Earlier this month, it was the crusher in Calgary.
Now, just two and a half weeks later, we have the fiasco in Florida.
Good teams simply don’t wilt like the Flyers have time and time again. The Panthers, playing on back-to-back nights, got an unthinkable game-winning goal Saturday from Jonathan Huberdeau with 1:06 remaining in regulation to beat the Flyers, 2-1 (see observations).
It wasn’t so much what they did, but rather how they did it — on a set breakout from behind their own net.
“When that happens," interim head coach Scott Gordon said, "you have to get into your routes and get into position, and they just took off.”
Somewhat confusing prior to the breakout was the positioning of the Flyers' personnel. Their best defensive forward and best defender on the ice, Sean Couturier, was stationed just in front of the Panthers' crease, roughly 180 feet away from his own net.
You would think Couturier would have been better served near the blue line to cover any odd-man rush against the Panthers' most dangerous line. Once Jakub Voracek failed in his attempt to pick off the pass between the Panthers' blue line and the red line, you could sense the doom.
“As soon as they fired it up the boards, they took off,” Gordon said. “I know we were in between, and I think Jake tried to pick it off on the wall and it got by him, and that’s how it happened. It’s a bit of a hope play by them. We don’t come up with it and it’s a 3-on-2 and maybe a potential icing.”
With Aleksander Barkov and Huberdeau on the ice, it’s also a potential backbreaker. Voracek couldn’t recover in time, Couturier was too far away from his own net and Wayne Simmonds was still at the Panthers' blue line when the puck entered the Flyers' zone.
Radko Gudas did a good job of riding the Panthers' lightning-quick winger Evgenii Dadonov out of the play, but once he left the puck for Barkov, it was tic-tac-toe — game over.