Tonight’s game was kind of like every high school relationship you’ve ever been in: Things start off really well. Then you go through a rough patch, but everything turns for the better again. Of course only until another rough patch. You keep fighting though and try to make things work.
But in the end you still lose.
The Flyers managed to have two leads, come from behind twice, and somehow end it all by losing in a shootout in Ottawa, 5-4. This game was played as evenly as it gets, as both teams showed flashes of brilliance followed by moments of “The hell did he just do?”.
Michael Raffl opened the scoring with his first NHL goal in the first period. It was a warm and fuzzy moment for all involved until a few minutes later when Chris Neil bulldozed him. The Sens responded later in the period on a neutral zone collapse by the Flyers leading to a breakaway goal by Clarke MacArthur.
Ottawa took their first lead in the second off a powerplay goal by Patrick Wiercioch (assisted by Bobby Ryan, who I counted 3 times during the game was referred to by his hometown of Cherry Hill. Amazed it was that low). The Flyers responded on a power play of their own with Jakub Voracek picking up his first goal in 12 games. Philly then took the lead on a rare howitzer by Luke Schenn.
Oddly enough, the third period was eerily similar to the second, only reversed. Ottawa first potted two goals to go up 4-3, then Kimmo Timonen lobbed a muffin past a screened Craig Anderson (Thanks Jason Spezza!) to tie the game up at 4. It stayed that way in to overtime and on to the shootout, where a lone goal by Jason Spezza (Screw you Jason Spezza!) sealed the Sens overtime victory over the Flyers.
Overall, it’s not so much the Flyers played bad, but they weren’t all that great either. Despite establishing solid forechecks, they never really controlled the neutral zone and were constantly giving up odd man rushes to a speedy Ottawa team. When you can’t control the neutral zone and give up odd man rushes, all the forechecking in the world won’t win you a game. The Flyers almost pulled it off, but in the end fell just short.
Neither Steve Mason or Craig Anderson looked especially solid in net tonight. Mason’s rebound control was suspect at best and he seemed to really be fighting off shots rather than playing a more composed game. After allowing 8 goals in his last two games, I imagine his detractors will come out from hiding and begin proclaiming the “Mason-Apocalypse.” But these things happen to every goalie. Mason has said before he’s been better about not letting this stuff get him down mentally, so let’s wait and see how he responds in his next start.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I swear the only time I notice Mark Streit is when he’s screwing something up. He was responsible for pinching too far and allowing a late Sens goal.
- Speaking of defensemen, Timmonen, Schenn, and Grossman all looked pretty good. The two former actually scored, and Grossman was very involved in the offensive zone–while still being defensively responsible (take notes, Streit)
- Did anyone see that Couturier vs. Kyle Turris fight? That was just silly.
The Flyers travel to Chicago next. Yikes. Let’s hope for a slightly better level of play. Because what they did tonight certainly won’t get it done.