It cant possibly get any worse than this 10 games into the season.
After a thorough spanking in Montreal the night before, the Flyers played another club from the underworld on Thursday night.
And lost again, albeit in spectacular shinny hockey fashion, 9-8, to the Winnipeg Jets.
Forget about the Flyers furious four-goal comeback. This team has far too much talent to trail by four goals to anyone, let alone the Jets.
More alarming: four losses in five games and 23 goals allowed during the losses alone.
Defense? Pure chaos.
Im at a total loss at what is going on, said goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who yielded four goals on 10 shots (See Flyers Talk post).
The bottom line is Im the goalie and Im the guy who has to stop the puck and clean the mistakes behind their defense butts. I couldnt stop the simple shot.
Maybe thats why the players make mistakes. They have no confidence in their goalie. You know, this goalie is bad. Yeah, Im the reason why we lost the game tonight. Again.
The play in front of the Flyers' net is atrocious. And its a major reason why their goalies are skittish on every shift.
Starter Sergei Bobrovsky gave up five goals on 15 shots. Bryzgalov replaced him five minutes into the second period.
Several of those goals were deflected. The Flyers now have had close to a dozen deflected goals in the last 10 days or so.
Yet, the defensive coverage even on simple things like zone coverage on faceoff draws when on the penalty kill, are an adventure.
You cant pin all of this on Chris Prongers absence, either. The truth is, the entire defense seems paralyzed to make good decisions in their own end.
Peter Laviolettes club after five games (4-0-1) doesnt even resemble that team five games later (1-3-1).
Were giving up too many goals for different reasons, Laviolette tried to explain. And theres different reasons why theyre going in the net. Defensively, there are some issues, even tonight.
Theres bounces, some nice goals. Were giving up too much. You give up nine goals. Too much. Weve got to do a better job in our end in certain situations.
The Flyers trailed by four goals twice in a wild, six-goal second period but fought back to a 6-4 deficit as the third period began.
Danny Brieres second goal of the game 1:09 into the period made it a one-goal affair and then Matt Reads rebound tied it at 2:23.
Winnipeg coach Claude Noel then replaced goalie Ondrej Pavelec with Steve Mason and James van Riemsdyk went hard to net to put the Flyers ahead, 7-6.
The Flyers had not lead since the mid-point of the first period and they scored five unanswered goals from the 14:11 mark of the second frame.
JVRs goal didnt last long because Winnipeg retied it at 3:30, then went ahead 8-7 a few shifts later off the rush against Bryzgalov as he left the five-hole open for Mark Stuart.
Pavelec returned to the game with less than nine minutes left when Mason left with an apparent injury.
JVRs second goal at 16:21 made it 8-8. No lead was safe. Andrew Ladd got the last one at 18:54 on a simple give-and-go where Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros were watching, not reacting.
All-time sloppy pond hockey?
Pretty much, said Max Talbot, who suffered a badly bruised left foot (blocked shot), but X-rays were negative. I cant remember a game that had 17 goals scored by both sides.
From our point of view its disappointing. Its not something we want to do. We didnt play strong hockey in front of our goalie thats for sure.
After being humiliated 5-1 the previous night in Montreal, youd expect the Flyers to come out with some pep in their step.
It began well with a goal from Scott Hartnell four minutes into the game. Then, the freak bounces started. A goal off Randy Jones' skate. Then, a one-timer from Jim Slater in the high slot, giving the Jets a 2-1 lead.
Things got worse when Talbot blocked Zach Bogosians point shot with about three minutes left in the period during a Jets' power play. As soon as the Flyers' best penalty killer among forwards left the game, the Jets got their second deflected goal, this one from Kyle Wellwood, making it 3-1.
Talbot returned in the second period but the Jets scored two more goals. Tanner Glass got another deflected goal at 3:39, then Winnipeg embarrassed the Flyers.
Tim Stapleton won a faceoff draw that deflected directly to Nik Antropov in the slot. He was one-on-one with Bobrovsky, faked him out, and had an open net. The nearest defenseman, Meszaros, was way too late covering. That made it 5-1.
At that point, Laviolette replaced Bobrovsky with Bryzgalov.
Ive never seen anything like that and its a sign weve got a lot of work to do, Timonen said. We played two really bad periods up in Montreal and it seems we were in the same mode today for the first half of the game and thats not the way we win games.
Weve got work to do. I dont care, mental or physical, you have to show up to play.
By the second periods end, the Flyers had pulled to within 6-4.
And while Bryzgalov said he was terrible, he wasnt alone.
We were all responsible for goals here and there, you look at the first half of the game, it seemed like everything was getting deflected ... bounces, bouncing right for them and we got some bounces back, Briere said.
But if you look, the last three goals were one back-door play and two point-blank shots ... I don't think it's right for us to just blame the goaltenders. We also have a lot to look in the mirror at ourselves.
The mirror just cracked.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com