Okay, so maybe that headline is a little harsh, but the Flyers played rather poorly in this game. The whole team came out of the locker room slow, got down early, and were not able to make up the difference. The Flyers ultimately lost this game, 4-2, to a suddenly resurgent St. Louis Blues.
The Blues, despite getting into town late after an overtime win against Carolina the night before, came out strong right from the drop of the puck. They controlled play early and were skating well. After the Flyers iced it early in the first period, the Blues won the ensuing face-off and of all people Kent Huskins scored the first goal of the game on a shot from the point at 1:48.
Huskins, a back-pair defenseman throughout his journeyman career, has struck for 2 goals this season.
About halfway through the first, T.J. Oshie scored after a great drop-pass to Carlo Colaiacovo, who made a fantastic pass back to Oshie alone on the right side.
The tally which put the Blues up 2-0 came after visiting netminder Brian Elliott left the net on a delayed penalty call on the Flyers. After this goal, Peter Laviolette wisely chose to burn his timeout, which seemed to stem the tide a little.
The home team still looked sluggish, but managed to go into the intermission only down two. Ilya Bryzgalov had some amazing saves to keep his club in this game early, and the Flyers seemed to show some energy to end the period.
After the intermission, where Laviolette must have thrown some condiments around the locker room, the Flyers came out faster and seemed to build on the energy they showed to end the first period.
Less than a minute into the period, Wayne Simmonds made a nice pass to Danny Briere, who netted the Flyers’ first goal with a beautiful top-shelf, short-side shot which Buffalo’s Rick Jeanneret would be proud to call. The Flyers had a few power plays, including a 4-on-3, but they seemed to struggle with their passing, keeping the puck in the zone and keeping sustained pressure.
But during the second half of the middle session, the Flyers energy seemed to wane. Following a puck scramble in the crease area, Carlo Colaiacovo (seriously, does this guy have a nickname or something?) shot the puck over a sprawling Bryzgalov to give the Blues a two goal lead. Near the end of the second period, the annoyance level between Simmonds and Barret Jackman boiled over into a defensive (and slightly anti-climactic) fight.
The third period began without passion on either end until a Blues penalty gave the Flyers a power play. Matt Carle eventually was credited with the advantage goal, by a complete stroke of luck. His rolling shot hit the left post, caromed back across the goal line, was muted but somehow kept rolling after Elliott’s pad hit it, then crossed barely over the line while still spinning. The game was delayed several minutes so Toronto could get a good look at the play, and it was ultimately confirmed by the review.
However, the momentum that could have come from that goal, and only being down by one goal, died quickly after a miscommunication (during the ensuing penalty kill) between Braydon Coburn and Bryzgalov left the puck out in front of a mostly empty net for Matt D’Agostini to bang in. Down two goals, the Flyers pulled Bryzgalov for the final two minutes, but that gambit failed to produce a goal, or much offense at all.
Notes: Simmonds was miked up for the night, and CSN showed him lightheartedly singing/humming in warmups. However, during the fight, the mic bit the dust, so we didn’t get to hear too much… Brian Elliott looked awesome. The stretch of Flyers shots in the second period was some of the only life they had, and he shut the door and made some really great saves… Looks like there are some learning pains with the defense and Bryzgalov. Hopefully they get over this soon… With so many games next week, I expect to see Sergei Bobrovsky get a game (or two)… Chris Pronger had a massive hit on David Backes, who did not return… The power play and the overall passing game could use some work… At some points, it looks like some of the players are trying to get Jagr and Schenn the puck so they can score, instead of just working to score in general. I know everyone is anxious for these goals, but the Flyers need to concentrate on playing, and not who has the puck… Jody Shelley has yet to see game action this season… The Flyers have to find a way to solve this slow start thing. It feels like it has been a problem for years, dating back to the John Stevens days.