Flyers Lose Wild One to Tampa, 8-7
I don’t really know what I just saw. I know what the end result was, but the surreal nature of Thursday night leaves me at a loss. The Philadelphia Flyers lost one of the craziest games of the young season, 8-7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center. All four goaltenders that dressed played in the game. Steven Stamkos notched a hat trick. Martin St. Louis had five assists and finished with a -1 rating. Only three Flyers failed to register a point. It doesn’t get much crazier than that.
If I really wanted to give a full recap of what happened in the game, I would begin writing a novel rather than this post. The long and short of it is that both starting goalies were awful early on, and that set the tone for the game. Many felt that Sergei Bobrovsky would be fatigued after playing eleven straight games, but nonetheless, he got the nod on Thursday. I don’t know that his failure has a causal relationship to the amount of consecutive games he played, but the argument can surely be defended. Dan Ellis had ‘problems’ of his own, and by the time the second period began the score was 5-4 and both Ellis and Bob had been yanked.
It’s no mystery that the defenses were woeful in Thursday’s game, final score indicates as much. For the Flyers, the lack of defense was especially discouraging. It is often said that a two-goal lead is the hardest to hold in hockey, and the Flyers can attest to that. Three separate times the team had such leads, and each time, they failed to extend the lead to three. About five minutes into the game, the Flyers lead 2-0, and the game had all the makings of a route. When Steven Stamkos notched his first of three goals on the power play three minutes later, the frenetic pace became apparent.
When teams have the amount of offensive talent that Tampa Bay does, sending them to the power play often proves to be costly. That proved to be true Thursday, as the Flyers took nine penalties, and the Lightning managed goals on three of the power plays. On the other hand, the Flyers had four power play opportunities and failed to convert on any of them. In their last three games, the team is 1 of 15 on the power play, and with as much offensive firepower that they can supply the lack of recent success is unacceptable. In order to get off their two-game losing streak, the Flyers will have to minimize on the penalties and start converting some of their power play opportunities. It seems simple, but that was indeed the difference in Thursday’s high scoring affair.
After Tuesday’s loss to the Canadiens, many hoped that they had just run into a hot goaltender, and it appears that was the case. Although they were shutout by Carey Price on 41 shots, they managed seven goals on just 32 shots Thursday. Scoring is not the problem. Yes, there are improvements that must be made on the special teams units, but if a team scores seven goals, there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t win the game. I’m frustrated that the Flyers didn’t bear down when they had one of those two goal leads, especially after the Lightning had shown that they were capable of coming back. However, it’s only one game and I expect a much better effort from Boucher or Bobrovsky as well as the defense in Washington on Saturday.
Actually, in reference to goaltending and defense, I don’t know how the effort could be much worse than it was Thursday.
Once again, I must find a Mathematics major to crunch the stats from Thursday’s game, but in the meantime feel free to follow me at www.twitter.com/mtrible or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I also will be co-hosting Flyers Corner, an online radio show tomorrow at 2:30 which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/flyerscorner