Too Little, Too Late for Flyers in 3-2 Loss
For some Philadelphia Flyers fans this week, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ by the organization to Simon Gagne in his return, and they’d have been happy.
He got his ‘thank you’.
And no one is happy.
Despite having earned five of eight possible points this year, the Flyers don’t seem to be clicking quite yet. The penalty killing unit has two goals, which is a good thing. The power play unit has one goal, which is a terrible thing. There’s no reason the Flyers shouldn’t have production out of the power play unit. They’re one of the most offensively gifted teams in the NHL, yet they can’t find the back of the net. The lone power play tally was a Daniel Briere deflection against Pittsburgh. It absolutely has to improve. The unit is too cute when trying to set up the ‘perfect goal’ instead of just firing pucks to the net and creating traffic. Tampa also blocked more than a few of the Flyers’ point shots, which adds legitimacy to the claim that the team is being far too hesitant. I have little doubt that the power play will get on track, but I wonder when that will begin.
The defense was about as unimpressive as I think the group is capable of being against Tampa Bay. Matt Carle was a guilty party in allowing the first goal to Steven Stamkos. He also took a brutal delay of game penalty by sending the puck into the crowd as the Flyers attempted to tie the game late in the third period. Braydon Coburn was equally as bad with a couple of penalties. Andrej Meszaros seemed to have problems with the Lightning’s speed in the offensive zone. The bug even bit Kimmo Timonen as it appeared that one of Tampa’s goals deflected off his skate and through Brian Boucher’s five hole. All in all, just a subpar performance from the blue line, and with Boucher behind them, opponents will cash in on clean looks at the net.
Although you would think the team was absolutely blown away by my critique thus far, I don’t think they were. They created their fair share of opportunities but couldn’t cash in. Tampa Bay can swarm the puck handler at times, and it didn’t look like the Flyers were ready for the pressure. Too much sloppy play and inconsistent possessions led to an exceeding amount of turnovers and opportunities for the Lightning. The Flyers were beaten by the Lightning, but only because they allowed it to happen. To give credit where credit is due, the Lightning certainly outplayed the Flyers. However, there aren’t words to describe how maddening the Flyers can be when they don’t play to their potential. It’s a long season, and there will be many bumps in the road like Thursday night. But, hopefully the sloppiness and inconsistent play can become dormant at some point. It’s disheartening, especially with the amount of talent on the roster.
In the end, it was too little, too late for the Flyers Thursday night. Simon Gagne skated off the ice he knows so well as a winner; and for the first time, a visitor. There were times when the white Tampa Bay Lightning sweater made me wonder who he was. After the game, I wondered the same about many of the players in orange too.
As I continue to bang my head against the wall because of the ineptitude of the Flyers’ power play, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/mtrible