The Blue Jackets knew they were facing a desperate, energized Flyers team tonight and they knew the building would be rocking.
And though the first few minutes were okay, the game unraveled quickly later in the first period.
The Flyers scored twice in the first period, twice more in the second and third and held the Blue Jackets without a shot for nearly 14 minutes in the middle frame. No doubt, it was one of Columbus’ most disappointing performances of the season in a 6-0 loss at Wells Fargo Center.
Credit the Flyers for seizing an opportunity to get back into the playoff race with a Pittsburgh loss earlier in the day, but the Blue Jackets did themselves no favors against a team they’ve enjoyed plenty of recent success against.
“I already told the coaches to throw (the tape) away,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.
Michael Raffl scored at 3:04 of the first period to open the scoring, and it was a relatively easy one as he was left all alone at the back post. A great play by Radko Gudas set it up, and Raffl deflected the puck through Curtis McElhinney’s pads for a 1-0 lead.
Gudas scored a goal of his own – one that officially registered at 91 feet – as he stepped across center ice and ripped a slap shot clean through McElhinney from a healthy distance. It was a goal McElhinney would like to have back, no question, but the first 20 minutes could have been a runaway for Philadelphia if not for several saves he made (15 total in the first).
The Blue Jackets registered their first shot of the second period at the 11:46 mark and offensive chances never materialized. They did not win many battles and struggled to maintain sustained possession in the offensive zone, and later in the period, the Flyers scored two quick goals to take a commanding lead.
Sam Gagner faked a shot on a 2-on-1 and was able to beat McElhinney on the glove side with 2:47 left in the second, and 10 seconds later, Claude Giroux scored his 18th goal of the season from the left circle to make it 4-0.
Two more goals in the third period expanded Philadelphia’s lead to 6-0; Nick Cousins scored a goal that stood up after video review to determine if it crossed the line, and Gudas added his second of the game 26 seconds later.
“Top to bottom we didn’t play well,” said center Brandon Dubinsky. “Not enough energy. We didn’t have an answer. A lot of (the trouble) was self-inflicted; we had a lot of turnovers, we struggled in our own end…a lot of things didn’t go well tonight. We have to move by it.”
As they head back to Columbus to begin a five-game home stand, throwing this game in the garbage and re-setting is priority No. 1.
"We didn't establish a forecheck at all," Tortorella said. "We couldn't generate much. You wrap that up, throw it in the trash, and get ready for Detroit."