Skip to content

Wake-Up Call: Another Slow Afternoon Start Costs Flyers a Point

Mar 17, 2012, 5:28 PM EDT

Another early afternoon game, another poor start for the Flyers. They were able to ratchet the effort up in the second half of the game and overcome a 2-0 first period deficit, forcing OT and a shootout, but it's hard not to think the first 10 minutes cost them a win over the Bruins. Boston scored on each of their shootout attempts, while the Flyers converted two of three, taking the OTL point as consolation.
Another early afternoon game, another poor start for the Flyers. They were able to ratchet the effort up in the second second and third periods and overcome a 2-0 first period deficit, forcing OT and a shootout, but Boston scored on each of their shootout attempts, while the Flyers converted two of three, taking the OTL point as consolation. Despite the efforts that led to the comeback, it’s hard not to think the first 10 minutes set the Flyers back in their chances at grabbing a win over the Bruins.  
The loss moves the Flyers to 3-8-2 in afternoon games. As the broadcast team pointed out, the sample size is enough to be more than a coincidence. Also, unlike the shootout, day games are a part of playoff hockey. Hopefully the Flyers can use their remaining matinees to develop some new practices and patterns. 
The good news is, they were able to salvage a hard-fought point. The Bruins played some excellent hockey, and this could have been a blowout. The game was rough from the start, with big hits, fights, and plenty of stickwork, and the Flyers managed their comeback while shorthanded, losing Andreas Lilja in the first period and Max Talbot in the second. More on that here, with video. 

Already without Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina, the remaining blueliners had to take on extra minutes. Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle each topped 27 minutes of ice time, as did Claude Giroux. 

Nearly 10 minutes ticked off the clock before the Flyers registered their first shot on goal. Quality opportunities were hard to come by all day, as the Bruins played tight defense, forechecking very well and marking up in their own zone. At times it seemed like the ice was 100 yards long. The Flyers had trouble clearing the zone, connecting on outlet passes, getting through the neutral zone, and putting quality shots on net. Although the Flyers didn’t have their game together early, the Bruins deserve credit for taking them off the tracks for much of the game. 
The early hole came courtesy of goals by Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Kelly scored on a rebound after Ilya Bryzgalov stopped the initial shot; Nick Grossmann was unable to tie up Kelly on a play that developed quickly and a rebound that went right to him as he approached the net. 
With three minutes left in the first, Patrice Bergeron was given plenty of room to work with behind the net, and he found Seguin waiting with an unchecked stick. The talented 20-year-old had no problem taking it from there. Neither goal was a bad one on Bryz. 
The Flyers had more life in the second, and Matt Read defibrillated their effort with his 20th of the season, tying him for the league lead in rookie goals. The goal came on the power play, with Read stationed in front of Thomas in position to deflect a Danny Briere shot. 
Jake Voracek would score a similar goal with less than five minutes to go in the game, tying it up for good. This time it was a Coburn attempt that was deflected, with a sweet between-the-legs tip by Vorch. Watch the second angle here:
After overtime went scoreless, the skaters went nuts in the shootout. The first five attempts—three by the Bruins and two by the Flyers—all scored, with Read and Giroux each netting theirs. But, Tim Thomas was able to hang in on Danny Briere’s attempt, and the B’s got the extra point. 
Full Highlights (definitely some good ones in here):

Start Me Up
Meanwhile, the Penguins picked up their 11th straight win, beating the Devils. No slow starts tomorrow, boys. 
The frustrating thing is, the slow starts aren’t something with an obvious remedy, and their first few shifts weren’t bad at all. It’s not like the power play is on the fritz, and they need to dedicate more practice minutes to it or swap personnel. Presumably, the Flyers aren’t showing up as hung over as I was today, and everyone abides by the usual standards for pre-game activities. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some changes in their schedule before day games to see if change for the sake of change gets them focused earlier, but there’s not a lot that can really be done either.