Bounces conspire against Flyers in Carolina
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Things looked pretty good early. The Philadelphia Flyers began to assert themselves in the first period, and the pressure eventually paid off scoring a pretty soft goal to take a 1-0 lead against the Carolina Hurricanes.
As the Flyers looked to take control, Michal Neuvirth made a terrible turnover allowing a virtual empty net goal to tie the game. The Flyers dominated the second period from there besting the Canes 26-11 in shot attempts, but another fluky goal, this time a deflection off a linesman right to the front of the net, gave the Canes a 2-1 lead.
The Flyers kept on pressing from there, but it was one of those nights. With the Canes barely going near the Flyers net, Eric Staal directed in a high rebound to put the game out of reach. Like that, the Flyers fell 3-1 in a game they largely dominated.
Starting off, Sean Couturier returned to the lineup tonight. He generally looked pretty good, and played more minutes than any other forward, but Jakub Voracek was the real driving force on his line tonight. Voracek was up on his skates all night, creating problems for the defense and racking up nine shot attempts, six on goal. Unfortunately all the effort just ended up in minus-1 for the line. Additionally, Couturier was no replacement for Claude Giroux on the power play with the Flyers going 0-for-3 on that count.
The second big thing for the Flyers on this night was the play of the Scott Laughton line. Now usurping the Pierre-Edouard Bellemare line as the de facto third line, this line was all over the ice. Laughton and Nick Cousins in particular were dangerous, as this line scored the Flyers only goal and was unlucky not to score more in the second period. With the third line performing like this, it might be the best performance the Flyers have had all year from forwards one to nine.
The second line was equally active in the offensive zone, with Wayne Simmonds battling and Brayden Schenn and Sam Gagner making things happen with the puck. Schenn in particular looks very confident with the puck and has shown some chemistry with Gagner.
It was going to happen sooner or later, but Shayne Gostisbehere's point streak finally came to an end at 15 games. He played a pretty good game with Andrew MacDonald, but he certainly had fewer looks on the power play with Giroux.
Mark Streit and his partner Nick Schultz had equally pretty numbers for the Flyers. Streit was particularly active in the offensive zone, playmaking and tallying six shots on goal.
It was a relatively quiet night for Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning. Part of that may be the game flow, with the Flyers pushing on offense most of the night leaving the Flyers physical pair to take a back seat. Dave Hakstol played Manning over Evgeny Medvedev citing Manning's physical prowess, but that was certainly not a factor tonight.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @SuperScrub47.