Saturday, December 2, 2017

Inside Access: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
December 2, 2017
Game Time – 1 p.m.


The Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-7, 23 points) are in last place in the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan Division). The Boston Bruins (11-8-4, 26 points) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division.

The Flyers enter the afternoon home contest on a nine game winless streak. Ron Hextall's team stands seven points out of the wild card qualifying spot with plenty of schedule left to play.

The squad head coach Dave Hakstol has been given this season is very young on defense, has been affected by early-season injuries and Radko Gudas' 10-game suspension. 'Hak' was recently put on the hot seat by vocal Philly fans. He's the easy mark in what is actually another year in a franchise rebuild that could reasonably project to a serious playoff contender in 2019-20.

Hextall's inking of veteran goalie Brian Elliot and holdover backup backstop Michal Neuvirth to two-year deals (through next season) indicates the general manager's feel for the future. The progress of perceived top net prospect contenders Carter Hart (who will turn 20 on August 13, 2018) and Felix Sandstrom (who will turn 21 on January 12, 2018) may link to Philadelphia's next push for the ever elusive third Stanley Cup title.

First Period

Early power play yielded no result for the Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds and Kevan Miller fought at 11:31 into the period. Both combatants got their hits in. Five-minute majors were accessed.

Goal by Bruins' Ryan Spooner with 5:30 left in the period. 1-0 Boston.

Ivan Provorov – penalty later in the period.

Flyers were outshot 15-8 in the frame.

Second Period

Miller holding penalty at 2:08.

David Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 2-0 on an even-strength goal at 6:38.

Brad Marchand picked up an easy rebound goal at 10:44 to give Boston what felt like a commanding lead. At the time the Flyers had 15 shots with only a few legitimate scoring opportunities.

Claude Giroux wristed in a power play goal at 19:01. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy challenged goaltender interference by Wayne Simmonds on the play. Interference was confirmed, no goal. The crowd erupted differently then when it thought Giroux had scored.

Third Period

The slumping Flyers skated out to start the last 20 minutes knowing that they might not win, but at least needed to demonstrate effort to try and build momentum for their upcoming three-game road trip.

Tuukka Rask was having a relatively easy time of it in goal for the Bruins as the 10-minute remaining mark neared. That was true despite the fact that the Flyers had nearly tied the Bruins in shots (22-25).

Meanwhile, Elliot continued his generally steady play in net, as he also has during this season. Number 37 seemingly surrendered the Bruins' fourth goal of the game on an odd ricocheted shot that bounced over the shoulder of the Flyers' crease-keeper, who was screened on the play and never saw the puck coming. The play was reviewed and yielded a no-goal call due to a high stick.

The Flyers looked tired and disjointed during this period. A lack of experience continued to be evident on both sides of the ice, as positioning and coverage issues abounded.

Michael Raffl shot a puck over the net during a scrum with 6:37 left. He slumped his head, as did the team and its fans while the shutout persisted. The Flyers had been shutout five times so far this season.

Boston's Charlie McAvoy caused a high-sticking penalty to create a Flyers power play with 6:14 remaining. Nothing resulted.

David Krejci was called for high-sticking with 3:07 remaining, creating another Philadelphia pp. Hakstol's squad couldn't claim it lacked opportunities prior to the final horn sounding. 

The head coach pulled Elliot to apply extra pressure. No goal was scored. Elliot never returned to the net.

Another troubling loss telegraphed predictable postgame angst among Flyers' players and their on-ice boss.

Final score: Bruins 3 Flyers 0

Per the Flyers media relations department: The Flyers are now without a win in their last 10 games (0-5-5), which ties for the third-longest such streak in franchise history. The last time the Flyers went 11 without a win was during their franchise-record 12-game winless streak (0-8-4) from Feb. 24 – March 16, 1999. 

Postgame Quotes

Responses to media questions after the game:

Flyers G Brian Elliott

Brian would you say the two goals that Boston scored in the second period were the result of effort and hustle on their part?

We knew they have been a good face off team for years. Both kind of came from icings that we had and when you’re tired out there and they know what plays they are making, that’s kinda the result.

Kinda running out of different questions here, this seems like groundhog day these past ten, what can you guys find to change this?

I wish I had the answer we would be turning it around I guess, right? It’s getting tiring coming out here trying to explain a game or two, it’s about playing the game the right way and playing smart. I think we’re working really hard, but sometimes I think when you’re spinning your tires a little bit, nothing gets accomplished. We played a good team that has very good structure and if you don’t make the smart play every time they are gonna turn around and bring it the other way. We saw a lot of odd-man rushes that kinda resulted from plays like that.

Brian, you’ve been on the other end on some of those goaltender interference calls, when you looked up at the screen and saw the replay of Simmer did you say oh yeah we will get this one?

Yeah, I saw the one angle and I didn’t see anything. He was well outside the crease and I think he just had a good screen on him, but I didn’t see any other angles or anything, so it’s not my call, but we definitely could have used that one.

Does that reaffirm your belief that it’s really hard to gage what is goaltender interference and what’s not anymore?

Yeah, like I said I will have to watch it from a different angle, but yeah its gray and we gotta keep working to get these bounces here for us.

How much does that take the wind out of your sails when that one gets reversed?

You have to let it not take the wind out of your sails, we still had a power play after that and everything so we gotta just accept it and move on. If you get hung up looking at those things, saying what could have been, the game is gonna answer back.

I don’t know if you’ve been on a team that has had a streak like this before…inaudible…

It’s just having belief and sticking together, it’s not a magical recipe, it’s playing the game the right way. We have the personnel in here to do it, you gotta keep going. There’s no give up in this, that’s what I know for sure.

Can going out west help the team at this point?

We’re gonna use whatever we can I guess, but there are tough buildings that we’re gonna go into, we have to play. No one is going to hand us games, no one is feeling sorry for us right now, so it’s all in this room right here.

Flyers RW Jake Voracek

A huge loss like this becomes harder to find the answers.

“One hundred percent. It’s tough. It’s tough. Ten games you never thought you would be part of anything like that but nobody feels sorry for us. So we go on a tough west road trip. You just gotta make sure we grind out some points there. Obviously everything we touch right now turns to ****.”

You guys are accountable to each other but how much does that become more difficult as this rolls on here?

“It’s raw but like I said it is obviously a tough stretch but it’s long season. You just gotta start believing in ourselves a little bit more and play a little more free. I think right now especially the last two games I think we worked really hard but no results. You know what I mean. Just simplify things a bit and play with a little bit more joy. Which is obviously tough when we lose eight nine games but it’s something you have to find a way.”

When guys are working hard and not smart does that mean that you are getting out of the system?

“No they scored three goals today. The first one, mistake turnover. The second one, faceoff. Third one out of the scrum. Great play by their D. It’s simple, we didn’t score. You can’t win games if you don’t score. We scored one goal in two games. It’s tough.”

When the game was still scoreless. Coots made a good play create a power play for you guys. Simmers fight. Provy with the big hit. These are things when things are going well you can build momentum off of. When things are going like this does it build frustration that doesn’t get followed up from shifts to follow?
“I wouldn’t say it’s built frustration. It’s just something we haven’t done but I think we did today but like I said everything we touch it’s just bad. You know what I mean. Every mistake we make it’s in our net. We cannot score. Like I said we are in this together. Players, coaches we just gotta make sure we find a way to win some games and get on a streak here because it’s slipping away.”

Another example of a penalty taking you guys out of a power play today. Is that built frustration as lack of success on the power play that led to that?
“Yeah, obviously you don’t want to take penalties when you are on the power play. Sometimes it is bad luck sometimes it is a bad play. I think that play was a frustration today but I think overall we are taking to many penalties. Not only on our power play I think overall in every game. We had three games in a row when we took five six penalties it’s hard to contain.”

Flyers Head Coach Dave Hakstol

I guess that’s another case of working hard and not smart.

I don’t know what that means actually, I thought our effort level was good, the compete level was good. What got us in terms of the execution of the goals against we made mistakes and they took advantage of those mistakes. I don’t think you can just roll it into one ball of wax and say we worked hard, but not smart. There were mistakes that led to the goals, but our team did work hard, continued to work hard through the 60 minutes and obviously that’s not what we came here for it’s about two points and we didn’t get those.

Looking at Gostisbehere’s penalty, he said he was just trying to play, how do you see that?

I don’t want to get into a debate on the penalty calls or anything like that, I don’t want to get in debate on all the individual calls, you know what I mean, trying to make a hard play obviously the refs thought that it was a penalty and that’s the call that he made.

I don’t think the question is so much about the validity of the penalty, but whether it was out of frustration as a opposed to one of those so called hard-working penalties, was he trying to even the score from the hit Marchand had on him earlier? 

Well there’s probably a little bit of that there at that time of game I would rather he make a different choice, I’ll leave it at that.

On Boston’s two second period goals, how much of that was effort, outworking you guys on those two goals, and how much of that was due to the fact that you iced the puck and you’re coming back and maybe had some tired guys out there?

Both stem from icings that we’d like to avoid and then they’re different plays from there, one’s a faceoff playoff that we get beat off the wall to a puck in the middle of the rink and then the second one is a coverage out of a scrum on the half wall in our zone. We have four guys in on that pile and we should have three on the pile and two on the outside of it.

On the disallowed goal, did you get an explanation right away on that?

Not right away, but I did get the explanation on it, yes.

Like after the period or something?

Yeah at the appropriate time, the refs aren’t supposed to come right over after a call like that so they followed the process the right way. If you’re asking about it from me it’s a good goal on the ice, it’s an awful close play when I look at it biased of our side, but I think it’s one of those it’s too close to overturn, they felt differently on it and that’s the call that they made.
You might’ve seen him [Wayne] clip him [Rask] but he was pretty close to out of the crease is that what you saw?

There’s a lot I don’t want to get into the details of it, that’s what I felt, I don’t want to get into the details of why I felt that way, again I don’t want to get into a referendum [on the officiating].

Is it difficult to get into the details cause the rules kind of floating around out there right now?

Yeah, I don’t want to get into it, I’m not trying to avoid it – that’s not the part of this game that we control so I’ll answer the questions on the things that we do control.

Dave when you’re going through a stretch like this do you have to balance between pulling the positives out of the game and accentuating some of the negatives without having the players feel the negativity, do you know what I mean?

I think you gotta do both, you gotta deal with things straight up as they are, you gotta deal with them directly and evenly and that’s the only approach.

What’s the thought process in the third behind benching TK?

Well he wasn’t benched, he did get on the ice. But that ice time is a little bit earned as well in terms of, we put together a unit that could allow us to switch up the matchup against Bergeron, obviously to free up Coots’s line a little bit more on that. The mix was put together after that with kind of a top nine in mind and a bottom three and TK was in the bottom three at that point in time.

Have you seen a difference between the play in the last two games versus the play in the first eight, a lot of those games were toss ups, these two obviously haven’t been.

I thought the other night was a tired hockey game for us, tonight we had opportunities in the second that change the complexion of this game and they scored on a couple of their good opportunities, to that point it’s a very close hockey game. Once we get into the third instead of having that injection of life that our bench needed at that point with a late power play goal, we gotta come in and try to climb out of a 3-nothing hole and we couldn’t do that tonight.

A couple players said that getting out on the road for a while might be a good change of pace, do you say that might be the case?

That’s the reality of the schedule, the Western Canadian swing is not an easy one, but it’s a good time for us to go out and challenge ourselves to push in the right direction. 


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