Opportunity Lost: Turnovers Cost Flyers a Point Against Devils
The Philadelphia Flyers fell to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, by way of a shootout, 4-3.
At times they would dominate. Other times they allowed New Jersey to dominate them. Ultimately, turnovers would result in the Flyers leaving a point on the table.
Following a scoreless first, the Flyers opened the second with a goal from an unexpected source.
Jody Shelley moved the puck down low into the New Jersey defensive zone. At the same time, rookie, Sean Couturier aggressively attacked the play and forced the puck free. Couturier would send the puck to a trailing Zac Rinaldo who effortlessly put the puck into the back of the net.
Six minutes later the Flyers would strike again.
Jaromir Jagr broke into the New Jersey zone untouched. He moved behind the net, wrapped around into the left faceoff circle and located Claude Giroux.
Following a cross-ice pass, Giroux would put the Flyers up by two.
Throughout the entire sequence, not a single New Jersey defender made contact with either Giroux or Jagr. The Flyers looked like they were on their way to another explosion of offense.
Unfortunately, careless play by the home team allowed New Jersey back into the game.
The Devils sparked their comeback on a goal by captain Zach Parise.
The play began off a point shot that missed the net. After Braydon Coburn failed to clear the puck, a scrum developed in the right faceoff circle. Parise gathered the puck on his backhand and threw it on net.
Sergei Bobrovsky never saw the shot coming.
Three minutes later, the Devils capitalized on another Flyers turnover to even the score.
Andrej Meszaros collected the puck behind the Flyers goal and begun to move it up ice. Meszaros sent the puck to his partner Andreas Lilja who booted the pass.
The loose puck eventually turned into a 2-on-1 that became Adam Henrique’s first goal of the year.
Following a strong defensive effort at the end of the second, the Flyers bounced back early in the third.
Max Talbot created his own breakaway following a blocked shot in the defensive zone. As Talbot raced up the ice, he was brought down by a New Jersey defender and would be awarded a penalty shot.
Talbot capitalized on the opportunity.
“I had one last year or two years ago and missed that by about five feet,” he said. “It was nice to have a second chance and actually put it in the net.”
With a little over seven minutes remaining another Flyers turnover in the defensive zone would lead to another New Jersey goal.
After gathering a loose puck, Matt Carle tried to outlet Talbot up the center of the ice. Patrick Elias intercepted the pass and sent it to David Clarkson who knotted the game at three.
Carle acknowledged how important the play would ultimately be.
“It’s something I have to be more smart about. Maybe carry the puck a little bit more, or make a play up the boards, not up the middle like that,” he said with regret. “Bob played a heck of a game and it’s just hard to know you had a lead and four or five minutes after that you make a play like that. It’s tough.”
After a scoreless overtime, the Devils would win the game in a shootout.
Following the game, the Flyers were aware of the missed opportunity.
“Twice in this game we had the lead and we lost it. Especially in the second period we were kind of sloppy,” Talbot said. “We will just have to look at tapes and pay attention to detail more and come back on Saturday.”
What Talbot is referencing is the Flyers careless play with the puck. The team committed 18 turnovers on Thursday night, 11 of which were by defensemen.
Daniel Briere expressed the same sentiment.
“It’s very disappointing. We had the lead the whole game,” he added. “I think that’s an area we’d like to improve on. The turnovers cost us.”