Friday, March 29, 2013

Flyers fall to the Islanders 4-3

Last night we witnessed the attempt at more effort by the Philadelphia Flyers, and, although they lead the game for two periods, Flyers v. Islanders ended in a 4-3 loss during the shootout. This game could have been clinched for the Flyers, if they would have maintained their energy and took care of the puck during the entire game and not just the first period. The Flyers haven’t played well with a lead, and the energy change was evident once the Flyers led, they froze. Hartnell took the puck to the net twice, which was a welcoming sight to see, after he has had such an off season. Moving forward, if Hartnell can keep his game up and control his temper, it could give the Flyers the chance to perform at the level of skill which they keep claiming to have.
One of the best decisions Laviolette made during this game was to play Mike Knuble.  Knuble, who had been scratched in 10 of the past 11 games, backhanded a shot into an open net during the first period putting the Flyers 2 ahead. In the 15 remaining games Coach Laviolette should give Knuble more ice time; if Laviolette makes more conscience decisions to play, players who can take the puck to the net, there might be a chance of more leads like last night’s.
An unfortunate event came during the 3rd period with 3 minutes remaining, when Islander McDonald's slap shot deflected off of Flyer Gervais’ skate and into the Flyers goal, giving the Islanders a 3-2 lead. In response, the Flyers, who notoriously do not perform well under pressure, showed up in the final 29.8 seconds of the game. With Bryzgalov pulled, Hartnell scored during the power play, tying the game 3-3 and forcing the game into over time. Hartnell deserves some credit for that; it certainly was a shocking turn around in the last few seconds of the game. After a scoreless over time, the game went to shootouts. Each team scoring during regulation, Simmonds missed his shot in the fourth round and unfortunately that sealed the fate of this team last night. The Flyers could use some practice on those shoots, 4 out of  5 of their past games have been decided after regulation, they should have been more prepared to make it in the net.  
An ill-fated team, the Flyers, still battling to achieve the greatness that their Captain Claude Giroux claims they have according to this post-game statement:
''We feel like we are a team that should be in the playoffs and we're not. We need to find a way to get those points like tonight. It's not that we didn't battle; it's just bounces that go in. So it's tough bounces, but like I said, we feel we are a team that should be in the playoffs right now.''
For a team that claims to be conscious of their short comings, it has been surprising to see them not being able to come up with solutions. It’s hard to predict what we will see next from this team, but if they can build the energy, press offensively and play the puck we could be looking forward to some good games. The Flyers need to adapt quickly, build off of their successes from last night and get ready for the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

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