Eight not enough for Flyers; Fall to Jets
The game went from a blow-out to a shoot-out in a matter of nine minutes.
Four goalies and 17 goals later, the Flyers dropped Thursday's home game to the Winnipeg Jets, 9-8, in one of the team's worst defensive games in recent memory.
"I don't think I have ever seen anything like that, though," said Flyers defensemen Kimmo Timonen, who registered four assists and was a +3 on the night.
"Obviously we played two really bad periods in Montreal yesterday and it seems like we were in the same mode today the first half of the game. That's not the way we win games and that's like I said we have work to do and I don't care if it's mental or physical, you have to show up," he added.
The score was 6-2 in favor of the Jets 25 minutes into the game. But for a team that has scored only three goals in the last 75 minutes, that spelled doom for the Flyers, who were on the verge of dropping another game in blowout fashion.
The Flyers, much like last night’s loss in Montreal, struck first on a beautiful 2-on-1 set-up by Jaromir Jagr to Scott Hartnell. But like last night, their energy immediately dropped after scoring the first goal and the Jets took advantage of the defense's lackluster play.
Blake Wheeler fired a shot from the point that hit off of former Flyer Randy Jones' skate and into the net to tie the game, 1-1.
While holding a 2-1 lead, Tobias Enstrom sent a shot towards the net and Kyle Wellwood got his stick out front and deflected it past Bobrovsky to make it 3-1 in favor of the Jets heading into the intermission.
The Jets struck back-to-back in the first five minutes of the second thanks to a deflection off Tanner Glass and an easy powerplay goal off the draw by Nik Antrapov.
Antrapov's goal chased Bobrovsky from the game and in came Ilya Bryzgalov with a 5-1 deficit. Claude Giroux put home a goal to make it 5-2 but Evander Kane put home his second goal of the season off a beautiful through-the-legs pass by Antrapov to give the Jets a 6-2 lead midway through the 2nd.
The Flyers answered with a pair of goals in the next six minutes. They cut the lead in half with a deflection by Danny Briere off a Timonen shot that got a piece of Hartnell. A couple minutes later, Max Talbot potted an unassisted goal off the goalie’s pads to make it a 6-4 game.
The Flyers had new life at that point with the ice almost at full tilt towards the Winnipeg net. But the Jets held on thanks to a few near misses and desperation stops by defensemen and goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
But the energy didn’t go away heading into the final frame.
Briere put in his second goal of the game only 90 seconds into the 3rd period to make it a 6-5 game. And a minute late, Matt Read caught a rebound high off the shoulder of Pavelec, dropped it on the ice and banged home the game-tying goal.
James van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers the big spark, banging home the 7th Flyers goal off new goalie Chris Mason and capped the unbelievable comeback.
But Bryzgalov couldn't stop the bleeding and just like that, the Jets scored two quick goals, giving them an 8-7 lead and capping off an unbelievable run of five goals in the first 4:31.
With van Riemsdyk’s go-ahead tally erased, he found the net for the second time of the game. Andrej Meszaros sent a pass to Timonen at the left circle and he sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to JvR, who netted the goal with over three minutes to play.
The Jets struck the closing blow when Andrew Ladd was able to score the game winner on a terrible defensive shift by the Flyers with just over a minute to play. That shift summed up the Flyers defensive problems beautifully.
"It was all about bad breaks on both sides," said Talbot. "It was a game with a lot of momentum shifts. They took the lead and we tried to come back and score three or four goals in a row. It was definitely a weird game.
TALBOT’S SCARE -- With three minutes left in the 1st, Max Talbot blocked a shot with his left foot and hobbled off the ice and went immediately down the tunnel.
Thankfully for Talbot, it was just a bruise on the in-step of his left foot.
"It sucks, it really hurts. But thank God it's just bruised," Talbot said, showing the bruise on his foot (thanks to NHL Hot Stove’s David Strehle for the quote).
He rejoined the team in the 2nd period after giving the Flyers a scare. This came only a day after center Brayden Schenn broke his left foot blocking a shot in the Flyers 5-1 loss to Montreal.
They couldn’t afford to lose another center at this point and though Talbot will be evaluated, the fact he played and tallied a goal in the game is good enough news on its own.
WHACKY STATS -- Heading into tonight’s game, the Jets had scored only 17 goals in their first eight games. They netted nine tonight.
The Jets scored those nine goals on only 25 shots. The Flyers managed eight on 47 shots.
Five Flyers went without registering a point. Only three Jets went without making the scoresheet.
The Jets had nine difference goal scorers.
LOST IN THE WOODS -- The post game interview with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was a somber one.
Bryzgalov allowed four goals in the second half of the game and expressed that he is throroughly flustered and lacking confidence in himself.
"I have zero confidence in myself right now," said Bryzgalov. "I am terrible but I will now appologize in front of the fans, in front of my teammates. I have no answer for you guys. I thought this last game in Montreal that nothing worse was going to happen, but today was worse."
Bryzgalov added that this was the lowest he has been in his career and he felt like he was "lost in the woods."
Bryz's coach wasn't quick to blame his goaltender, who is now 0-4-1 in his last five starts.
"I think as a group, generally speaking, when you're giving up too many goals and you're not getting the results you're looking for, it's a good question to ask," said head coach Peter Laviolette when asked about Bryzgalov's confidence. "But there's a lot of confidence in him and what he's done in the past there is confidence and the ability to play but we've got work to do."
Bryzgalov refused to blame his defense in the loss, coming days after saying there needs to be better communication between him and his defense.
"Bottom line, I am the goalie," he said. "I'm the guy who has to stop the puck and clean the mistakes behind their backs. I couldn't stop the simple shots. That's why players make more mistakes because they have no confidence in their goalie. I'm the reason why we lost the game tonight."
Someone, please go into the woods and find Bryzgalov.