The Flyers showed little effort in a loss to a less superior game...somebody stop the record from skipping.
On Sunday afternoon in front of a national TV audience, Philly's lack of heart resulted in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers. Thanks to 32 saves by Henrik Lundqvist and a shootout goal by Wojtek Wolski, the Flyers lost their third straight game today to their Atlantic Division rival.
In such an important game, it was key for the Flyers to send an early message. With Brandon Prust trying to stir things up early, Sean O'Donnell decided to set things straight dropping the gloves with him 45 seconds in. The fight seemed to give the Flyers some jump early on.
Looking for more ice time, Nikolay Zherdev helped his case with a huge third period assist on Jeff Carter's goal last game. Today, Zherdev's play led to another Flyers' goal.
Along with Claude Giroux and O'Donnell, Zherdev's cycling in the offensive zone led to James van Riemsdyk's 21st goal on the season. As Giroux passed the puck to O'Donnell at the point, JVR moved to the front of the net. Working off of an O'Donnell blast from the point, JVR banged home one of his multiple rebound attempts to give Philly a 1-0 lead 12:25 into the game.
Late-period penalties cost the Flyers the lead at the last possible second. With Matt Carle sitting in the box for hooking and Braydon Coburn joining him for high sticking, Bryan McCabe found a way to beat Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game. Thanks to his slapshot with seven-tenths of a second left in the period, McCabe's 5-on-3 goal changed the face of the game entering the second.
The Rangers started off the second period with 1:26 left on the power play due to Coburn's penalty. Philly's defenseman didn't pay for his mistake as the Rangers couldn't register a goal with the time remaining on the power play.
Over halfway through the period, the Rangers saw their first lead of the day. Vinny Prospal tried to curl around the Flyers' net and though he lost the puck, it slid into the slot where Ruslan Fedotenko made his former team pay yet again with his 10th goal of the year 13:30 into the middle period.
Unfortunately, Fedotenko couldn't celebrate the goal for long as he was laid out cleanly by Coburn at the red line on the following shift. Not accepting the abuse, Brian Boyle decided to fight Coburn in defense of Fedotenko. Coburn made him pay for his actions by winning a long, drawn out battle.
Entering the final period, the Flyers still had a shot to win the game despite showing no effort or desire to be on winning side.
Speaking of effort, somebody who has been showing a lot of it lately has been Zherdev. As Giroux entered the zone with the puck along the boards to Lundqvist's right, he stopped at the bottom of the circles to center the puck Zherdev who put home his 16th of the season. The goal tied the game at two 4:32 into the final period.
End-to-end action for the remaining 15 minutes of regulation yielded no goals as the game entered overtime tied at two. It's the first game the Flyers have gotten a point in since Tuesday's win in Pittsburgh.
Dominating the entire overtime period, the Flyers couldn't find the game-winning goal. The shots were the same in the extra five minute, but most of the play took place in the Rangers' defensive end.
Opening the shootout, Zherdev was stoned by Lundqvist as he let a wrist shot fly from the slot. Erik Christensen put it past Bob as the netminder tried to poke check it from the ensuing Ranger.
Looking to equalize it, Giroux was poked check by Lundqvist putting the result of the game on Wolski's stick. Deking Bobrovsky into submission, Wolski scored to give the Rangers the additional point.
The absence of Chris Pronger has affected the Flyers greatly. Inability to convert on the power play and lack of urgency throughout entire games are aspects of the game that are costing the Flyers wins at the worst time of the season. Pronger, evidently, is the only Flyer who can run the power-play unit. Along with the power play, Pronger can slow down the game and pick up the team when needed. He'll be back for the first game of the playoffs.
The Flyers last three games are against the Senators (2-1-0 against), the Sabres (2-1-0 against), and the Islanders (5-0-0 against).The Sens are 5-4-1 in their last ten games while the Sabres are 6-2-2 (disregarding their result with Carolina). The Flyers have strong records against all these teams, but the way they've been playing lately the Flyers couldn't beat many teams across the league.
Notes: Dating back to Kris Versteeg's empty net goal on February 20th, the Flyers went 73:11 without a goal against New York until JVR's first period goal...Bobrovsky has allowed five goals over his last three starts; he's 1-1-1 in those games...Zherdev's power-play goal in the third ended the Flyers 0-for-11 span with the extra man advantage...Filling in for Nick Boynton, Danny Syvret had no points with a blocked shot in 14:48 time on ice. Blair Betts didn't play the third period due to a lower body injury...Today is Bernie Parent's 66th birthday...The Flyers went 4-1-1 against the Rangers in the 2010-2011 regular season and are 16-4-3 against the Atlantic division (PIT 4-1-1, NYR 4-1-1, NJD 3-2-1, NYI 5-0-0).
For the second straight night, the Flyers were handed a loss by a team currently not in the playoff picture as the Devils won 4-2 in Jersey. He may have not scored the game-winning goal, but Patrik Elias essentially won the game for the Devils netting a hat-trick. Brian Rolston had all three of the primary assists on Elias's goals and Johan Hedberg made 34 saves on 36 shots to give the Devils their third win of the season against the Flyers.
With the Penguins and Capitals idle tonight, the Flyers had a chance to move closer to clinching both the division and the conference. Hopes were high as the Flyers opened up the scoring tonight in New Jersey.
Recovering a defensive clear from Andrej Meszaros in the offensive zone, Mike Richards took advantage of Ilya Kovalchuk out of position. With Kovalchuk filling in the spot of left defense due to the Flyers' ensuing rush, Richards dangled the puck until he was standing on one skate. From this position, Richards passed it perfectly to the stick of James van Riemsdyk, who was standing at the top of the crease behind Hedberg. JVR's 20th gave Philly the 1-0 lead 9:50 into the game.
The second period saw two New Jersey veterans step up to take the lead. Elias, scoring 6:28 into the middle period, gave his team the lead 1:52 after his initial goal. With his team short-handed, Elias scored his second goal in less than two minutes to give Jersey the lead. With the two quick strikes from the Devils, the Flyers saw their first deficit in the game and relentless pressure from the opposition for the remainder of the period.
Just before the period ended, the Flyers showed signs of life pressuring Hedberg in the final seconds. The late surge may have seemed meaningless, but the momentum from the end of the second period carried over to the beginning of the third period for the Flyers.
For awhile now, the Flyers have had problems getting to the net and creating scoring chances. Somebody who is notorious for displaying all offense and no defense is Nikolay Zherdev, a Flyer who hasn't played since March 6th. In the final 20 minutes, Zherdev made his presence felt.
After dominating play for over a minute in the offensive zone, Claude Giroux, standing behind the net, completed a pass to Zherdev (standing at the bottom of the circle to Hedberg's right). From here, the rarely used forward put the puck right on the stick of Jeff Carter in the crease. Putting home his team-leading 36th goal of the year, Carter tied the game at two with 15:42 left in regulation.
All the work the Flyers put in to equalize the game quickly vanished. A flashy solo effort by Kovalchuk led to his deceitful pass (faking a slapshot) from the slot to Nick Palmieri, who standing to the right of Brian Boucher. The goal came 4:37 after Carter's goal giving New Jersey the one-goal lead again with only 11:05 left in regulation.
Despite putting forth a strong effort to tie the game at three, the Flyers saw Elias net his third goal on the net with little time left. As the puck bounced in off of his skate with 2:46 left in regulation, Elias had himself a hat-trick and the Devils had a two-goal lead.
Peter Laviolette pulled Boucher and the Flyers showed some of their best offensive pressure on the night, but the orange and black couldn't find the back of the net late in the game as the Devils hung on for the 4-2 victory.
This loss stings for several reasons. For one, a win tonight essentially meant the Flyers win the Atlantic division. With a win tonight, the only way the Flyers could have lost the division would have been with the Penguins winning their last four games and if Philly had obtained only a point over their last four games. Now, the Flyers need to obtain four points over their next four games to make the playoffs.
Another reason is the loss tonight hurts the Flyers' chances of winning the conference. As it currently stands, the Flyers and Caps have both played 78 games; the Flyers have 102 points and the Caps have 101. Looking at the remaining four games for both teams, the Flyers have the harder schedule. Playing two teams currently in the playoffs, Philly plays the Rangers, Senators, Sabres, and Islanders; the Caps play the Sabres, Maple Leafs, and Panthers (twice).
Notes: This is Elias's first hat-trick since April 5, 2006 against the Penguins. With his goal in the first, JVR became the seventh Flyer to register at least 20 goals this season; Ville Leino has 19 goals. Thanks in part to Thursday's game, the Flyers went 82:12 without scoring a goal (Leino's second goal against Pitt on Tuesday til JVR's goal tonight). Philly didn't score a single goal against Martin Brodeur this season (19 saves on 19 shots in relief appearance in 2-1 loss on January 8th); this is the first season Brodeur hasn't allowed a goal against Philly since the 1993-1994 season (never played Philly that season). This is the first time both Elias and Rolston have had multi-point games in the same night since February 16th (Elias:1 G,1 A/Rolston:1 G,1A in 3-2 win vs. Hurricanes). The Flyers are 5-3-3 against non-playoff teams since the beginning of March. The Flyers went 3-2-1 against New Jersey in the 2010-2011 regular season and are now 16-4-2 against the Atlantic division this season (PIT 4-1-1, NYR 4-1-0, NJD 3-2-1, NYI 5-0-0).
Chris Mason had his game of the year tonight as he stoned the conference leading Flyers for 43 saves in the Thrashers' 1-0 win. With his only help coming from an Evander Kane bank shot off of Nik Antropov's skate halfway through the third period, Mason made 19 saves in the third period to shut the Flyers out for the first time since their embarrassing 7-0 loss against the Rangers. The Thrashers' third win on the year against the Flyers was their first win in regulation and drops the Flyers' record to 46-21-10.
Evidently charged from Tuesday night's win in Pittsburgh, the Flyers came out swinging. In addition to drawing Dustin Byfuglien into a minor for holding, Philly posted the first six shots of the game. After failing to convert on their own power play, the orange and black watched Atlanta not convert on their first two power play opportunities.
A Ville Leino interference 4:15 into regulation followed up by a Nick Boynton hook six minutes later stopped any momentum Philly had from the opening moments.
As the momentum shifted to Atlanta's side later in the period, Sergei Bobrovsky's ability to make a couple crucial saves kept the score even at zero as the first period ended.
After a too many men on the ice call and an Andrej Meszaros roughing call, the Flyers earned their first power-play opportunity of the second period. An Anthony Stewart roughing minor, stemming from the Flyers' first chance of the period, was shortened due to a Kris Versteeg trip on Andrew Ladd in Philly's defensive zone. The teams played four-on-four for 24 seconds.
Killing off their fifth penalty of the night, the Flyers experienced their third power-play opportunity of the night with an Kane boarding call with just 68 seconds left in the middle period. Unable to bang home a power-play goal before the end of the period, or break the scoreless tie, the Flyers carried the remaining 52 seconds in Kane's penalty over to the third period.
Opening the third period, Atlanta was able to kill off the rest of Kane's penalty, but found themselves shorthanded shortly afterwards as Tobias Enstrom went to the box for holding. The Flyers' fourth power play on the night ended up goalless yet again.
In what looked like a rather clean hit, Danny Briere found himself in the box for what the refs deemed interference at the six minute mark of the period. Similar to the other nine power-play opportunities within the game, the Flyers couldn't muster a goal to take the lead.
Naturally, the first goal in this scoreless affair halfway through the third period would be an ugly one. Blowing by Braydon Coburn, Kane skated along the boards to Bob's right. Throwing the puck into the slot, Kane banked in a goal off of Antropov's skate. Antropov's 15th on the season never hit his stick, but gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with only 9:38 left to play in regulation.
Despite receiving another power play due to a Ron Hainsey tripping minor, the Flyers couldn't find the game-tying goal as they out shot Atlanta 13-2 after Antropov's goal. Jeff Carter hit the right post with four seconds left as the Thrashers squeaked their way to their first ever 1-0 win in Philly.
Displaying some urgency early and very late in the game, the Flyers didn't show a lot of emotion for a team that just won a crucial divisional game two days earlier. Unable to net a single goal against the back up for a team not going to the playoffs, the orange and black couldn't make progress in their pursuit for the Atlantic division title.
Notes: This is the seventh time this season the Flyers have been shut out; third time Atlanta has ever shut out Philly (first time in Philly). Since Antero Niittymaki left after the 2008-2009 season, the Flyers have gone 1-5-2 against Atlanta; Bobrovsky is now 1-1-1 in his career against the Thrashers. Antropov's goal was his ninth career goal against Philly. Chris Mason is 4-1-1 against the Flyers in his career; he was 2-0-0 against Philly this season. The Flyers went 1-1-2 against the Thrashers on the season; They were 0-4-0 against Atlanta last season. Philly went 10-6-4 against the Southeast division in the 2010-2011 regular season (WSH 2-0-2, TBL 1-3-0, CAR 3-1-0, ATL 1-1-2, FLA 3-1-0); they were 10-10-0 against the Southeast last season (WSH 1-3-0, ATL 0-4-0, CAR 4-0-0, TBL 4-0-0, FLA 1-3-0).
Game 78: Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils, 7:00 pm, TCN.
Overall Record: 46-21-10
Away Record: 25-9-4
Record vs. Devils: 3-1-1
Away Record vs. Devils: 1-0-1
Overall Record: 35-36-5
Home Record: 19-15-3
Record vs. Flyers: 2-3-0
Home Record: 1-1-0
Flyers' Winning % vs. Devils: .600, 3/5 games (17th)
Flyers' Point % vs. Devils: .700, 7/10 pts (16th)
Flyers' Losing % vs. Devils: .400, 2/5 games (13th)
Flyers' Goals/Game vs. Devils: 2.60, 13 goals/5 games (21st)
Devils' Goals/Game vs. Flyers: 2.00, 10 goals/5 games (16th)
Flyers' Shots/Game vs. Devils: 30.2, 151 shots/5 games (20th)
Devils' Shots/Game vs. Flyers: 25.6, 128 shots/5 games (24th)
Flyers' Power play % vs. Devils: 11.1%, 2/18 (15th)
Devils' Power play % vs. Flyers: 20%, 3/15 (13th)
Flyers' Penalty Kill % vs. Devils: 75%, 12/16 (19th)
Devils' Penalty Kill % vs. Flyers: 88.9%, 16/18 (15th)
Flyers' Team LeadersPoints- Claude Giroux, 71
Goals- Jeff Carter, 35
Assists- Claude Giroux, 46
+/- - Andrej Meszaros, +30
PIM- Scott Hartnell, 136
Devils' Team LeadersPoints- Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk, 54
Goals- Ilya Kovalchuk, 28
Assists- Patrik Elias, 38
+/- - Mark Fayne, +8
PIM- David Clarkson, 116
Former Devils Currently On The Flyers
#6 Sean O'Donnell
Current Season Against The Devils: 5 games, 0 goals, and 0 assists.
Current Season With The Flyers: 76 games, 1 goal, and 15 assists.
Career With The Devils: 1 season (2000-2001), 40 games, 1 goal, and 3 assists.
Former Flyers Currently On The Devils
#8 Dainius Zubrus
Current Season Against The Flyers: 5 games, 1 goal, and 0 assists.
Current Season For The Devils: 75 games, 13 goals, and 15 assists.
Career With The Flyers: 3 seasons (1996-1997 to 1998-1999), 224 games, 24 goals, and 48 assists.
Devils' 2-1 shootout win at home on November 27th
Flyers' 5-3 win at home on December 4th
Flyers' 4-2 win in Jersey on January 6th
Flyers' 2-1 win in Philly on January 8th
Devils' 3-1 win in Philly on January 22nd
Game 77: Atlanta Thrashers @ Philadelphia Flyers, 7:00 pm, CSN.
Overall Record: 32-32-12
Away Record: 15-17-5
Record vs. Flyers: 2-1-0
Away Record vs. Flyers: 1-0-0
Overall Record: 46-20-10
Home Record: 21-11-6
Record vs. Thrashers: 1-0-2
Home Record vs. Thrashers: 0-0-1
Flyers' Winning % vs. Thrashers: .333, 1/3 games (20th)
Flyers' Point % vs. Thrashers: .667, 4/6 pts (17th)
Flyers' Losing % vs. Thrashers: .667, 2/3 games (10th)
Flyers' Goals/Game vs. Thrashers: 4.00, 12 goals/3 games (3rd)
Thrashers' Goals/Game vs. Flyers: 3.33, 10 goals/3 games (5th)
Flyers' Shots/Game vs. Thrashers: 28, 84 shots/3 games (24th)
Thrashers' Shots/Game vs. Flyers: 31.67, 95 shots/3 games (8th)
Flyers' Power Play % vs. Thrashers: 28.6%, 2/7 (4th)
Thrashers' Power Play % vs. Flyers: 22.2%, 2/9 (11th)
Flyers' Penalty Kill % vs. Thrashers: 77.8%, 7/9 (17th)
Thrashers' Penalty Kill % vs. Flyers: 71.4%, 5/7 (26th)
Thrashers' Team LeadersPoints- Andrew Ladd, 55
Goals- Andrew Ladd, 27
Assists- Tobias Enstrom, 41
+/- - Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler, +9
PIM- Dustin Byfuglien, 75
Flyers' Team LeadersPoints- Claude Giroux, 71
Goals- Jeff Carter, 35
Assists- Claude Giroux, 46
+/- - Andrej Meszaros, +30
PIM- Scott Hartnell, 134
Former Flyers Currently On The Thrashers
#24 Freddy Meyer (Currently on Injured Reserve)
Current Season Against The Flyers: 0 games, 0 goals, and 0 assists.
Current Season With The Thrashers: 15 games, 1 goal, and 1 assist.
Career With The Flyers: 3 seasons (2003-2004 to 2006-2007), 89 games, 8 goals, and 25 assists.
Former Thrashers Currently On The Flyers
#5 Braydon Coburn
Current Season Against The Thrashers: 3 games, 0 goals, and 0 assists.
Current Season With Flyers: 76 games, 2 goals, and 14 assists.
Career With The Thrashers: 2 seasons (2005-2006 and 2006-2007), 38 games, 0 goals, and 5 assists.
The Flyers' 5-2 win in Atlanta on January 14th
The Thrashers' 5-4 overtime win in Philly on March 12th
The Thrashers' 4-3 shootout win in Atlanta on March 17th