Flyers-Bruins: Postgame Perspective

Special teams costs Flyers again, as more points slip away

Six days later, it felt like deja vu all over again — the late bounce that goes against the Flyers, subsequently taking away not only the chance to finish off a win, but wiping out a point that would have been earned by a third-period comeback.

Brett Connolly's deflection past Michal Neuvirth was the difference on the scoreboard in the Flyers 3-2 loss to the Bruins, but the real difference in this game happened in the first two periods, where the Flyers had already lost the special teams battle.

If there was one rule of thumb for the Flyers on Monday, it was to stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers took two first-period penalties. The Bruins scored two power play goals.

"We had to do a lot better job than we did, too many pucks coming through seams and not making plays," Nick Schultz said. "We have to do a better job making sure those pucks aren’t getting through there. They got a good power play, guys that can move the puck and we have to do a better job stopping some of those seam passes. They made some good plays and we have to do a lot better."

"We got into a hole," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "We gave up two power play goals. The first one, they made a good play and got the bounce of the puck. I didn’t think that it was lost in the first.

"They moved the puck on us really well in those first two power plays. They found some seams and kept the puck in the zone. When that happens and when you allow a good power play, that amount of time in the zone usually they’re going to make a play. And they did that tonight."

The Flyers were on the right side of the calls in the second, getting four power plays. They cut the lead to one on Wayne Simmonds' goal just seven seconds into one man-advantage. The other three went by the wayside.

The Flyers did eventually tie the game, but the damage was done. Just as they did on Thursday in Pittsburgh, it was special teams that did the Flyers in.

At five-on-five, the Flyers didn't play well enough to win. 

"Our five-on-five play was just okay," Hakstol said. "Our effort was excellent in the second and third to come back and tie it up."

"I thought our power play was pretty good tonight," Simmonds said. "We were moving pucks around and getting shots. We got a power play goal, so I don’t think that was the issue. I think it could have been a bit better five-on-five, that’s where the game was. I think they had two five-on-five goals."

For a team that just two weeks ago scored an emotional victory against the Bruins in a playoff-like atmosphere, a lot has changed in just four games, three of them regulation losses for the Flyers.

Special teams has played a factor in all of them. But now is not the time for the Flyers to sit back and look at the what ifs or dwell on the struggles. They have to fix it fast if they want to end January on a positive note after opening the month with a such an impressive run.

"I think we won the special teams battle. We lost the battle 5-on-5 in Pittsburgh," Hakstol said. "I don’t want to jump to anything there. We gave up two tonight early. We got to do a better job, bottom line. Is it disheartening? No, there is no time to be disheartened. We got to get to work and get back to work."

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.