If panic hadn't set in yet, it definitely has now. In a week they had four games to help better their chances of winning both the division and the conference, the Flyers lost every game managing to only gain one point all week long. Adding on to the recent worries about playing lazy and horrible lately, the talent of the teams who beat Philly this week should also cause the Flyers to panic.
Playing three teams out of the playoff race, the Flyers dropped their games with Atlanta, New Jersey, and Ottawa in regulation. They were able to salvage a point against the Rangers on Sunday.
The horrendous results of the week allowed the Capitals to take the lead in the conference. As both teams only have two games remaining, the schedule seems to favor Washington as they have a home and home against the Florida Panthers. The Flyers play the Sabres and Islanders.
Not only has this four game losing streak cost the Flyers the lead in the conference, it could cost them the Atlantic division. Having two games remaining as well, the Penguins have come to within a point of the Flyers in the standings. With games against the Islanders and Thrashers, the Penguins need to end the year with more points than Philly to win the division as the Flyers hold the tie-breaker over Pittsburgh with more regulation/overtime wins (PHI 43, PIT 38).
In what may be his best performance all year long, Chris Mason stoned the Flyers for a 43-save shutout on Thursday night's 1-0 Atlanta win. All the Thrashers needed was a puck to go off of Nik Antropov's skate and in for the win in Philly as Mason had his second highest save total on the season (11/3-52).
The next day, the Flyers came out with yet another lackluster performance and lost to the Devils 4-2 in New Jersey. Powered by a Patrik Elias hat-trick, the Devils handed the Flyers their second straight loss. Similar to Antropov's goal a day earlier, Nick Palmieri had his game-winning goal find the back of the net after hitting his skate in front.
On Sunday, the Flyers came out swinging early, both figuratively and literally. Sean O'Donnell fought Brandon Prust 45 seconds into the game in an attempt to wake up the evidently sleeping Flyers. The fight provided some energy as the Flyers gained the 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a James van Riemsdyk tally, but Philly ultimately lost 3-2 in a shootout. Erik Christensen and Wojtek Wolski made the Rangers 2-for-2 in their shootout attempts against Sergei Bobrovsky.
Looking to end their three-game losing streak, the Flyers headed to Ottawa to take on the Senators. Late in the second period, the Flyers turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit as Ryan Shannon and Bobby Butler scored goals 1:04 apart. As the remaining 14 seconds ticked away in the second after Butler's goal, the Flyers gave up two more in the third as the Sens scored four unanswered goals to beat Philly 5-2. The loss was the Flyers' fourth in a row and fifth in their last six games.
Despite the lack of team success, several Flyers had impressive solo performances this week. Claude Giroux had four assists on the week, including a two-assist game against the Rangers on Sunday.
Not dressing over a 12-game span, Nikolay Zherdev made some noise since returning to the lineup Thursday against the Devils. After assisting on Jeff Carter's game-tying goal on Thursday, Zherdev had a game-tying goal of his own against the Rangers on Sunday to tie the game at two. With an assist on Mike Richards' second power-play goal on the night, Zherdev got a point in three straight games for the first time since 12/14-12/18 (4G,1A).
If the Flyers want any type of chance to win the conference, they need to focus on their two remaining games. After a trip to Buffalo on Friday, the Flyers end the season hosting the Isles on Saturday.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 2-1-0. A one-goal loss to the team they will most likely open the playoffs against was the Pens only mistake this week as they beat both the Panthers and Devils 4-2.
After giving up two goals in the opening 10:13, the Penguins couldn't tie the game at two despite a third period tally from Michael Rupp. Out shooting the Lightning 31-16 in the final two periods, the Pens suffered a painful loss despite out playing the opposition.
The Penguins took out their frustration from their prior game by beating another team from the Southeast division. Trailing 2-1 after the first period, an early second period goal from Pascal Dupuis tied the game and a third period goal from Zybnek Michalek gave the Pens the lead. An empty-netter from Craig Adams was the icing on the cake as Pittsburgh walked into Florida and won 4-2.
Returning home for their match up with division rival New Jersey, the Penguins saw the division lead within reach. Heading into the final 20 minutes with a 2-1 lead, a Chris Kunitz goal gave the Pens an insurmountable lead of 3-1 as Pittsburgh went on to win 4-2.
Dupuis had three goals on the week for a Penguins team fighting for better positioning in the playoffs. Scoring the game-tying goal against the Panthers on Saturday, Dupuis had a pair of goals against the Devils last night (one of which was a shorthanded goal with just over a minute to play).
Jordan Staal also had a huge week for the Penguins. Although he did score a power-play goal and assisted on Kunitz's game-winning goal against the Devils, Staal's big performance on the week came agaisnt the Panthers where he assisted on three of the Pens' four goals.
Giving themselves a chance to win the division, the Penguins carry a two-game winning streak into their final two games of the season. A visit to Long Island on Friday to take on the Islanders is followed up by a visit to Atlanta on Sunday. Victories in both games might be enough for Pittsburgh to steal the Atlantic title from the Flyers.
New York Rangers: 2-2-0. Looking to make the playoffs, the Rangers came out of the week with two big wins against the Flyers and Bruins.
The week didn't start off well for the Rangers as they were shut out by Jhonas Enroth and the Sabres 1-0 and destroyed by the Islanders 6-2 in back-to-back nights.
However, the Rangers turned things around later in the week starting with their nationally televised matinee game against the Flyers. With Henrik Lundqvist making both saves as both Rangers' skaters scored goals in the shootout, New York grabbed a crucial two points in their hunt for the playoffs.
Playing Boston the next day, the Rangers found themselves losing 3-0 halfway through the game. Thanks to back-to-back goals from Vinny Prospal and two goals in a span of 51 seconds late in the third period the Rangers went on to win the game 5-3.
In addition to his two-goal performance against the Bruins, Prospal also had a goal against the Islanders. In what might be his most important point of the week, Prospal had an assist on Ruslan Fedotenko's second period goal against the Flyers on Sunday.
With only two home games making up the remainder of their schedule, the Rangers have a strong likelihood to make the playoffs. Wins against the Thrashers on Thursday and Devils on Saturday would assure the Rangers of a playoff berth.
New Jersey Devils: 2-2-0. Starting off the week strong with home wins against the Islanders and Flyers, the Devils slipped up later on as they lost a pair of two-goal games to the Canadiens and Penguins.
After blowing a two-goal lead in a 4:06 span in the third period, an Andy Greene goal with 4:56 left in regulation gave the Devils a 3-2 win against the Islanders last Wednesday. Opportunistic is a nice way of putting Greene's goal in the third period as his team was out shot 14-3 in the last 20 minutes of Wednesday's game.
Two days later, Elias found a way to beat Bobrovsky three times to net a hat-trick on the way to a 4-2 Devils' win. Despite scoring three of his teams four goals, Elias watched Palmieri score the game-winning goal despite never having the puck actually hit his stick.
The Devils' winning ways didn't last long as they fell to the Canadiens the next day 3-1. A first period goal from Mathieu Darche in addition to two Montreal goals in the first 3:34 of the third period put the Devils in a three-goal hole they couldn't dig themselves out of on Saturday.
Finishing off their week with a game last night against the Pens, New Jersey lost their second straight game by a score of 4-2. The Devils' power-play hurt them a lot last night as they went 0-for-2 and gave a shorthanded goal to Dupuis in the final minutes of regulation.
Elias had the best week of anybody in a Devils' uniform as he scored four goals and assisted on two other goals. Registering a point in each game this week, Elias's week was highlighted with his hat-trick against the Flyers on Friday. His other goal on the week came in New Jersey's loss to Montreal on Saturday. Elias assisted on Greene's game-winning goal last Wednesday.
Palmieri also had a strong week for the Devils as he had a game-winning goal and three assists. Opening the week with a two-assist night against the Islanders, Palmieri scored the game-winning goal against Philly on Friday and had an assist in last night's loss to Pittsburgh.
Although it doesn't really matter since they can't make the playoffs, the Devils' remaining games are against two tough opponents. A visit to Madison Square Garden on Saturday to play the Rangers is followed by a game against Boston the next day at home.
New York Islanders: 1-2-0. With three games in four nights, the Islanders found a way to massacre the Rangers in between close losses to the Devils and Hurricanes.
Despite out playing the Devils in the final twenty minutes on Wednesday, the Islanders found themselves without any points at the end of the night as they fell to New Jersey 3-2.
Apparently, all the Islanders needed was a trip back home as they demolished the Rangers 6-2 on Thursday night. A four-goal second period helped the Islanders destroy the Rangers as the score looked closer than it should have as Brandon Dubinsky scored a goal with 14 seconds left.
Heading into the final period against the Hurricanes on Saturday with a 2-1 lead, the Islanders watched Carolina score three goals in the third as they went onto win 4-2. Both Eric Staal and Joe Corvo had a goal and an assist in the Hurricanes' win in Long Island on Saturday.
Although his team lost last Wednesday, Frans Nielsen gave his team a shot with two goals in a 4:06 span in the third period. One of Nielsen's goals in the third was a shorthanded tally.
Not usually noticed for points, Dylan Reese had four points this week for New York. Assisting on three goals in the Islanders' monster victory against the Rangers on Thursday, Reese had the secondary assist on John Tavares's second period goal against the Hurricanes. Coming into this week, Reese had one assist in 21 games before registering three in three games this week.
Being the only team with three games remaining in their schedule, the Isles finish off their season with three teams in the playoffs. In addition to visiting Boston tonight, the Islanders play the Penguins on Friday and the Flyers on Saturday.
Game 80: Philadelphia Flyers @ Ottawa Senators, 7:30 pm, CSN.
Overall Record: 46-22-11
Away Record: 25-10-4
Record vs. Senators: 2-1-0
Away Record vs. Senators: 0-1-0
Overall Record: 30-39-10
Home Record: 14-20-5
Record vs. Flyers: 1-2-0
Home Record vs. Flyers: 1-0-0
Flyers' Winning % vs. Senators: .667, 2/3 games (15th)
Flyers' Point % vs. Senators: .667, 4/6 pts (17th)
Flyers' Losing % vs. Senators: .333, 1/3 games (17th)
Flyers' Goals/Game vs. Senators: 4.00, 12 goals/3 games (3rd)
Senators' Goals/Game vs. Flyers: 2.33, 7 goals/3 games (16th)
Flyers' Shots/Game vs. Senators: 36.67, 110 shots/3 games (6th)
Senators' Shots/Game vs. Flyers: 28.33, 85 shots/3 games (18th)
Flyers' Power Play % vs. Senators: 23.1%, 3/13 (7th)
Senators' Power Play % vs. Flyers: 28.6%, 2/7 (7th)
Flyers' Penalty Kill % vs. Senators: 71.4%, 5/7 (24th)
Senators' Penalty Kill % vs. Flyers: 76.9%, 10/13 (23rd)
Flyers' Team LeadersPoints- Claude Giroux, 74
Goals- Jeff Carter, 36
Assists- Claude Giroux, 49
+/- - Andrej Meszaros, +30
PIM- Scott Hartnell, 138
Senators' Team LeadersPoints- Jason Spezza, 50
Goals- Jason Spezza, 19
Assists- Erik Karlsson, 32
+/- - David Hale, +5 (22 games played)
PIM- Chris Neil, 193
Former Senators Currently On The Flyers
Former Flyers Currently On The Senators
Flyers' 5-1 win in Philly on November 15th
Flyers' 6-2 win in Philly on January 20th
Senators' 4-1 win in Ottawa on February 26th
Game 79: New York Rangers @ Philadelphia Flyers, 12:30 pm, NBC.
Overall Record: 41-32-5
Away Record: 23-16-1
Record vs. Flyers: 1-4-0
Away Record vs. Flyers: 0-2-0
Overall Record: 46-22-10
Home Record: 21-12-6
Record vs. Rangers: 4-1-0
Home Record vs. Rangers: 2-0-0
Flyers' Winning % vs. Rangers: .800, 4/5 games (9th)
Flyers' Point % vs. Rangers: .800, 8/10 pts (9th)
Flyers' Losing % vs. Rangers: .200, 1/5 games (21st)
Flyers' Goals/Game vs. Rangers: 3.00, 15 goals/5 games (14th)
Rangers' Goals/Game vs. Flyers: 2.60, 13 goals/5 games (11th)
Flyers' Shots/Game vs. Rangers: 27, 135 shots/5 games (28th)
Rangers' Shots/Game vs. Flyers: 31.40, 157 shots/5 games (8th)
Flyers' Power Play % vs. Rangers: 19%, 4/21 (10th)
Rangers' Power Play % vs. Flyers: 18.8%, 3/16 (15th)
Flyers' Penalty Kill % vs. Rangers: 81.3%, 13/16 (15th)
Rangers' Penalty Kill % vs. Flyers: 81%, 17/21 (20th)
Rangers' Team LeadersPoints- Brandon Dubinsky, 52
Goals- Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, 23
Assists- Brandon Dubinsky, 29
+/- - Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh, +17
PIM- Sean Avery, 174
Flyers' Team LeadersPoints- Claude Giroux, 72
Goals- Jeff Carter, 36
Assists- Claude Giroux, 47
+/- - Andrej Meszaros, +28
PIM- Scott Hartnell, 136
Former Flyers Currently On The Rangers
#19 Ruslan Fedotenko
Current Season Against The Flyers: 4 games, 0 goals, and 1 assist.
Current Season With The Rangers: 62 games, 9 goals, and 13 assists.
Career With The Flyers: 2 seasons (2000-2001 and 2001-2002), 163 games, 34 goals, and 30 assists.
#20 Vinny Prospal
Current Season Against The Flyers: 2 games, 0 goals, and 2 assists.
Current Season With The Rangers: 25 games, 6 goals, and 12 assists.
Career With The Flyers: 3 seasons (1996-1997,1997-1998, and 2007-2008), 81 games, 18 goals, and 46 assists.
#43 Martin Biron
Current Season Against The Flyers: 1 game, 0-1-0, .889 save %, and 3.10 GAA.
Current Season With The Rangers: 17 games, 8-6-0, .923 save %, and 2.13 GAA.
Career With The Flyers: 3 seasons (2006-2007 to 2008-2009), 156 games, 76-59-16, .913 save %, and 2.78 GAA.
#44 Steve Eminger
Current Season Against The Flyers: 3 games, 0 goals, and 0 assists.
Current Season With The Rangers: 62 games, 2 goals, and 4 assists.
Career With The Flyers: 1 season (2008-2009), 12 games, 0 goals, and 2 assists.
The Flyers' 4-1 win at home on November 4th
The Flyers' 4-1 win at home on December 18th
The Flyers' 3-2 win in New York on January 16th
The Flyers' 4-2 win in New York on February 20th
The Rangers' 7-0 win in New York on March 6th
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).