Nov 21, 2011, 10:35 PM EDT
If it feels like the Carolina Hurricanes never, ever beat the Flyers, it’s because they very rarely do. Even more rare is a Flyers loss in regulation. Unfortunately, the Canes didn’t come to play with that in mind on Monday night, controlling most of the game led by goalie Cam Ward and some opportunistic forwards on their way to a 4-2 win.
James van Riemsdyk had a hell of a game for the Flyers scoring the first goal and assisting Matt Read on the second. It was Ward’s night though, and aside from a stretch of the second period, the Flyers trudged their way through a game they’ll need to forget in a hurry.
Notes and highlights below. If nothing else, worth a look at JVR’s sick move on the assist.
The Flyers got off to a rough start, conceding the opening goal to a hungry Hurricanes power play unit. Ward was sharp early, setting a tone that it would take some skill to beat him tonight. The Flyers looked to be finishing the second period strong before letting up a late goal, but got rough—a hopeful sign that they weren’t going to slink their way through the next 40 minutes.
They came out with a fast start in the second period, with Claude Giroux narrowly missing a goal on a pretty move, catching full iron instead. Not long after, van Riemsdyk dunked one on Ward, banging home a wraparound with some power behind it.
The Canes would extend their lead again though on a nice shot by Chad LaRose, who beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a quick wrister off his opposite foot. On the one hand, you want to see Bryz stop a head-on shot like that. On the other, it was a perfect shot taken in a blink, and LaRose earned every bit of it.
Read brought the Flyers to within one when he buried a great opportunity created by van Riemsdyk on the power play. Riemer beat his man with a sweet move behind his own back as he went behind the net, then threw a blind backhand in front to a salivating Read. The white hot rookie didn’t miss, tallying his sixth goal in his last five games.
Carolina stretched their lead to two on an embarrassing goal for the Flyers defense despite it coming while they were a man down. After a shot on net bounced and settled in the crease, neither Kimmo Timonen nor especially Andreas Lilja did anything to clear the puck or take the man, and Alexei Ponikarovsky took the free meal, his second of the night.
That was pretty much it, the EKG flatlining over a boring third period.
The Flyers were garbage in transition for most of the game. Clears were sloppy, breakouts slow, and they had troubles getting anything really dangerous set up once in the offensive zone.
JVR looked like the kid who became a man in last spring’s postseason. Powerful over the puck and hard to separate from the play, he owned the boards behind the net on some key plays that kept an otherwise futile Flyers effort alive. With less than a minute to play and Ilya Bryzgalov on the bench for the extra attacker, Riemer chased down what looked like a certain empty net goal.
Andreas Nodl looked at best rusty and at worst unable to keep up with a team that moves at a pretty fast pace. One shift in particular in the first period, he clubbed two pucks in fairly ugly fashion, stifling his own line’s attack. Nerves due to lack of PT? Doesn’t matter, he’s not likely to see much of it unless the Flyers are in a pinch.
Andrej Meszaros had a terrible shift that led to the Canes’ first goal, failing to clear twice on the kill before overpursuing the puck, probably out of frustration, and leaving his coverage area. That’s where Ponikarovsky was waiting.
Kimmo Timonen was made to look like an old man when young gun Jeff Skinner beat him on a spinorama at the blue line, then strode past him to beat Bryzgalov. Hard to pin this one too harshly on Kimmo though. Just a sick move with the puck here:
No complaints on rookie debutantes Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall. Same can’t be said about the veteran d-men though, who failed to weather a Pronger and Coburn-less storm.
Another team the Flyers usually kick the crap out of—The New York Islanders—will play host on Wednesday. Hopefully the Flyers don’t lose their third straight to a benthos-dwelling team.
Photo: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
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