In a crucial week, the Philadelphia Flyers came up short, earning no points against Eastern Conference Stanley Cup contenders, losing to the Boston Bruins 3-0. It was the Flyers' third straight loss.
A game with a largely defensive identity took seven minutes to get the first shot on goal. Danny Briere let a weak shot fly to open the shooting stat. That opened the floodgates of scoring—for the other side.
Now 5-9-0 in games against the current playoff set, acrimoniously booed off the Wells Fargo Center ice after a sadsack performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves at a crux. Are they a playoff team?
Is this team, that needs to be bailed out by magical timeouts on a daily basis, that can only play 20 minutes on any given night, that cannot get the big save when they need it, a playoff team?
The Flyers and Senators made some noise outside of the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.
The big hits and the fights got the crowd vocally active in the Flyers 2-1 win over the Senators, and it will get the NHL's head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan vocally involved sometime in the next couple days.
The highlight of the extracurricular activities came midway through the first period. Flyers winger Harry Zolnierczyk came flying across the ice to deliver a massive hit on Ottawa's Mike Lundin.
Zolnierczyk left his feet to deliver the hit, driving his shoulder into the head of Lundin. Lundin was knocked out of the game due to the hit, and Zolnierczyk got a five-minute major for charging and a 10-minute game misconduct.
(Pictured: Harry Zolnierczyk lays out Mike Lundin as Zac Rinaldo looks on. AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Many people have expressed concern with the defense of the Flyers this season.
It’s one of many concerns fans have when it comes to this team. Unfortunately, controversial offseason acquisitions and an injury to Andrej Meszaros have complicated things.
The third pairing for the Flyers is currently Bruno Gervais and Erik Gustafsson.
If it were up to the fans, Gervais would have never come to Philadelphia and Gustafsson would have been in the lineup all season. But agree or disagree with the signing, it happened, and Peter Laviolette can only play the guys that he has.
But when you actually think about it, things are not as bad as they seem. Let’s take a look at the two main concerns of fans right now.
(Pictured: Erik Gustafsson takes down NJ's Adam Henrique in last year's playoffs. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
All it takes is one ill-fated blast from the point to ruin a season.
At the time, that unfortunate situation struck Scott Hartnell down on January 24—a 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. A rocket propelled puck off the stick of Kimmo Timonen broke the first metatarsil in his left foot, keeping him out of action for a while.
Hartnell has since returned, and in his return, he has scored a goal and added two assists since then. The team also won two of its last three games in its homestand at the Wells Fargo Center since the #19 orange sweater stepped back onto the ice.
(Pictured: Scott Hartnell celebrates after scoring his first goal on Monday. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Flyers have acquired former left winger Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flyers sent a conditional fourth round pick to the Kings in exchange for Gagne, bringing the 33-year-old winger back to Philadelphia where he spent the first 10 seasons of his career here. If the Flyers make the playoffs, it becomes a third round pick.
"Simon is a guy who has a lot of experience and played in a lot of positions, penalty kill, power play and regular shifts," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He is a good two way player that can skate. We think he will add to us a lot.”
Six times the Flyers attempted to get their record back to .500 and six times they have failed so far this season.
At 9-11-1, you have to start to wonder why that has been the case. It happened again last night when the Flyers dropped a home game 4-2 to the Maple Leafs, playing flat for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Is it mental? Are they snake-bitten? Or is this all just one big coincidence? Regardless, the Flyers need to earn every point they can get their hands on because this is a shortened season and every point matters just a little bit more if a team wants to make the playoffs.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov cannot stop a rebound shot by Mikhail Grabovski in the third period. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Getting to .500 has been an uphill battle for the Flyers and it continued on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An absolute sluggish outing until the final half of the third period cost the Flyers a chance to even up in the standings and get some much-needed points. And though the Leafs were almost equally as sluggish, they came out with the 4-2 win in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the Flyers are pressing to get to .500, but whatever it is, the effort was poor once again. Head coach Peter Laviolette didn't think they were pressing though.
(Pictured: Jakub Voracek battles with Toronto's Cody Franson in front of goalie Ben Scrivens. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Former Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk returns to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded this off season for Luke Schenn. He already has a goal against his former team back in Toronto and he is looking for more.