Flyers Fall to Pens 2-1

Published on March 25th, 2011

Flyers Jeff Carter battling a Penguin | Source: Andrew King

by Mike del Tufo

Thursday, March 24, 2011
For the 4th consecutive game the Philadelphia Flyers went to a shoot-out, and as they did on Tuesday night, they lost.  The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated them 2-1.  This was the 5th of 6 meetings between the Flyers and the Penguins this season.  The Flyers had won 3 of the 4 times they had played prior to this game.  They play for the last time in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, March 29th.  For this game, Marc-Andre Fleury started in net for the Penguins and Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers.  Just like on Tuesday, both teams were missing some big names due to injury.  Top forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pens and defenseman Chris Pronger for the Flyers all did not play in this game.

Flyers forward combinations:
Briere-Leino-Hartnell
Carter-Giroux-Nodl
Richards-Versteeg-JVR
Betts-Powe-Carcillo

Flyers defensemen pairings:
Timonen-Coburn
Boynton-Carle
Meszaros-O’Donnell

Bobrovsky made a big save on Pens forward Tyler Kennedy at 3:08 of the 1st period and received a huge roar from the crowd.  The Flyers got a power-play at 8:12 but managed only one shot.  At 15:18, the Flyers opened the scoring with a somewhat fluky goal when captain Mike Richards partially batted a puck out of the air and it flipped just over Fleury and into the net.  The Flyers took their 1st penalty of the game late in the 1st period.  Forward Andreas Nodl got a goaltender interference call on him at 19:38.  After one, the Flyers trailed in shots 10 to 7 but led by a goal. 

The Pens took advantage of the power-play at 1:01 of the 2nd period when Kennedy took a nice pass from winger Chris Kunitz and banged it in to tie the game.  At near the 13 minute mark, Bob made a point-blank save on Alexei Kovalev.  Bob seemed to have rebounded nicely from his poor showing Tuesday.  Other than a little pushing and shoving, this game did not have the normal physicality of a Flyers-Pens game.  After two periods of play, the Pens led in shots 20 to 15.

At 3:53, Pens forward Maxime Talbot had a short-handed breakaway but was stopped by Bob.  The Flyers played a little sloppy in this period but the Pens’ offense was unable to take advantage.  Bob was certainly the Flyers best player in this game as he held them in there.  The Flyers only managed 5 shots in this period as it went 1-1 into overtime.

In the extra period, the Pens mostly dominated especially about midway through when it looked like they were on a power-play for over a minute.  The Flyers looked like they were playing for a shoot-out during these 5 minutes.  They recorded no shots and had only 20 for the entire 65 minutes.

In the shoot-out, the Flyers went first.  Forward Ville Leino was unsuccessful.  Then Pens defenseman Kris Letang was stopped by Bob.  Then the teams traded goals in the next 2 rounds with Alexei Kovalev scoring for the Pens and Daniel Briere for the Flyers.  So even the shoot-out went an extra round.  Richards then went for the Flyers and could not beat Fleury.  Kunitz, however, beat Bob to end the shoot-out and game 2-1.

On the loss, Flyers defensemen Kimmo Timonen said, “We are lucky to get one point out of this.  Sometimes I feel like we play a good game but we can’t bounce back and that’s a big worry for me because in the playoffs, you play one game and you have to put that behind and focus on the next game.  Every game is a different game.  It doesn’t matter if you play really well the game before but then you have to put that behind and focus on a new game.  It looked like today we were unable to do that.  Today we thought we could skate through and it would be an easy game but there is no easy game in this league.  They outworked us and won all the one-on-one battles. If you don’t work, you’re in trouble.”

The Flyers’ streak of 4 consecutive shoot-outs is the first time that has happened since the inception of the event at the start of the 2005-06 season.  They are 3-6 in shootouts this season.  They now have a 2-game losing streak.  Their next game is at New York vs. the Islanders on Saturday March 26th.

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