Philly Phaithful
Better With Popcorn

Flyers Snooze, Wake Up for 3-2 Win

One of these days, playing with no intensity for most of a game will come back to haunt the Philadelphia Flyers. It has in the past, and it continues to be a lingering issue with the team. There are stretches where they will obliterate bad teams, and play evenly with good ones. But, they insist on taking games off, as if they’re sleep skating on the ice. One day, an awful team will simply chase them off the ice if they don’t take every team seriously. That team most likely won’t be the New York Islanders.

Defenseman Matt Carle gave the Flyers the lead about 13 minutes into the game, and the team looked to be on their way to an impressive victory. They held the advantage in shots 8-4 in the first period, clearly owning the ice at Nassau Coliseum. However, the second period was perhaps the most boring period of hockey the team has played this season.

The team, the viewers and the 25 people who showed up to Nassau were more inclined to fall asleep on the lazy afternoon than watch the game. After the second period ended, it seemed like the Flyers had an airtight one goal advantage and perhaps Sergei Bobrovsky would notch his first career shutout. But, the Islanders ratcheted up the pace and eventually tied the game on John Sim’s goal a little more than five minutes into the third period.

Immediately after the goal, Peter Laviolette called timeout and lashed out at the team. He most likely spent some time giving Nikolay Zherdev the business, as his turnover and lack of hustle on the back-check led to Sim’s goal. Nonetheless, it felt that the timeout would be a necessary wake-up call for the Flyers.

That was not the case. New York tallied again less than 40 seconds later to take the lead and what had once felt like a sure victory seemed like a sure defeat. How could a team that had shown no life for over 30 minutes turn the switch and generate enough offense to win? In an ironic twist of fate, the Flyers found a way to score on the power play unit, which was two of their last 42 heading into Sunday’s game.

Andreas Nodl managed to find the back of the net with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the game to give the Flyers the equalizer. What made the goal so ironic was that despite all the problems the Flyers have been having on the man advantage, Laviolette has shown an unwillingness to change up the units. Nodl finally got a chance and reminded everyone that it was still legal to score power play goals in the NHL.

Not long after Nodl’s goal, Daniel Briere took a Ville Leino centering pass and wristed it by Dwayne Roloson for the game winner. Briere also tallied the game winner in Saturday’s win over the Devils. He took the team lead with 14 goals on the season and he continues to show up when the team needs him the most.

With the win on the Island, the Flyers have now won 18 of their last 19 against New York. Sunday’s win was the embodiment of the winning streak the Flyers have over their rivals. Although they sat on a one goal lead and fell behind in a matter of seconds, they still found a way to win. However, there’s no doubt that the Flyers are capable of playing much better than their performance was Sunday.

A win is a win, and the Flyers ended the weekend with four points with two victories over Atlantic Division rivals. They now sit atop the division again and they’re tied for the most points in the NHL with Washington and Pittsburgh at 38. There is always something to take away from every game in the long, grueling season and Sunday’s win is no different. You simply can’t play down to your competition and expect to win in the NHL.

Hopefully, it’s the last time they learn that lesson.

As I take some time off from hockey to focus in on final exams, follow me at www.twitter.com/mtrible or email me at mtrible@thecheckingline.com

2 Comments

Mark Trible's picture

Good call there Aldred, it was difficult to endure.