With only two games since last Wednesday, the Flyers had the lightest work week of any team in the Atlantic Division. Since both of those games were against Western Conference teams, the schedule didn't feature any intense divisional games as well. Nonetheless Philly went 2-0-0 on the week notching wins against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Ville Leino's first two-goal game in the NHL led the Flyers to victory Thursday beating the Predators 3-2. Both of Leino's goals came in the 3rd period, including a spin-o-rama goal from the slot with about three minutes left in regulation as the game winner.
Goals from Andrej Meszaros and Darroll Powe were unexpected but greatly appreciated on Saturday as Philly beat Dallas 3-1. Powe's game winning tally came early in the second period and came short handed. Brian Boucher played great in net making 30 of 31 saves.
Jeff Carter produced the most for the Flyers this week scoring two goals and two assists. He had a three point game on Thursday scoring Philly's first goal and assisting on both of Leino's goals. Then, on Saturday Carter scored the only goal in the third period to extend the Flyers lead to two.
Despite winning all possible games this week, the Flyers were unable to gain ground on the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. Here's a look at how the rest of the Atlantic Division did this week.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 2-2-0. The Penguins had the most entertaining week out of all teams in the division. The week started off with a 3-0 win over the Islanders, but that wasn't the major story relating to the game. With about twenty seconds left in the third period, Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro hits the Pens' Matt Cooke as he was skating into the corner. As a scrum occurred in the corner, DiPietro then decided to taunt Penguins' goalie Brent Johnson into a fight, which Johnson surprisingly agreed to take part in. Just as DiPietro started to smile, Johnson landed a left hook knocking DiPietro to the ice. Both goalies left the game meaning Johnson wasn't rewarded the shutout.
This was most likely the last time all week anybody in the Pittsburgh organization was smiling. During their 3-2 come-from-behind victory against the Sabres on Friday, Evgeni Malkin left during the second period with a lower-body injury. The Penguins later found out Malkin had suffered a torn ACL and MCL putting the center out for the season.
The effects of Malkin's injury were felt immediately as the Pens fell to the Capitals on national television losing 3-0 Sunday. A Penguins' team that got dominated by the Caps looked lost without their two star players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Hope was just around the corner, however, as they were to play the Blue Jackets, a team they beat 7-2 earlier in the season.
The boost of hope expected to come from beating Columbus never came as the Blue Jackets walked into Pittsburgh and cleaned up 4-1 last night. Both Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek registered a goal and an assist as Tyler Kennedy scored Pitt's lone goal on the evening. Kennedy's goal is the only goal scored in the seven periods the Penguins have played since losing Malkin.
Any other week it would be good news for Pittsburgh that they kept up with Philadelphia. However, the news of Malkin's injury has already affected the team negatively. For the Pens sake Crosby will return soon and hopefully restore order.
New York Rangers: 0-3-0. Although they didn't lose a star player for the season, the Rangers had quite the horrible week as well. Losing every game they played this week and not gaining a point in the process gave New York the honor of dropping them to nine points behind the Penguins within the division.
The Rangers were inches away from tying their Thursday game up against the Devils, but New Jersey held on for a 3-2 win. Goals from Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal cut the Devils' lead to one with seventeen minutes left in the third period. Unable to put another one past New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur resulted in the Rangers first loss on the week.
Carey Price turned out to be too much for the Rangers on Saturday as Montreal's netminder got the shutout helping his team win 2-0. A Scott Gomez goal late in the second period was all Price needed to beat the Rangers as he saved all 35 shots he saw in the game. Tomas Plekanec put home the empty netter giving the Canadiens a 2-0 victory and the Rangers a bitter taste in their mouth. Despite putting seven more shots on net, the Rangers were unable to register a single goal.
New York's woes continued as they took on the Central Division leading Detroit Red Wings ultimately losing 3-2. The bad breaks for the Rangers kept coming as they were unable to get the win despite putting up 47 shots on net. Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler both had a goal and an assist as Drew Miller's fourth goal on the season turned out to be the game winning goal for the Red Wings.
The mini losing streak the Rangers are currently enduring is undoubtedly hurting them in the playoff hunt, but they'll most likely get out of this hole. An unlucky break in a frantic finish, facing an unbeatable goalie, and not getting rewarded for almost putting fifty shots on net is a span of three games that couldn't demonstrate unfortunate luck any better.
New Jersey Devils: 3-0-1. The Devils haven't been playing like one of the worst three teams in the league lately and their record as of late is showing that. Registering a point in all four of their games this week, the Devils obtained seven of the possible eight points.
A big week from Ilya Kovalchuk, Dainius Zubrus, and Travis Zajac pushed New Jersey to success. Zajac had two goals and four assists which included his three point game on Sunday against the Canadiens (one goal, two assists). Kovalchuk had two goals and three assists on the week highlighted with his two-goal game against Montreal on Sunday. Zubrus had two goals and an assist in the four-game span registering the Devils' first goal on Sunday against the Canadiens.
After being on the beneficial side of the aforementioned situation with the Rangers on Thursday, the Devils hosted the Panthers on Friday in what ended up being their lone loss within the week. The Panthers' Rostislav Olesz found the back of the net two minutes into overtime giving Florida the additional point. This ended up being the only down point in the week for New Jersey.
Two days later, the Devils handled the same Canadiens' team that shutout the Rangers the day before. Scoring two goals in the first period while adding another in the second period, New Jersey ended up beating Carey Price three times on the evening giving them a 3-1 lead entering the third period. Kovalchuk added an empty netter to make the final score 4-1.
The Hurricanes saw a one goal lead late in the game evaporate as the Devils tied the game up and won it in overtime 3-2 last night. With just under three minutes left in regulation, Nick Palmieri notched his fifth goal of the season tying the game at two. As the game extended past regulation, Mattias Tedenby would score a little over half way through the overtime session. Tedenby's second on the night and seventh on the season made the Devils 3-0-1 within the week.
With the exception of their 4-1 win Sunday, all of New Jersey's games this week were decided by one goal. In those game, the Devils went 2-0-1. Good teams win the close ones and if the Devils keep it up they can possibly make their season reasonable rather than letting it remain horrible.
New York Islanders: 1-2-0. The injury bug keeps hurting the Islanders as two of their goaltenders were injured this week. Both Rick DiPietro and Kevin Poulin were injured and suffered the injuries outside of game situations. DiPietro suffered facial fractures and knee swelling after being knocked out by Brent Johnson while Poulin injured his knee last night in pregame warmups after hitting a rut in the ice. With Nathan Lawson already sitting out due to knee problems, the Islanders forced Mikko Koskinen into his first NHL game ever.
The Islanders only bright spot in the week was their 5-3 win over Ottawa. Rob Schremp scored two goals including the game winner as the Islanders escaped a first period that saw a total of six goals. Kevin Poulin registered the win making twenty of twenty-three saves on the night.
An embarrassing 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and a 5-3 loss last night with a goalie making his NHL in net, the Islanders had a rough week to say the least.
Goaltending has without a doubt now become just as big an issue for the Islanders as injuries. With the goaltending tandem of Mikko Koskinen and emergency call-up Joel Martin, the Islanders surely can't be confident with the current goalie situation.
Goals from unexpected sources and strong goaltending helped the Flyers beat the visiting Dallas Stars 3-1 on Saturday night, in the first of two meetings this season.
Andrej Meszaros opened the scoring with a late first period goal and Darroll Powe netted a shorthanded goal early in the second period that ended up being the game winning tally.
After a garbage goal by Brenden Morrow later in the period, Jeff Carter scored the lone goal of the third period to put the game away for Philly. The win is the Flyers' second in a row and eighth in 10, and improves them to 35-13-5.
Dallas received a rude invitation from the host Flyers as Philly relentlessly forechecked and aggresively pursued the puck in the opening minutes of the game. The Stars' inability to prevent Philly's cycling in the zone led to Kari Lehtonen's frustration spilling over into violence.
After covering up the puck in the crease, Daniel Carcillo arrived at Lehtonen's doorstep only to be greeted with a punch. A roughing call was assessed to Lehtonen and the Flyers only had a Chris Pronger shot go on net over the next two minutes.
Since the Stars were unable to provide any chances at even strength, one would think their first opportunity of the period was about to happen as they went to a man advantage after a Matt Carle tripping call halfway through the period. Two minutes later, the game remained scoreless after two shots by Brad Richards were denied by Brian Boucher. Most of the remaining time left in the period was spent in the Flyers' offensive zone leading to the first goal of the game.
Ville Leino carried the puck from the left wing all the way around the net and back to the right side, where he found Meszaros. The lanky defenseman danced with the puck from the blue line towards the inside of the left circle. Finding an opening through traffic, Meszaros ripped a shot top right corner that Lehtonen saw too late putting the Flyers up 1-0. The goal was Meszaros' 4th on the season and came with 1:20 left in the first period.
The second period started off with the Flyers shorthanded due to a Nikolay Zherdev holding call late in the first. A situation favoring the Stars to score resulted in quite the opposite outcome.
With about half a minute left in the penalty to Zherdev, Powe and Blair Betts entered the zone 2-on-1. A slight hesitation gesturing a pass to Betts allowed Powe to blast a wrist shot from the right circle over Lehtonen's glove to increase Philly's lead to two. Powe's first shorthanded goal this season was also his 4th overall and first since mid-November.
The two tallies spanned two periods, but were only separated by 1:39 of game clock.
The Flyers' forecheck started to back off in the second period allowing Dallas to create offensive chances. All the chances led to the Stars cutting their deficit to one a little over twelve minutes into the period.
Mike Ribeiro skated from behind the net to the right side of the crease with his back to the blue line and gave a pass to Morrow who was standing right next to the goal line on the left side of the net. Morrow's 23rd on the year gave the Stars a one-goal deficit with plenty of time to get the equalizer.
The Stars' best chances of the game came in the remaining seven minutes of the second period and opening minutes of the third. It took the Flyers only four minutes into the third to start taking over again. The pressure essentially resulted in the demise of Dallas as Mark Fistric was called for holding Danny Briere. The Flyers didn't score on the power play, but it did add on to the strong forecheck Philly produced that period.
All their hard work and effort resulted in the game's final goal with about ten minutes left in regulation.
A hard wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle by Carter leaked it's way through Lehtonen and over the goal line for Philly's third goal on the evening. Carter's 25th on the season put the Flyers up by a pair with too little time for the Stars to come back.
After a half period of the Flyers dumping the puck out of their defensive zone and missing several empty-net chances, the game ended with the Flyers on top 3-1.
Boucher had a strong game making 30 saves on 31 shots keeping the Flyers in the game despite surges from the Dallas' forwards in the second and third periods. Boucher's big save of the night came on a Steve Ott wrist shot from the middle of the left circle that was heading to the top right corner of the net before Boucher gloved it down with a sweeping flourish.
Notes: Boucher improved to 12-6-2 on the year and won his first game since January 16...Carter became the 2nd Flyer this season to reach the 25 goal mark; the other is Danny Briere who currently has 26 goals...The Flyers had an uncharacteristic 2nd period scoring as many goals as the Stars and getting heavily outplayed for a portion of the period...The win over the Stars was the Flyers 2nd win over a Pacific Division team this season (Kings @ LA 7-4 on 12/30/10). The Flyers are 2-2-1 against Pacific Divsion this season (DAL 1-0-0, SJS 0-0-1, ANA 0-2-0, PHX 0-0-0, LAK 1-0-0).
Hosting the Nashville Predators for their only meeting this season, the Philadelphia Flyers were on the right side of an explosive third period as they won 3-2 tonight.
The third period saw a total of three goals in over a span of ten minutes. Ville Leino had his first career two-goal game scoring both of Philadelphia's third period tallies. Jeff Carter recorded a game-high three points with a goal and two assists while Claude Giroux had a pair of helpers as well.
Leino's late game goal allowed the Flyers to avoid back-to-back losses after dropping a 4-0 road decision to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
In a game that started out much stronger than Tuesday's for the Flyers, they ended up gaining the lead at the halfway point of the opening period.
After Kimmo Timonen and Nikolay Zherdev worked with the puck down near the goal line, Matt Carle did a great job keeping the puck in along the boards backhanding a pass to Giroux through traffic. Giroux avoided turning the puck over as a pair of Predators pressured him by lofting the puck to Carter, who danced with the puck near the bottom of the circle to the right of Anders Lindback.
Moving from between the boards and the circle to the slot, Carter ripped a shot past Lindback's blocker giving Philly the 1-0 lead. The goal was Carter's 24th on the season.
The joy of scoring their first goal since the All-Star break didn't last long as Nashville tied the game up 59 seconds later. Cody Franson took the puck coast-t0-coast before releasing a shot at the top of the right circle. Marcel Goc was rewarded for driving hard to the net as he put in the big rebound given up by Sergei Bobrovsky netting his ninth of the season.
Nashville had a few chances after their goal, but were unable to take the lead. The biggest chance the Flyers had for the remainder of the period came on a Danny Briere breakaway. He'd fail to convert as Lindback kept up with his quick moves making a left pad save along the ice near the left post. In a first period where the Flyers had chances early and late, the score was even due to a very brief defensive and goaltending lapse.
With the subtraction of goals and addition of multiple penalties, the grit and physical play picked up in the second period.
A scrum and a fight added tension to what was looking to be a rather dull game at the end of one. Chris Pronger made a defensive play on Martin Erat in the earlier part of the peiod and irritated Erat to the point of retaliation. The two pushed each other from the bottom of the circles to the Predators' offensive blue line and kept going after the whistle. Later in the perod, Daniel Carcillo dropped the gloves with Kevin Klein with about a minute left in the period. The fight was established with more grabbing than punching before the referees seperated the two.
The Flyers were awarded the first power play of the game seven minutes into second period thanks to a delay of game call after Klein cleared the puck over the glass. Philly failed to capitalize on the chance as they couldn't even muster a shot on net during the man advantage. Entering the third period, the Predators saw their first power play of the game as a minute remained on a Carcillo boarding call.
After killing off the remaining time on the penalty, the Flyers started putting pressure on Lindback just before the first television timeout of the period. Scott Hartnell drew a hooking penalty on Joel Ward and Philly provided about a minute of offense before Nashville touched the puck assessing them with the punishment.
Being handed only their second man advantage of the game with six minutes gone in the third, the Flyers came through on the limited special teams opportunity. Carter deflected a pass from Mike Richards, who was standing just above the goal line to the left of Lindback, on net allowing Leino to squeak it in just between Lindback's pads and the post. It was Leino's 12th goal on the season and put his team up by a goal for the first time since the first period.
History repeated itself as the Flyers gave away a lead moments after gaining it for the second time in the game. With Giroux sitting in the box for high-sticking, Joel Ward redeemed himself for costing his team a goal earlier in the period by putting in one of his own. Ward's seventh goal of the season tied the game at two goals apiece with a little under ten minutes left in regulation. The mark came 3 1/2 minutes after the Flyers gained their second lead of the game.
Unwilling to settle for blowing two leads, Leino put away his second goal of the game (and period) with just over three minutes left in regulation. The shifty Finn's 13th goal of the season put Philadelphia up for the third and final time on the night as the Predators couldn't get a third puck past Sergei Bobrovsky in the final three minutes.
In a game with minimal man advantage opportunities, both teams' power play units came through with crucial goals in the third period. Leino's power play goal was answered minutes later with a Ward power play goal. Both teams went a combined 2-for-6 on the evening.
Despite having his aggressive slapshot shut down, Shea Weber still found his way onto the scoresheet with an assist on Ward's game-tying goal in the third. Weber took thirteen shots tonight, but only six of them found their way to the net.
Notes: Leino achieved his first two goal game tonight in his 120th NHL game...Carcillo and Klein combined for 14 of the game's 18 penalty minutes...Tonight marked the second time in the last four games that Carter has had a 3 point game (1/23/11- 2 goals and 1 assist @ Chicago)...Since this was Philly's only meeting with Nashville this season, they'll go 1-0-0 against the Predators and 3-1-1 against the Central division on the season (DET 1-0-0, NSH 1-0-0, CHI 1-0-0, STL 0-0-1, CBJ 0-1-0). They improved to 6-4-3 against the Western Conference so far this season.
Since the All-Star break spanned from Thursday to Monday, this will indeed be a very brief Atlantic Watch. For the Flyers, the lone game of the week was a rather embarrassing one. After allowing a goal nineteen seconds into the game and another one a minute later, the Flyers found themselves on the wrong side of a 4-0 shutout to their newly found nightmare in the Tampa Bay Lightning. The loss dropped the Flyers to 33-13-5 on the season and 0-3-0 against Tampa on the season. Apparently, the recipe to stream a line of victories against Philly is an aging goaltender combined with two real scoring threats. Go figure.
Anyways, the Flyers and their divisional foes had quite an influence on the outcome of the All-Star game. Danny Briere scored two goals for Team Lidstrom (coached by Peter Laviolette) while Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for Team Staal. I'll recap how the teams following Philly in the Atlantic did since last Wednesday along with how each team's All-Stars performed.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-0-0. Since they didn't play last Wednesday, the Penguins only game over the last week was last night's shootout victory over the New York Rangers. Dustin Jeffrey led the Penguins to victory last night by opening the Pens' scoring with a goal early in the second to cut their deficit to one. He then scored the lone goal in the seven round shootout. Chris Kunitz had a game-high two points with a goal and an assist.
With the win, and the help of the Flyers' loss to Tampa, the Pens are now only three points behind Philadelphia trailing 71 points to 68. The win also increased their lead over the third place New York Rangers to six points.
If the ground they had gained in the division wasn't enough for them, the Pens also had Sidney Crosby cleared for light workouts. Crosby has missed ten games so far due to the concussion symptoms he suffered in early January. In addition to Crosby, it seems as though Evgeni Malkin might be returning to the line up soon as well. Malkin has recently suffered from a sinus infection, but seems to be getting over it as well as not feeling the effects of a nagging knee injury that has bothered him all season.
The Pens had defesne man Kris Letang and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury attend the All-Star game this year. Letang netted two goals on three shots while Fleury allowed four goals within the opening six minutes. Despite the poor play of Fleury, he ended up on the winning Team Lidstrom while the more deserving Letang suffered a loss on Team Staal.
New York Rangers: 0-0-1. They didn't get the win, but the New York Rangers did get a point in their only game of the week. After obtaining a two goal lead just before the two minute mark in the second period, the Rangers saw their multi-goal lead become a one goal deficit over a ten minute span during the second period. Without focusing on the mini collapse, the Rangers tied the game up with thirteen seconds left in the period on a Ryan Callahan power play goal. A scoreless third period and overtime led to a shootout. Seven different Rangers failed to get the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury preventing them from gaining the additional point on the evening.
The loss causes the Rangers to trail the second place Penguins by six points, one point more than they were trailing Pittsburgh entering the week. They also find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference leading the Montreal Canadiens by a point (62 to 61).
Similar to the Penguins, the Rangers sent both a defense man and a goalie to the All-Star game. Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist both played for the losing Team Staal. Marc didn't serve his brother's team well going pointless with a -2 rating on the night. Lundqvist suffered the loss allowing three goals on fourteen shots in the third period.
New York Islanders: 1-1-0. The Islanders entered the All-Star break losing to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. In their first game after the break, the Isles entered Atlanta to hand the Thrashers a 4-1 loss. Despite the team's overall outcome, Michael Grabner and Andrew MacDonald can be proud of themselves as both registered a goal and an assist last Wednesday. In their dominance over Atlanta, Kyle Okposo scored two goals and an assist. Okposo's first goal on the night ended up being the game winning goal.
Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo led the Islanders in scoring this week with three points. Grabner added an assist on Okposo's second goal Tuesday night. Okposo's points were more beneficial as they led the Isles to their lone win on the week.
Just because the Islanders didn't have a single player take part in the All-Star game on Sunday doesn't mean an Islander didn't leave his mark on the weekend. Michael Grabner won the Fastest Skater event on Saturday at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition beating Edmonton's Taylor Hall in the final.
New Jersey Devils: 1-1-0. The Devils and Islanders took the same approach to the All-Star break; enter it on a bad note and come out strong for the second half of the season. Losing 3-1 in Detroit last Wednesday ended the Devils' four-game winning streak (a streak that included a win over a Flyers team who looked to be going through the motions). The break allowed the Devils to gather and regain focus after dropping their first game in regulation after going 6-0-1 in their previous seven. What ensued was a tight game against Ottawa that was won late in the third period on a Dainius Zubrus goal finalizing the score at 2-1.
Despite an impressive 7-1-1 stretch over their last nine games, the Devils still find themselves dead last in not only the division but the league. However, the Devils could move past the Oilers this week to move to 29th overall. Not the most exciting news, but it's better to be the second worst team in the league rather than the worst team in the league.
Patrik Elias represented the league's worst team at the All-Star game on Sunday. He ended up doing a nice job posting a goal and an assist. Elias only had one shot, but that was all he needed to find the score sheet.
Thanks to a poor start and rust from the All-Star break, the Flyers experienced their 3rd loss on the season to Tampa Bay by a score of 4-0. Teddy Purcell tallied his first career two-goal game scoring Tampa's first two goals on the night. Poor positional play from the defense and unfortunate bounces resulted in Philadelphia's early deficit. Both Martin St.Louis and Simon Gagne had two assists on the night while Steve Downie netted a goal late in the first period. Dwayne Roloson recorded the shutout for Tampa tonight. It's the fourth time all season the Flyers have been shutout. The win extended the Lightning's winning streak to six and handed the Flyers their second loss within the last four games.
It didn't take long for the Flyers to find the game's first deficit. After causing a turnover in the neutral zone, Simon Gagne spun clockwise right in front of the Flyers' bench passing the puck to Teddy Purcell standing at the blue line. Thanks to Braydon Coburn over pursuing the play, Purcell and Vincent Lecavalier enjoyed a 2-on-1 against Kimmo Timonen. Purcell tapped the puck to Lecavalier who then passed the puck back to Purcell as Timonen dropped to the ice in an attempt to break up the pass. From the lower half of the circles, Purcell let a shot go in the slot that found the inside of the right post as Sergei Bobrovsky sat deep in the crease. Purcell's ninth goal on the season gave Tampa Bay the one goal lead ninteen seconds into the game.
The early shenanigans didn't stop there for Philly. Just over a minute later, Gagne let a wrist shot rip from the top right part of the right circle that went wide to Bobrovsky's left. The puck bounced off the endboards and slid between Bobrovsky's legs to the top of the crease as Bob was looking towards center ice. Purcell netted his second goal of the night on the lucky bounce as Bobrovsky was unaware of where the puck was. Before the Flyers could realize the All-Star break was over, they found themselves in a two-goal hole to the Southeast power house. The first period woes didn't stop their for the Flyers as a former teammate hurt them later in the stanza.
Chances came and went for the Flyers over the remainder of the period as strong play from the powerplay unit nearly cut the deficit in half. However, their hardwork didn't pay off as Steve Downie found the net for his fifth goal on the season extending the Lightning's lead to 3-0. While entering the zone along the boards to Bobrovsky's right, Downie changed direction skating to the slot along the top of the left circle allowing a back checking Mike Richards to screen Bob along with Steven Stamkos. After Downie released a weak wrist shot from the slot, the puck would find its way through Bobrovsky's 5-hole. The remaining five minutes in the period yielded little action, but the struggle that was the opening minutes of the game for Philadelphia ended up being enough for the Lightning.
The second period saw a better effort from the orange and black, but the improvement didn't translate into goals. Peter Laviolette attempted to shake things up by replacing Bobrovsky with Brian Boucher; he'd save all eleven shots he saw in the period. For the second straight period the Flyers ended up outshooting the Lightning. Despite a brief surge from Tampa near the middle of the period, most of the play was spent in Philly's offensive zone. The offensive pressure from Philadelphia peaked on both powerplay chances in the period. The powerplay chances stemmed from a hooking call on Simon Gagne and a holding call on Sean Bergenheim. No matter what the Flyers put on net, Roloson had an answer stopping every shot he saw in the period. The deficit remained three as the game entered the final period.
All that came from the third period was a Steven Stamkos goal nearly nine minutes into the period making the lead 4-0. His 39th goal of the season came on a pass from Martin St.Louis, Tampa's duo that has caused damage to most teams they've played this season. This was the only goal Boucher allowed saving fifteen of sixteen shots on the night. Roloson stopped all eleven shots he saw in the period and saved all 38 shots he faced on the night registering his second straight shutout and fourth on the season.
The Flyers lost the game tonight within the first few minutes. Sloppy play early and an unfortunate bounce was the difference in what was an otherwise tight game. The rust of having a week off was seen in tonight's game as the Flyers were unable to move affectively through the neutral zone. Most of the first period saw the Flyers turning the puck over in the neutral zone or offensive zone. Tampa's first goal on the night was off a turnover in the neutral zone while a Scott Hartnell turnover in the offensive zone led to a Tampa Bay goal later in the period.
Another sign of rust came from the defense occasionally being out of position. Braydon Coburn's aggresive play at the very beginning of the game resulted in Purcell's first goal. It was a play Coburn didn't need to make and allowed Purcell and Lecavalier to enter the zone with a 2-on-1. Aside from Coburn, Chris Pronger also had a shaky start. Nearly turning over the puck twice and leaving Dana Tyrell with an open chance to score shorthanded as Pronger pursued the same man as Timonen summed up Pronger's main plays in the first period. These aren't routine plays frome the two and were probably due to the fact they had not played a game over the last week.
Goaltending was the difference in the game. Sergei Bobrovsky only played the first period, but allowed three goals on six shots while Roloson kept his team in the game throughout. Two of Tampa's goals came while Bobrovsky was deep in the crease. Bob's positioning in relation to the net has been talked about a lot this season, but tonight it proved to be negative. It will be interesting to see how Bob will play in his next appearance, whether he'll be more aggressive or still remain in the back part of the crease.
Notes: This was the 4th time all season the Flyers had been shutout (11/16 @MTL, 12/1 vs. BOS, 12/20 vs. FLA). The Flyers are now 0-3-0 against Tampa Bay (the most games the Flyers have played against any team this season without winning or registering a point). The Flyers out shot the Lightning 38-22 out shooting the opposition in all 3 periods (1st/13-6 PHI, 2nd/ 14-11 PHI, 3rd/ 11-5 PHI). The Flyers are now 6-4-1 against the Southeast this season (TBL 0-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, ATL 1-0-0, CAR 2-0-0, FLA 1-1-0).