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Flyers Takeaways: Defensive Collapse Allows Bruins to Steal Win



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The Philadelphia Flyers' porous defense left Felix Sandstrom out to dry in what was another devastating loss. (Photo: AP)

Despite a valiant comeback effort at the end of the game, the Philadelphia Flyers allowed three goals in 2:56 to propel the Boston Bruins to a 6-5 win at TD Garden on Saturday night.

For a while, it looked like the Flyers might have had the gusto to knock Boston off.

Ryan Poehling’s ninth goal of the year gave the Flyers an early 1-0 lead in the first period, and though Morgan Geekie equalized, Joel Farabee’s 20th of the season restored the Flyers’ one-goal lead more than halfway through the second.

After playing with that lead for a little more than three minutes, the Flyers just… collapsed. Again.

Dastardly defensive breakdowns

A Tyson Foerster tripping penalty sent the Bruins to the power play late in the third period, and Brad Marchand found Charlie Coyle at the back post off the faceoff for a tap-in. The problem was that Marc Staal and Travis Konecny both went for Marchand, while it was Konecny who Coyle skated across to get to the back post.

The play ended with Staal on the ground like a flopping fish, Konecny’s stick on the ground, Ronnie Attard frantically reaching for Coyle, and a puck behind Felix Sandstrom to tie the game at 2-2.

Coyle would make Konecny look foolish again early in the second period, rounding him at the right circle before cutting inside and going upstairs on Sandstrom from the low slot for a 3-2 lead.

Not long after, a failed Travis Sanheim dump-in left the Flyers unorganized in the defensive zone. With Cam York battling at the near post, nobody was covering John Beecher at the far post. Andrew Peeke made the pass to Beecher’s tape, which doubled Boston’s lead to 4-2.

Nineteen seconds later, Konecny pivoted into the middle ice away from Jake DeBrusk, leaving DeBrusk wide open to receive a pass from Marchand. DeBrusk shook Sandstrom down to the ice before carrying the puck to the post and coolly depositing it past the down-and-out Flyers defense brigade. In less than three minutes, the Flyers went from tied at 2-2 to down by three at TD Garden.

Flyers get good goaltending

A lot of blame will go to Sandstrom, and somewhat deservingly, for getting beaten over his glove for Boston’s sixth goal despite the game being within reach at that time. The truth is that without Sandstrom, the Flyers would not have had a game to be in. For a fourth-choice goaltender, that’s as much as you could ask for.

Like Sam Ersson before him, Sandstrom was failed by a sloppy and disorganized Flyers defense that played with no semblance of structure. Sandstrom had stopped 18 of the first 20 shots he faced, and for a while, it looked like the Flyers could steal a huge win away from home.

They did not.

Sandstrom finished with 24 saves on 30 shots.

Flyers’ offense shows signs of life

Farabee scored the Flyers‘ second and fifth goals of the night, giving the 24-year-old his second career 20-goal season, as well as a career-high 21 goals and counting. For a player who was bone-dry for most of February, Farabee has three goals in his last two games, and they were all big ones.

Farabee probably has 30-goal seasons in his future, and with 48 points, he should easily exceed the 50-point threshold this season, with an outside chance at 60.

Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett were the only two Flyers who were not on the ice for a high-danger chance against on Saturday night, and together the two out-scored Boston 3-0 when on the ice.

Tippett, known for his shooting, dished out three assists, assisting both Farabee goals while adding another on Frost’s sick between-the-legs finish.

Nick Deslauriers also added his first goal of the year before Frost’s goal and Farabee’s second goal to give the Flyers some life, but, ultimately, Boston’s three-goal flurry was too much for the Flyers to survive in this one.

The Flyers have a lot more questions than answers as they head into Tuesday’s rematch with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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