixed bag for fans, who were tortured by one of the worst performances this year but also bore witness to old school, Broad Street Bullies hockey. Ironically, when the dust settled Philly actually outshot the Ducks 29-26.