Flyers lose Second Straight; Fall to Blues 4-2
The Philadelphia Flyers dropped their second consecutive game on Saturday night falling to the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-2.
Following the Flyers disappointing 5-2 loss on Thursday, it was reported that coach Laviolette would be experimenting with new lines.
Saturday proved that the team would have to return to the drawing board.
St. Louis immediately opened the scoring when defenseman Kent Huskins scored on a shot from the point.The opportunity originated from the Flyers inability to clear the defensive zone. Following a Philadelphia icing, St. Louis center Jason Arnott won the ensuing faceoff that granted Huskins the opportunity less than two minutes into the game.
The rest of the first period would follow suit as Philadelphia would continually struggle in clearing out their own zone.
Turnovers would also prove to be a problem.
On what began as a Philadelphia offensive attack, Andrej Meszaros over-skated a puck that St. Louis turned up ice. Upon entering the zone, Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo sent a cross-ice pass to T.J. Oshie that gave the Blues a 2-0 lead.
Although the Blues would strike twice, Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov played strong. On two separate occasions, Bryzgalov made spectacular saves that held the St. Louis lead in check.
Following a lethargic first, Philadelphia started the second fully energized.
Daniel Briere would place a beautiful shot above Brian Elliot's glove hand to put the Flyers on the board. The goal came 58 seconds into the second stanza and brought the home team back to life.
Unfortunately, the team would be unable to capitalize on several chances in the second including a 4-on-3 power play. Mid-way through the second, the Flyers began to lose momentum.
Following a blown assignment in front of the Philadelphia goal, the Blues would once again take a two-goal lead.
The teams would swap goals in the third and the Flyers would be left with their second regulation loss of the season.
St. Louis had played a game the previous night and had not arrived in Philadelphia until 3:30 in the morning on the day of the game. The team appeared to be an easy rebound opponent.
Unfortunately, the Flyers were the ones who looked jet-lagged.
“It looked like we were the team traveling all night,” Briere said. “We had no legs... our execution was the worst it’s been all year.”
It was clear that the Flyers lacked energy consistently being beaten to loose pucks by the visiting Blues.
In addition, the team lacked cohesiveness. Errant passes often traveled to open ice as the Flyers failed to connect on even the most basic of breakouts.
But Briere was quick to say the lines had no effect on the team’s play.
“It had nothing to do with the way we played the game,” he said. “It didn’t matter what the lines were going to be. We had a hard time making a ten foot pass tonight.”
Whether the lines had any effect on the outcome of the game will surely be speculated in the coming days. What can be said is that the team clearly lacked any kind of chemistry.
Whether it was in the offensive or defensive phase of the game, the Flyers struggled in most every situation to play as a team. While it was difficult to watch, the line experimentation may prove beneficial further down the line.
By playing out the possible line combinations early in the season, Laviolette will not have to experiment with changes later.
More specifically, during a playoff run.
“Lines move all the time in hockey. There have been some combinations that we have liked and other things that we will continue to look at,” the coach said. “…the players are [still] new. There’s lots of things I like and there’s certainly things we can do better…we’ll continue to look at them and work on them.”