The 9-0 beating that the Flyers took at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night wasn’t a record breaker, but it was a rarity. It’s the first time Philadelphia has gotten shut out by that wide of a margin since 1969 against Chicago, only the 82nd game in NHL history that was 9-0 or worse, and the 17th such game in the last 30 years.
What does history tell us about the last few times this has happened?
For one thing, the Flyers getting right back on the ice to face the Islanders on Thursday might not be such a bad thing. The last time a team got blanked and gave up at least nine goals was Nov. 4, 2016, when the Canadiens had an eight-game winning streak end in resounding fashion, 10-0, at Columbus. But after getting shellacked by the Blue Jackets, the Habs returned home the next night and beat the Flyers, 5-4. Even though Montreal went to 10-1-1 with that bounce-back victory, Michel Therrien still didn’t last the season — he was replaced in February by Claude Julien.
Similarly, after the Flames came up on the wrong end of a 9-0 beatdown in Beantown on January 5, 2012, they went home to Calgary — with one day off in between — and handled the Wild, 3-1. Flames coach Brent Sutter did make it to the end of that season, but no further, as Calgary made a change to Bob Hartley.
If this doesn’t seem to bode so well for Alain Vigneault, well, not every coach who comes up on the wrong end of a 9-0 or worse game pays with his job. Take Scott Gordon, who led the Islanders to a 9-0 defeat at Carolina on April 7, 2009, followed two days later by a 6-1 stomping by the Penguins, and two more losses to finish the season. Not only did Gordon return to Long Island for 2009-10, he made it until a 4-10-3 start to the 2010-11 season finally resulted in his ouster.
Gordon went on to coach the Flyers at the end of the 2018-19 season after Philadelphia fired Dave Hakstol, but he’s not the only coach to go behind the bench in Philly after taking a 9-0 thrashing somewhere else. Specifically, Peter Laviolette was the coach of the Hurricanes on Nov. 12, 2005, when Atlanta (’memba them?) came to town and jumped out front with a five-goal first period, followed by two in each of the remaining frames.
Not only did the Hurricanes recover with a 2-1 win at Ottawa three days later, they went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.
So, all is not lost for the Church of Gritty this season… but that still was some kind of beating the Rangers gave them.