Flyers Let One Slip Away
To sum up tonight's Flyers game, all one would have to do is revert back to another recap of a loss in the month of March. It is the same old story with the Flyers. The cliches are getting more and more redundant. Whether it's about not putting in a 60 minute effort, not capitalizing on power plays, not keeping a foot on the gas, or not providing offensive support, it's the same old song and dance.
The Flyers played an absolutely great first period Sunday night. They came out with a lot of energy and seemed poised for the challenge awaiting them. The renewed rivalry of the Flyers and Bruins has every game that the two teams face each other feeling like a playoff game.
The Flyers jumped out to the early lead thanks to a goal from Kris Versteeg. Mike Richards sent over the perfect pass to Versteeg, and he made no mistake with the puck putting it over the pad of Tim Thomas and who was forced out of position and into a wide open net. Versteeg was playing like a man on a mission Sunday night. Him and Mike Richards were clearly the best players on the ice.
The second period is when everything changed. The Flyers came out flat. The energy was gone. The Bruins were certainly looking like the better team. A 1-0 lead was nothing and it soon disappeared. Nathan Horton scored a power play goal to tie the game at one.
Since the Flyers have been in the habit of only showing up to play two periods of hockey, you would assume that the third period would be better, correct? Wrong. The Flyers team from the first period was no where to be found again. The drive was nonexistent.
You hate to make one player the scapegoat for a loss, especially when that player had been one of the best players all night long. Mike Richards took an ill-timed high sticking penalty with less than 5 minutes remaining in the period. It went from a game where it looked like overtime was a guarantee to a game that was about to get ugly. You could just feel it, and the feeling was correct. Brad Marchand scored to give the Bruins the lead. The building was dead enough already and that goal just made it even worse. The blame cold not be put on Mike Richards for the loss, but that penalty just hurt.
There were no late game heroics. The Bruins won 2-1.
The Flyers now only lead the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division by just 2 points. That's a scary thought, and it's something that this team brought on themselves. They have been in the driver's seat with the lead since January, and to let that lead slip in late March would be a tough blow.
So the Flyers now have their biggest game of the season on Tuesday. They face the Pittsburgh Penguins and it could be said that whoever wins that game will most likely win the Atlantic Division. Winning the division should not be played down. It is a big deal and should be treated like a priority.