Mar 18, 2013, 11:30 PM EDT
Prior to the Flyers’ 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay, Kimmo Timonen
reflected on the significance of turning 38 on Monday, and the career milestone
he would achieve that night. Ever the professional, what mattered most to
Timonen wasn’t blowing out a few candles, or even getting his name into the
record books by appearing in his 1,000th NHL game.
The important thing was coming away with two points.
Unfortunately, predictably, a fairy-tale ending was not to
be. Timonen is another year older, and he can always be proud of his
accomplishments, but the Flyers once again were unable to gain any traction in
the postseason race.
The defeat was like virtually any other the Orange &
Black have suffered this year. They fell behind early, suffered defensive
breakdowns, turned the puck over, generally lost the battles, took dumb
penalties, and failed to squeeze at least one point out of their effort despite
being tied with the Lightning after two periods.
As is becoming an epidemic for Philadelphia sports, they
didn’t exactly catch many breaks, either. Flyers shooters rang at least three
shots off the post and were denied on each, while Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell
scored the game winner on a jumping, spinning deflection that looked like
something Brian Boitano might try to pull off if he was handed a hockey stick [video below].
Of course, players have to make some of their own luck, too.
The Flyers were 0-for-4 on the man advantage, and when it came time to mount
one last attack in the final minutes, they could barely move the puck out of
their own end. Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov played well, but not quite well enough
steal one – fair or not.
That’s more or less where we are all at given the team’s dire
situation in the standings, pointing fingers and holding each individual’s
performance under the microscope. No one is pleased as the losses mount and the
Flyers’ chances of making the playoffs become increasingly distant and/or
Nobody is enjoying it at all – least of all the man who was
supposed to be celebrating a birthday and a milestone.
Peter Laviolette demoted Scott Hartnell from the top line for parts of
the second and third periods after he took a completely unnecessary roughing
penalty on Cory Conacher. Hartsy leveled Conacher with a perfectly legal check,
then continued taking out his frustrations on the rookie forward as he jumped back
into the play. Zac Rinaldo skated with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek until the late stages of the game, while Hartnell’s time on the ice was reduced to minimal fourth-line
minutes and power plays.
Max Talbot was the best player on the ice for the Flyers, beating
Tampa netminder Anders Lindback with the backhand after an absolutely dazzling
move to get to the net [video below]. It seemed like he could be everywhere at once, registering a team-high six shots in 16-plus minutes of action.
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