Flyers 0 (6-6-1, 13 PTS ) @ Blackhawks 3 (6-5-2, 14 PTS)
As the calendar flips to November, Philadelphia opened up their stretch of games vs. Central Division teams with a loss in the Windy City. This is the 3rd time that the Flyers have been shutout in their first 13 games. Corey Crawford won the battle of the goaltenders as both he and Brian Elliot performed well under the national spotlight. A much better effort from the Arizona game was expected, and they delivered on that expectation although falling to the Hawks.
Play kicked off at the United Center with action on both ends of the ice. Both Brian Elliot and Corey Crawford were tested throughout the period, with each goalie up to the task of keeping the rubber out of the puck. Philadelphia surprisingly carried the play through the first 20 minutes as they outshot Chicago 8-7 during 5-on-5 play. Chicago was given two power plays in the 1st period and the Flyers held Chicago scoreless.
Philadelphia had the two best chances of the period as Valtteri Filppula had his wrap around attempt denied at the post and Jake Voracek nearly beat Crawford after the puck made it’s way towards the net after a weird bounce off the stantion. On the Hawk’s 2nd power play, Robert Hagg came to Elliot’s aid as he found a loose puck squeaking through his equipment and swatted it out of the blue paint.
Robert Hagg 🙌 pic.twitter.com/LGX6dPwoL0
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) November 2, 2017
Tonight was a much better effort in the opening period from the Orange and Black.
That good effort the Flyers showed in the 1st period was all for naught as they found themselves down 2 goals as they headed to the locker room for intermission. Play at even strength; had been exactly that, even. It was on the man advantage where the Flyers got caught. In this period they faced two full power plays and the back end of a power play that carried over from the first period.
Chicago’s first goal came up a man when Artem Anisimov buried a rebound into the net. Anisimov won the intial faceoff, the puck made it’s way to Cody Franson who blasted a slap shot that Elliot could not corral and Anisimov was there to put it away. This was definitely a goal Elliot and the Flyers would have liked to have back.
Seemingly within seconds Chicago’s lead had doubled to 2, and Robert Hagg found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum this period after making a good play in the first. The puck hopped over his stuck and he found himself flat-footed and could not chase down Hawks captain Jonathon Towes who made no mistake on the breakaway and slid the puck right through Elliot’s five hole. On the other end, Corey Crawford has had every answer for the Flyers, through forty minutes.
Despite facing the two goal disadvantage, Philadelphia came out for the 3rd period raring to go and created a ton of havoc and chances in front of Chicago’s net. Tonight was just one of those nights where nothing goes right for a team, as they couldn’t buy a goal. Claude Giroux had the best chance of the period when he collected a two line pass from Voracek and skated in on Crawford, once again he turned the shot away and any other Flyer attempts. With just over two minutes left to play, Coach Dave Hakstol pulled his netminder and Alex DeBrincat put the game on ice with an empty netter.
For a team that came into the season with so much depth, it truly is getting tested early on this season. Defenseman Radko Gudas left tonight’s game in the 2nd period and never returned with an upper-body injury. It seems unlikely that he will be able to play tomorrow night, joining Shayne Gostisbehere, Andrew MacDonald, and Sam Morin on the shelf.
In the first period, Connor Murphy laid into Taylor Leier along the blue line and sent the Flyer crashing to the ice. At real time it looked like a clean hit with no contact to the head, but upon review when slowed down Murphy lifts up into the head and he does leave his feet. It’s a 50/50 hit and there was no call on the ice, so he may hear from the league about it and he might not. For his trouble he had a short lived scrap with Scott Laughton after turning down a go with Wayne Simmonds. Probably a smart idea, in my opinion.
Even though he took the loss tonight, Brian Elliot looked his most comfortable in net. He by no means played a bad game despite giving up the two goals. I’m sure he’d like to have done better on the first goal with the rebound, but there was absolutely nothing he could do on Towes’ breakaway. I’d expect Michal Neuvirth to start tomorrow night to close out the back-to-back, but maybe Coach Hakstol will throw us a curveball at the morning skate.
Flyers @ Blues
11/2/17 8:00 P.M.