Better With Popcorn

Despite Win Flyers Still Making Same Mistakes

The Flyers snapped their four-game losing streak, beating the Rangers, 2-1, on Thursday.

Another great effort by Steve Mason - 29 saves on 30 shots - finally earned the netminder his second win of the season. But despite his solid play in net, it was almost for naught once again.

Granted the Flyers won the third period, 1-0, they nearly coughed up the lead in the frame several times, and in fact, almost did so.

J.T. Miller's goal with over 14 minutes left in the third tied the game up, 2-2. But fortunately for the Flyers, the play was reviewed and it was determined that Miller clearly kicked the puck into the net.

"It was just a kicking motion," Mason said. "I knew it right away. Right call."

With th play being reversed, it turned Braydon Coburn's goal just three minutes, 33 seconds into the third into the game-winner. Coburn blasted a loose puck that trickled out to the point past Rangers goalie Cam Talbot to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

"We want to try to put as many pucks as we can at the net," Coburn said. "We’ve got guys like Wayne [Simmonds] screening the goalie and causing havoc in there so you know as long as you can get the pucks through, things can happen."

After Coburn's goal, the Flyers sat back while the Rangers got chance after chance, including a power play opportunity in which the Rangers had the goal disallowed.

During the period, the Flyers iced the puck six times, something head coach Craig Berube felt were "a few too many times" after the game.

“I thought we stopped playing a little in the third just a couple times with the puck, just a little too cautious but we picked it up again and we were okay. It definitely gave the team some confidence,” Berube said.

The prevent-style defense wasn't the only thing the Flyers kept doing wrong.

The power play unit, which was 29th going into the game, went 0-for-4 against the Rangers, dropping the season total to 3-for-37. Only Anaheim, who is 3-for-39, is worse than the Flyers in the NHL right now with the man-advantage.

The Flyers final power play opportunity of the night came during the second and third period. After Max Talbot was boarded by Benoit Pouliot, the Rangers forward was tagged with a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct with three minutes to play in the second.

The Flyers failed to score during the five-minute major, getting only four shots on net during the powerplay.

“Especially when you get a five minute power play like that, you want to get at least one goal," captain Claude Giroux said. "For whatever reason, it’s not going in right now.

"You have slumps like that during an 82-game season where the power play won’t work, but over the last three years, our power play has been top of the league, so I think we just have to keep working on it and it’s going to come.”

The Flyers shuffled their lines up during the week off hoping that would provide a spark.

The top line consisted of Giroux, Michael Raffl and Vincent Lecavalier.

Lecavalier returned from a lower-body injury suffered on October 11 and logged over 20 minutes of ice time. Though he didn't get a point in the return, Lecavalier looked good on the ice.

“It was good. We had a little chemistry going," Giroux said.

Despite all of that, the mood in the locker room was a lot better than it was after the Penguins game last week.

Though they lost 4-1 to Pittsburgh, the energy in the locker room was zapped with losing a game that was mostly a one-goal game. On Thursday, winning a close game like they did against the Rangers could be a turning point, or it could just be an indicator that things are still busted.

“Finally go into the third period with a tie game and coming out with a win, it’s huge for the team’s confidence," Giroux said. "I think we want to be a team that can play good in the third period, and I think we played really good in the third.”

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Max Talbot left the game temporarily and had his nose stitched up.

With three minutes to go in the third, Talbot went face-first into the boards on what appeared to be an intentional boarding penalty by the Rangers' Benoit Pouliot. But replays showed that Talbot tripped and went face-first into the boards, but Pouliot got a five-minute major and game misconduct out of it.

Both Talbot and Craig Berube said after the game that they felt it was an accident and not a dirty play by Pouliot.

“I think it was more of an accident more than anything," Berube said. "I don’t believe that anything was intentional.

"Max was a little bit awkward going into the boards but it’s always a dangerous position and don’t think Pouliot pushed him. I think he was off balance and it was a tough play.”

The NHL should take into account what Talbot and Berube feel after the game. If that's the case, it's doubtful Pouliot gets suspended.

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John Russo
Editor; Featured Writer

Twitter: @Roose_TCL; @TCLFlyers 
Email: russo@thecheckingline.com