Edmonton Erases Flyers in Expletive Effort
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After the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 loss in Edmonton Thursday night, Coach Peter Laviolette had a choice word to describe the second period.
That’s what Laviolette told reporters, and he may have been too kind in his assessment.
Looking for their first win in Edmonton in 11 years, the Flyers hit the ice with purpose. They outshot the Oilers 14-9, had two power play opportunities, and controlled play.
Without the all-important first goal, both teams headed to the locker rooms in a 0-0 tie. In the second, the horses--t began.
Quite simply, with the game up for grabs the Oilers decided they were going to take it. Philadelphia seemed to have decided they would let Edmonton have their way.
The home team outshot the Flyers 15-6 in the stanza and scored the game’s only two goals. Both came in the fallout of Philadelphia’s poor play in the defensive zone.
After new acquisition defenseman Pavel Kubina was sent to the penalty box for holding, Edmonton went to work. They battled around the net and won the battles whenever there was a battle to be had.
Philadelphia couldn’t clear the puck and the law of probabilities kicked in when Taylor Hall scored the game’s first goal. Hall’s 22nd goal of the season came from a wide angle on a rebound from Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov was peppered with shots throughout the power play and finally Hall beat him glove-side. The goal was a direct result of the Flyers’ penalty kill’s inability to clear the puck. They paid the price for the extended zone possession.
Less than five minutes after Hall’s tally, the Oilers doubled their lead when Jordan Eberle picked up a loose puck and beat Bryzgalov for his 27th of the season.
Eberle found the puck after another failed attempt by Philadelphia’s defense to clear the puck. He picked it up and did what he’s becoming accustomed to doing. While the goal was a weak one, it was a perfect picture of the way the Flyers have been at times this season.
Bryzgalov failed to save a shot he could stop, yet it came after a brutal turnover that led to no support on the back-end.
Philadelphia turned the shot total in its favor in the third period, 15-6. However, there was no recourse for an Edmonton team that had simply put them away in the second. Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk skated away the game’s first star with a 35-save shutout.
The ‘horses--t‘ effort in the second came on the heels of the first period that showed so much promise for the Flyers. What happened?
As previously mentioned, the Oilers simply imposed their will Philadelphia. A team that is 29th in the NHL in points simply overwhelmed the Flyers and gave their raucous home crowd something to cheer about.
For Philadelphia, it’s back to the drawing board and back to getting down to the basics. It’s winning puck battles, creating traffic in front of the net, cycling, and improving the quality of their chances.
Although the Flyers had 35 shots, their opportunities were rarely great ones. They were kept to the outside and often turned away on one-shot possessions.
For a team with as much offensive firepower as the Flyers, the inability to score is a lot like the coach’s assessment of the second period.
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