Flyers suffer back-to-back losses for first time this season

Alain Vigneault
       PHILADELPHIA – So after bouncing back from each of their first six losses with a win this season, the Flyers couldn’t make seven a lucky number.
      The Boston Bruins, still smarting from last month’s 6-3 loss here, exacted some revenge on Saturday night, handing the Flyers a 5-2 loss at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers were coming off a loss to Tampa Bay.
      It was no fault of goaltender Martin Jones, who was under siege most of the evening.
      Derick Brassard did his best to keep the Flyers in it during the second period with a pair of goals but the Bruins still came away with a 3-2 lead.
      Boston took a 2-0 lead just 30 seconds into the second on the first of two Derek Forbort goals. Brassard responded by punching in a Cam Atkinson feed at 1:22, then scored on a rare Flyer power play goal when he converted a Claude Giroux pass with a shot past goalie Linus Ullmark at 9:25.
      Forbort’s second goal, a shot from the high slot at 16:27, put the Bruins ahead for good. Craig Smith scored early in the third to put the game out of reach.
      Despite the loss, the Flyers had to be encouraged by the three-game homestand against Calary, Tampa and Boston, finishing 1-1-1.
      Brassard agreed not losing back-to-back until game 16 showed mental toughness.
      “I think you’re right, good teams find a way not to lose two in a row,’’ Brassard said in response to a reporter’s question. “Now we’re going to need our best effort against Tampa and Florida. Those are three really good teams we played this week. Playing well against Tampa (a shootout loss), one of the best teams in the league was huge.’’
      Jones was sensational in a first period during which he allowed only one goal on 21 shots. That included a stretch in which the Flyers had to essentially kill back-to-back penalties, including 12 seconds of five on three.
      The Boston goal was scored by Tomas Nosek, who took advantage of Anton Blidh’s puck battle win behind the Flyer net. Nosek got control of a short pass and lifted a backhander over Jones’ shoulder with 1:35 left in the period.
      Giroux’s assist on Brassard’s second goal was career power-play point number 331, leaving him two behind Bob Clarke for the alltime Flyer record.
      Coach Alain Vigneault said the game came down to a couple plays.
      “They (the Bruins) definitely got momentum off their power play in the first period,’’ he said. “They made some great plays and we got some great saves from Jonesy. Unfortunately they got that one goal at the end of the first, then one early in the second. When you’re down two goals to the Bruins, that’s a tough team to come back against.’’
      Added Nick Seeler: “I thought we played really hard in the third. Sometimes bounces don’t go our way.’’
      Brassard believes the Flyers are still on the right track.
      “It would have been a huge win for us,’’ he said. “Guys are disappointed. But now we’re going on the road so it isn’t going to get any easier.’’
       >Short shots

James van Riemsdyk played in his 400th game as a Flyer. . .Travis Konecny entered the game needing one goal for his 100th in the NHL. . .The Flyers have played seven one-goal games this year and have points in all of them, going 4-0-3 in the circumstance. . .Giroux leads the NHL in overall faceoff win percentage at 62.9 among 119 players who have taken at least 100 faceoffs this season. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron is second at 62.3 pct. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Giroux has been the league’s top faceoff performer in a group of 130 players who have taken at least 1500 faceoffs. He is 58.9 percent in that timeframe, just ahead of Bergeron at 58.6 percent. . .Before the game, Giroux had been credited with 49 shots on goal through the first 15 games, which leads the team. Giroux has only averaged over three shots a game on a full-season basis three times in his career, with a career high of 3.44 shots per game coming in the 2014-15 season. His second-highest full-season average was 3.14 shots per game in 2011-12.

About Wayne Fish 1501 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.