The Flyers said they’re going to spend Sunday’s off day looking in the mirror. That sure beats looking at the game film.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored two goals each and Carter Hart had an epic (but harmless) meltdown as the Flyers lost meekly to the Bruins, 6-1, in Boston.
“They slapped us right in the face,” said Kevin Hayes, who scored the Flyers’ only goal, but was a minus-2. “That was not a fun game to be part of.”
As the horn sounded on the miserable night, in which Hart allowed a career-high in goals, the young netminder slammed his stick against the net a half-dozen times, splintering the thing to smithereens.
“It kind of just boiled over. I regret doing that,” Hart said. “I’m not a guy who gets angry too often, but I was just frustrated. It was unprofessional for me to do that.”
Hart has not been the rock lately that he was last season, giving up 14 goals in his last three games.
“He’s one of the best goalies in the league,” Hayes said, “and we hung him out to dry.”
Coach Alain Vigneault can espouse the next-man-up attitude until his silk tie turns purple, but the Flyers had no answers again for Boston’s top line, especially Bergeron, the center.
To be clear, the Flyers’ problems go beyond the injury absences of Sean Couturier and Phil Myers and the sudden retirement of Matt Niskanen.
They were pushed around by the Bruins, staggered in their own zone, and the only defenseman they added for Niskanen -- Erik Gustafsson -- is an adventure. He was caught flat-footed by Bergeron on the Bruins’ fourth goal.
“[We were] unacceptable in every aspect of the game,” Hayes sighed. “I think everyone needs to figure out what went wrong and correct it in practice.”
The Flyers dropped to 3-2-1 on the season and have lost consecutive road games for the first time since last season’s dreadful West Coast holiday trip. Boston, the best team in the regular season a year ago, was without league-leading scorer David Pastrnak.
“There’s no doubt there’s some frustration and disappointment within our group,” Vigneault said. “It starts with me to get our group to play up to its potential. We’re going to go home. We’re going to regroup. We’re going to have a good practice on Monday.”
In an effort to help Hayes’ line defensively, Vigneault replaced Joel Farabee at left wing with Michael Raffl.
Bergeron again burned the Flyers by winning an offensive zone faceoff to start the Bruins’ first power play. Fourteen seconds later, he scored the game’s first goal, and the Flyers were skating uphill all night.
During the Bruins’ third-period and overtime surge on Thursday, Boston won 18 of the last 24 faceoffs, including Bergeron winning six of his last eight in front of Hart.
The faceoff numbers were better (32-27, Flyers), but Boston generated more chances from their faceoff wins than the Flyers.
Hart had a wonderful right pad save on Bergeron early in the second, which seemed to give the Flyers a brief lift. Hayes scored on the next shift on a deflection from Voracek, who had four assists in the two-game set against Boston.
Boston responded 76 seconds later with a goal from Craig Smith to take the lead for good. Charlie Coyle had a pretty -- and fortunate -- tip in at the end of the second to make it 3-1. Marchand scored twice early in the third to put things out of reach.
Claude Giroux played in his 610th game as Flyers captain on Saturday, tying the Flyers’ record held by Bobby Clarke, who coincidentally announced Giroux’s name (after briefly forgetting it) when the Flyers drafted Giroux in 2006.
Giroux (God-willing) will break Clarke’s record on Tuesday when the Flyers visit New Jersey. It also will be the 321st consecutive game for Giroux (and for Ivan Provorov, too).
Couturier (rib) is expected to be out at least another week, so he won’t be available for the Devils series. But it’s possible that he could be back in time for the rematch series against Boston on Feb. 3 and 5.
“Coots is an unbelievable player, and it’s easy to say we lost because he wasn’t in the lineup, but I think it goes way beyond that,” Hayes concluded. “I think [us losing] one-on-one battles is the main reason we lost tonight.”