Now even the spot-another-team-the-lead-and-then-beat-them strategy doesn’t work.
Despite giving up a two goal lead through the second, the Flyers chipped away and got back in it, only to watch the Canes snag a late game heartbreaker to take the lead again. The last couple of weeks has seen the Flyers go from winning ten in a row at home, and looking tough to beat on almost every occasion to a team that’s scuffling with themselves in losses. They still haven’t managed to tackle their disciplinary issues, taking far too many penalties and usually at the worst times.
This game was a holdover thanks to inclement weather, to which the Carolina Hurricanes asked to play on the originally scheduled date and time. The weather outside was too terrible for the Flyers and NHL management to condone it, so the game was set forward to last night. Perhaps the Flyers may have had more luck with the Canes the night before, even in front of an empty house. They have lost more than they have won lately, which should come as no surprise considering this club has been quite streaky throughout the season so far. they began it with a terrible stretch of losses, and then followed it up with a roaring climb back in the standings of the Metropolitan Division. It would seem to make sense that they would endure another backslide of sorts, and it appears we are witnessing just such a trend.
That’s not to say that they won’t go on another tear, more than likely so. If anything, it’s nicer that they have a rough patch now instead of oh say late March, correct?
This game despite whatever I said above was winnable anyway, and to see the Flyers hand an under performing opponent a win like this still hurts. These are the games that in the end can make or break an NHL season of contention, the one a team will look back on and say to themselves “If we had only gotten those two points there.”
Time will tell if indeed this was one of those games, but truthfully speaking the Hurricanes aren’t a real contender, they’re are going through their own issues, with a star goalie struggling, an underachieving roster led by the Staal brothers who haven’t exactly set the world on fire. This was a good opportunity to grab two points in a race where each and every one of them count, and the Flyers allowed it to slip through their fingers.
The Flyers need to recover from a series of uneven performances. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros had been on a scoring tear, but last night went a -2 with nothing to show on the scoreboard. In fact most or all of the blue line corps registered a minus on the scoresheet, an indicator that no matter how well this club plays, the one glaring hole in their armor will be the defensive pairings. Kimmo Timonen and Co. have redeemed themselves on occasion, but just aren’t consistent enough to create an aura of stability.
The problem for the Flyers now is turning the tide and getting back on track immediately, because the next stretch of games will be a true testament to how good this team really is. Sure, it’s nice to contend, but the city of Philadelphia wants something more from a franchise that hasn’t brought home a cup in nearly 40 years. Contention is only half of the battle, becoming a champion again is what this team should be striving for, in order to do so, they need to commit less mistakes, and play responsibly in their own end. With a slew of quality teams on the looming schedule, they will need to shore up these issues once and for all if they are to make that statement of arrival.
The bright side to this game was seeing Cluade Giroux and Scott Hartnell continuing to stay on track, with each landing a goal. Hartnell was a player that most in the fanbase had issue with concerning his inability to score at all early on, but even in losses, he has been a quality contributor lately, a very good sign.
The Flyers travel to Columbus to face a very hot Blue Jackets squad, and it will feature a matchup against one time Flyers wunderkind goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who went on to win a Vezina after being jettisoned to Columbus. In a glass half full perspective, if they hadn’t traded Bob away, they wouldn’t have been able to pry Steve Mason from the CBJ’s, and the Flyers wouldn’t have another young promising goaltender to believe in, so there’s that.
*Photo courtesy of NHL.com