Better With Popcorn

Mason, defense left vulnerable in home opener loss to Devils

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers looked bad defensively as a whole.

Maybe it's the absence of Kimmo Timonen finally setting in, or maybe it was the bit of bad news the team received prior to its home opener with the New Jersey Devils. Either way, problems persisted and the reality of the Flyers defensive situation may have finally set in.

The Flyers lost an agonizing game 6-4 to the Devils on Thursday. Twice poor defense erased game-tying goals by the Flyers. Twice, the blame was pitted on Luke Schenn, who had arguably the worst game of his career.

Schenn was a minus-5. In the third period, he was out of position for Patrick Elias' go-ahead goal that made it 4-3, and was beaten by Dainius Zubrus on a goal that made it 5-4.

After the game, Schenn acknowledged that mistakes were a team effort, but still put blame on himself.

"Zone entries were too easy and that obviously starts with the defensemen," Schenn said.

"When you get bad, clean zone entries, a lot of stuff can go bad - they get possession, they come up with trailers and they did that tonight a couple times. It allows them to get some bodies to the net and make some plays. And it gets us losing guys in the defensive zone.”

With the lack of quality play coming from not only Schenn, but Nicklas Grossmann, Michael Del Zotto, and at some points, Mark Streit, it leaves the Flyers concerned for the defense as the season really gets underway. And the bad news Thursday morning didn't help matters much either.

Kimmo Timonen is already out of the lineup for a significant period of time with blood clots. Prior to Thursday's game, it was announced Braydon Coburn has a lower-body injury and will not play. Nick Schultz made his Flyers debut instead.

Coburn was on crutches. But on Friday, Ron Hextall told CSN that he thinks Coburn could be out just days and not weeks like his appearance on crutches suggested.

But regardless of how long Coburn is out, the Flyers defense knows it needs to step up.

"The easiest thing to do is to worry about the guys who aren't a part of the lineup," Schenn said. "But we don't have certain guys in the lineup and it's up to the guys who are playing to get the job done.

"Obviously tonight, we didn't. I personally didn't tonight and am frustrated, but at the same time, there's no point in dwelling on it. We have a lot of games coming up and another one on Saturday."

On Saturday, the Flyers host another team starting the season with three games in four days, which is Montreal. The Canadiens played back-to-back games as well on Wednesday and Thursday, winning both.

The Flyers will hope to not fall to 0-3 for the third straight season. Last season, an 0-3 start cost Peter Laviolette his job.

“You can’t let it happen again, but at the same time, that’s last year," goalie Steve Mason said. "You forget about those things and you just move forward. Does it suck that we are 0-2? Yeah it sucks, but we have a big opportunity to get back in it this weekend.”

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John Russo
Editor; Featured Writer
Twitter: @Roose_TCL@TCLFlyers
Email: russo@thecheckingline.com