Better With Popcorn

Despite late game heroics, Flyers come up Short against Devils

Looks can be deceiving.

This was certainly true of the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon.

With back-to-back games against division opponents, the weekend looked to be a wonderful opportunity for the Flyers to make a serious move in the Atlantic division standings.

Following the first forty minutes of play on Saturday, it appeared as though the team was making a move, albeit in the wrong direction.

Special teams problems plagued the Flyers early in the game.

“I think we weren't focused,” Claude Giroux said. “We took a lot of penalties during the game.”

After only 75 seconds of play, Marc-Andre Bourdon took a slashing penalty that put the team down a man early. Exactly one minute later, Kimmo Timonen was called for crosschecking.

The Devils capitalized on the 5-on-3 opportunity to take a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game.

The rest of the first period was filled with Flyers miscues that resulted in the team struggling to stay afloat. Sergei Bobrovsky started the game and was largely the reason the team was competitive.

After giving up two goals in the final minute of the first period (one of which was a shorthanded goal), the Flyers went into the second period down by three.

They quickly continued to slide.

The Devils scored two more goals in the first 98 seconds of the period to increase their lead to five. In a total of three game minutes, New Jersey managed to score four goals.

Right before the nine-minute mark, the team added another power play goal to put the differential at six.

Following the goal, Bobrovsky was pulled in favor of Ilya Bryzgalov.

When the two teams came out for the third, it appeared as though the final 20 minutes was merely a formality.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

After looking terrible in the first forty minutes of the game, the team managed to score four goals in the third period to pull within two goals with seven minutes remaining.

Although the Flyers failed to complete the comeback, they completely dominated their opponents in every phase of the game in the third, outshooting them 24-1.

Ultimately, the Flyers downfall was the result of undisciplined play in the first two periods that resulted in seven power play opportunities for the Devils and four special teams goals (three on the power play, one shorthanded).

"Again, the first four goals were specialty teams,” Peter Laviolette said. “So we have to look at the specialty teams and see what we can do better both power play and penalty kill.”

The team’s poor performance in the first forty can’t be overlooked, but the fact that they were able to bounce back the way they did in the third needs to be commended.

It could have been easy for the team to roll over and concede. Instead, they battled back and were on the verge of overcoming a six-goal deficit in only twenty minutes of play.

Unfortunately it was too little too late.

However, it’s still a positive step considering they have to go back to action in less than 24 hours.

“It's frustrating because I really feel we played our best period, but we were down six-nothing,” Giroux said. “Hopefully we can get the momentum for next game. It's going to be a big game for us tomorrow, so hopefully we can take that as a positive even if we lost."

To sum the game up simply:

It was a terrible start with a wonderful finish, but an unfortunate result.

--

Follow me on Twitter (@mattbrigidi) and make sure to "like" The Checking Line-Flyers Edition on Facebook to stay up to the minute with all the latest team news and notes.

Feel free to shoot me an email: mattbrigidi@thecheckingline.com