The Sixers are circling the drain. The Phillies are in last place. We’re getting some heavy storms later today. And we’re still on the wrong side of this damn pandemic.
Worst of all, the Flyers were so desperate for a spark that their coach pulled the goaltender with seven minutes left in the third period. SEVEN! All that did was allow the Islanders to score an empty-net goal on a clear up the boards from 195 feet that took a screwy bounce.
But all is not lost. If you’re still under the covers avoiding the day, we don’t blame you. But we’re also here to offer hope. Even as Flyers Twitter loses its collective mind.
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The Flyers have had an uncanny knack for picking themselves up off the canvas and steadying themselves for the next round. They have not lost two games in a row since early January, and many times, their responses after a loss have been fascinating.
Consider: Their loss Jan. 7 at Carolina wrapped up a six-game road trip that was so misadventurous you’d have thought Clark Griswold put together the itinerary. But the Flyers beat Washington the very next night in a victory I consider the most important of the year.
A few weeks later, a loss to Pittsburgh was followed up by beating Colorado. They were flattened by lowly New Jersey on Feb. 6, and won convincingly in Washington on Feb. 8. They were creamed by Montreal in Game 2, and came back with consecutive shutouts in Games 3 and 4 to regain control of that series.
“That says a lot about this team, that we can rebound from [poor games],” said winger Jake Voracek, the only player on the top line worthy of being on the top line. “I have no doubt that we’re going to do that. We’re down 1-nothing. It’s a long series. … It’s one game. We’ll look at the mistakes and move on.”
Coach Alain Vigneault said it didn’t feel like a 4-0 game. It sure did in the first period when the Islanders outshot the Flyers 15-4. If not for Carter Hart, the Flyers practically could have been back at their bubblicious hotel ordering room service by 8 o’clock.
But they played better in the second and early in the third. They still lost, but in their eyes, it wasn’t the disaster it appears to be. We got this, the players said. Voracek’s getting some help from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier would be the most important step. Their next goal will be their first since the season restarted.
Giroux has one goal in his last 23 playoff games. He had a 13-game goalless drought that ended in early February with a three-point night in Washington. He went on a tear after that.
I didn’t like what I saw Monday night, either. But this is not time to hide under the covers. Get up. Stand tall. Face the day.
But don’t forget that umbrella, just in case.
“This group has always found a way to respond,” Vigneault said, “and we’ll definitely respond on Wednesday.”
Five notable numbers from Monday night.
Yesterday: Game 1 — Islanders, 4-0
Tomorrow: Game 2 — vs. Islanders, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thursday, Aug. 27: Game 3 — vs. Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Saturday, Aug. 29: Game 4 — vs. Islanders, 12 p.m. (NBC)
*Monday, Aug. 31: Game 5 — vs. Islanders, time/TV TBD
*Wednesday, Sept. 2: Game 6 — vs. Islanders, time/TV TBD
*Thursday, Sept. 3: Game 7 — vs. Islanders, time/TV TBD
*If necessary. ... All games in Toronto. ... The Flyers are the designated home team for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.
Question: I think Laughts [Scott Laughton] has been a huge liability over the past 3 to 4 games. Turning the puck over at an incredible rate. Any thoughts on switching him out for a game? — @Mattmck0131 via Twitter
Answer: He went from being one of the Flyers’ best players in the round robin to struggling mightily in the playoffs. I still think you stay with him and hope he bounces back. His confidence seems to have taken a hit.
Question: What about [bringing up Morgan] Frost? — @xKrAzY_8sx via Twitter
Answer: They could roll the dice with him. But he hasn’t played in so long and he would probably be rusty.