Flyers ’embarrassed, angered’ by fright night 7-1 loss

Claude Giroux

PITTSBURGH – Claude Giroux called it embarrassing.

Sean Couturier echoed that sentiment and threw a “horrible’’ on top of it.

Starting goalie Brian Elliott, after getting shelled for six goals, confirmed there was anger in the Flyers’ post-game locker room after Tuesday night’s 7-1 debacle at the hands of the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

And why not? While only 11 games have been played so far this season, it’s unlikely the Flyers will (or can) play any worse than this stinker.

As was the case in Sunday night’s loss on Long Island, the Flyers came out flat and gave up goals in bunches.

“We didn’t come out strong and they were ready,’’ said Couturier, mindful of the 4-0 goal and 16-6 shot deficits in the first period.

“They really gave it to us. It’s tough when you allow three or four goals in the first period. We’re going to have to learn from it. This is twice in a row. We’ll have to be better.’’

Giroux needed less than a minute to get his feelings across in the post-game locker room.

“It’s embarrassing the way we played,’’ he said. “We didn’t have a good game in New York, we came here and we needed to rebound and have a good game.

“It starts with the older guys. I have to be better, veterans have to be better. We have to be ready for these games. Energy, playing smart. . .those are just details. I don’t give a (bleep). We have to figure it out, play the right way. You’re a professional athlete. You have to be able to show up every night.’’

No rout in Pittsburgh could happen without the likes of Sidney Crosby.

The Penguins superstar hit the 100-point century mark in his 68th career game against the Flyers, registering an assist on Pittsburgh’s third goal of a four-goal first period. That goal was credited to Dominik Simon.

Then Crosby scored his 42nd career goal against the Flyers at 14:02. He has scored more goals against the Flyers than any other NHL team.

Later, Crosby got an assist on Jake Guentzel’s goal in the second period for a three-point night.

Meanwhile, the Flyers gave little in the way of defensive support for goaltender Brian Elliott.

Elliott was relieved of duty at the second intermission with the Flyers trailing 6-0. Carter Hart finished up.

Elliott sensed the mood in the room after the game and it wasn’t pleasant. For instance, guys like Michael Raffl and Travis Sanheim were a fat minus-4 each.

“I’m sure there’s some anger in here,’’ Elliott said. “We have to be controlled about it too. Take what you can from this game and move on.

We know we didn’t have what we needed to win out there. You could see that in pretty much every aspect of the game.

“So I’m sure we’ll take a deep dive into this one and make sure we come out with a lesson or two.’’

Things had looked promising during a recent three-game winning streak. Then it quickly fell apart, getting outscored 12-4 over two games.

“We weren’t able to muster up enough energy, execute well enough,’’ Matt Niskanen said. “They took it to us.’’

What changed?

“Execution, pressure,’’ Niskanen said. “In the games we’ve played well in so far, we’re really aggressive with our pressure. Caused a lot of turnovers. Brian’s been really good for us. He’s been battling his butt off. Not much of a chance tonight. . .backdoor looks, extra whacks, that’s stuff that just can’t happen. We left him out to dry.’’

The Flyers entered the game with an all-time mark of 14-3-3 at PPG Paints Arena but were never in this game.

Even when the Flyers, who fell to 5-5-1 on the season, appeared to have good coverage, Pittsburgh found a way to score.

Example: Just 5:57 into the game, Justin Schultz launched an innocent flip shot from the point that found its way through several bodies and then over Elliott’s right shoulder.

Jared McCann scored to make it 2-0 at 8:13.

Crosby, who is wearing a plastic shield to protect a facial injury, threaded a pass through two Flyers defenders and watched as Simon scored just 33 seconds later.

Then Crosby and Simon switched roles, with the future Hall of Famer scoring from close range at 14:02.

Late in the second, Crosby had an assist on a Jake Guentzel goal at 16:40.

The Penguins made it 6-0 on a goal by Zach Aston-Reese at 17:00.

Oskar Lindblom ended Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray’s bid for a shutout when he scored 1:57 into the third period.

Vigneault thought giving his team off Monday would allow them to come out with more energy. It didn’t happen.

“We’re a much better team than we showed tonight,’’ he said. “We didn’t respond well, a couple turnovers against such a good opponent ended up in the back of our net.

“At the end of the day, we have to push the reset button here. Our leaders have to lead by their play on the ice.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2472 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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