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Flyers: In Case You Missed It (Week Ending 4/3)

Welcome to this week’s edition of Flyers: In Case You Missed It. In this column, we’ll briefly recap the Flyers games from the past week, as well as report on any current team news.

Photo Credit: Reuters Pictures

Tuesday, March 29th – Flyers 5, Penguins 2
After the Flyers’ loss against the Boston Bruins the Sunday before, both Peter Laviolette and Sean O’Donnell promised a different Flyers team for Tuesday’s game against the Penguins. In the beginning of this game, they looked like the Flyers we’ve (sadly) been getting used to over these past few weeks – sloppy passing, missed opportunities, and giving up that ever-so-important first goal. After Alex Kovalev scored for the Penguins about thirteen minutes into the game, the Flyers seemed to wake up a bit – unlike games before, where they seemed to have the fight knocked out of them after a goal from the other team. Jeff Carter scored about three minutes later (the goal was thought to be Braydon Coburn’s, but was awarded to Carter), and that began the Flyers offensive attack. Tyler Kennedy scored for the Penguins in the second period to give Pittsburgh the one-goal lead, but that was it for the Penguins – Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Ville Leino scored the rest of the goals in this one (Leino scored two in the third) to give the Flyers the win. They played well for the majority of the game, both offensively and defensively; Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 of 27 saves, helping his team inch closer to clinching their division.
*For a more in-depth recap of this game, click here.

Thursday, March 31st – Atlanta 1, Flyers 0
For a while there, it looked like the Flyers were finally going to get their first shutout of the season on Thursday night against the Thrashers. Oddly enough, it looked like the Thrashers were going to get one of their own, too. Neither team scored a goal until a little more than ten minutes into the third period – unfortunately, it was Atlanta’s goal, and Philadelphia wasn’t able to answer with any of their own. Chris Mason got the shutout for Atlanta, making 43 saves. The Flyers had 21 more shots on goal than the Thrashers did (Sergei Bobrovsky saved 21 of 22 altogether), but couldn’t get anything past Mason, who got his 13th win of the season. Atlanta’s goal, scored by Nik Antropov, was reviewed by the referees after it seemed like the puck was kicked into the net, but the call on the ice stood after the refs determined there was no distinct kicking motion. A win over Atlanta would have eliminated them from playoff contention, but the Flyers just couldn’t get it done.
*For a more in-depth recap of this game, click here.

Friday, April 1st – Devils 4, Flyers 2
In their last matchup of the regular season, the New Jersey Devils got the best of the Flyers on Friday with a 4-2 win. Patrick Elias scored a hat trick and Nick Palmieri scored the game-winning goal for the Devils, who just seemed to outplay the Flyers throughout the entire game. Brian Boucher made 20 saves, but he was not very strong in net, unlike Johan Hedberg, who started in place for Martin Brodeur and made 34 saves. James Van Riemsdyk helped the Flyers take a lead in the first period, but Elias scored twice to give the Devils a 1-goal lead before Jeff Carter tied it up in the third. Unfortunately, once Palmieri and Elias scored goals (both of which went under review and were ruled good) in the third, the Flyers weren’t able to come back from it. Just like Thursday’s game against Atlanta, the Flyers had an opportunity to eliminate a possible playoff opponent, but couldn’t do so.
*For a more in-depth recap of this game, click here.

Sunday, April 3rd – Rangers 3, Flyers 2 (SO)
On Sunday, the result of Flyers game had to be decided in a shootout, yet again. Yet again, the Flyers fell short. James Van Riemsdyk and Nikolay Zherdev scored for Philadelphia, while Brian McCabe and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for New York to tie the score at two, and overtime wasn’t enough to decide this one. Wojtek Wolski’s winning goal in the shootout went under review, but was ruled good and gave the Rangers the win – and the Flyers their third loss in a row. The loss was just another blow to a struggling Flyers team, but they have to be at least somewhat grateful for the fact that the game didn’t end in regulation and they got a point out of it. On Saturday, they fell out of first place in the Eastern Conference, but the point they got from Sunday’s game helped them get back atop the East – however, they are now tied with the Capitals for that top spot.
*For a more in-depth recap of this game, click here.

Team News
• On Tuesday, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren announced that Chris Pronger had suffered a “minor setback” during his rehab from hand surgery and most likely wouldn’t return to the team before the end of the regular season. Holmgren said that they will continue to monitor Pronger’s progress and that he is expected to be at 100% for the playoffs.
• Kimmo Timonen suffered a lower body injury during Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh and did not return after leaving during the second period. He aggravated a hip flexor injury and was reported to be day-to-day, but was thankfully ready to play on Thursday against the Thrashers and has played in all three games since Tuesday.
• Danny Briere was held out of Sunday’s game against the Rangers with a lower body injury, rumored to be a sore groin. He is listed as day-to-day.
• Blair Betts left Sunday’s game with a lower body injury and did not return. According to Holmgren, it is not a serious injury and he expects Betts to be good to go for Tuesday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
• The Flyers recalled defenseman Danny Syvret from the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday, and he played about fifteen minutes against the Rangers on Sunday.

With only three games left in the regular season, the Flyers are running out of time to turn things around and fix whatever is troubling them. They face the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and the New York Islanders this week, three teams who really shouldn’t be a problem (well, Buffalo is a playoff contender, so they could be tough to handle); unfortunately, with the way the Flyers have been playing lately, it’s hard to tell who they’ll do well against. They’re already in the playoffs. According to some sources, that’s enough for them – they are less concerned about which seed they get and just ready for the playoffs to begin – but they’re not going to go very far in the playoffs if they continue to struggle the way they have been. If they can somehow get things to start clicking again and win these final three games, it’ll be a big confidence booster going into the playoffs, and it’ll also show possible playoff opponents that they’re still a very tough force to be reckoned with.