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Flyers-Sharks observations: Stink, stank, stunk

With another game tonight in Ottawa, the Flyers have to fix things quickly after a one-sided, home-opening loss.

Timo Meier, center, of the Sharks scores between the legs of Brian Elliott, right, of the Flyers. Andrew MacDonald is at left.
Timo Meier, center, of the Sharks scores between the legs of Brian Elliott, right, of the Flyers. Andrew MacDonald is at left.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote:

Stink … stank … stunk!

From "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

That's a song that played over and over in the head as the Flyers' 8-2 loss Tuesday night to San Jose wound down in the third period, a 6-1 embarrassment expanding to 8-2 as the Flyers reconstituted their home opener into a game of pond hockey.

Contrary to the treatment he received from what was left of Gritty Nation at the end,  Brian "Moose" Elliott was not the equivalent of a pair of boots. He battled himself as much as the Sharks on Tuesday, yes, but he stopped 40 shots. Those final two goals, like the six that preceded them, were about as contested by the Flyers as shootout goals are.

"Yeah, we sucked,'' defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "It is what it is. I mean I feel so [bleeping] bad for Moose right now. We left him out to dry. He was our best player tonight.''

So now what? How does a team fix all that by the puck drop in Ottawa tonight?

The same way San Jose did in shaking off a shutout loss the previous night to a rebuilding Islanders team. "Just the small tweaks, I'd say,'' Sharks forward Kevin Lebanc was saying after Tuesday night's game. "Keeping it simple, getting the shot off, and getting those gritty goals instead of those nice pretty ones.''

"I liked our energy from the drop of the puck through the first couple of shifts,'' Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "It's the decision making. The first goal, we have everything in place where we want it, but we give up a puck, give up a three-on-one. Then we give up a quick one off a center-ice faceoff. That should never happen. That's not an energy issue. That's… focus on detail.''

"Some of us really have to look in the mirror on this team,'' Gostisbehere said.

The early three-on-one that resulted in Logan Couture's goal was not a rookie's mistake. That was Ivan Provorov, now in his third season, taking an ill-advised shot from the point with the rest of his team in the zone. Decision making. Details. Provorov has not looked like himself in any of the early games, but three ugly giveaways Tuesday night matched a minus-3 for the night, and reflected a poster-boy performance for the bad-decision, soft-on-puck malaise that Hakstol said affected the entire team.

That's not entirely true. Michael Raffl was noticeably strong on pucks and playmaking all night. While he finished a minus-2, Nolan Patrick played his most energetic game yet, even won 10 of 13 faceoffs. Whipping boy Radko Gudas was not on the ice for any of the four first-period goals, registered seven of the Flyers' 18 hits, blocked three shots, and was charged with just one giveaway on a night when the Flyers' total of 14 doubled that of San Jose.

Gudas was minus-1 for the night, but that goal allowed came moments after he emerged from the penalty box.

The rest?

"We sucked,'' Ghost, who registered a goal and six shots,  repeated. "It's defense — that's what it is.''

"I think every man in this room is better than that including myself,'' Elliott said. "You've seen it around the league with some higher scorers. Sometimes it takes a little bit of a wake-up call. I don't think we had the structure to take on their attack.

"I'm sure we'll look at some video and try to nail down some details. Some of it comes down to grit and just battle level, and some comes down to details that we have to work out as well as far as structure and what we want to be doing out there.''


The eight goals allowed by the Flyers are the most they've given up in a home opener in franchise history. The previous high came in the first home game of the 1971-72 season, a 7-0 loss to Los Angeles. … The 48 shots are the most the Flyers have allowed in a game since they allowed 52 at Pittsburgh on Nov. 27, 2017. It ties the record for most shots allowed at the Wells Fargo Center, last set on Dec. 20, 2008 vs. Washington, and is the most they've allowed in a home game since Montreal had 49 on Dec. 23, 1990 at the Spectrum. … The last time the Flyers had given up at least eight goals to a team was Oct. 27, 2011, when they dropped a 9-8 decision to the Winnipeg Jets.