The Philadelphia Flyers again played a patient game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the dam broke late leading to a 4-2 loss. Stats and analysis
For the second time in as many nights, the Philadelphia Flyers fell back into their own end, and hoped to slip past the competition with defense. This formula added up to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers, but it didn’t come off as successfully against the more dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Flyers pushed back in the second period. Buoyed by Dale Weise’s (soft) goal, the Flyers bit back at the Lightning with 22 shots in the period and eventually took a 2-1 lead. That looked like it would be enough to secure 2 points for the Flyers, but the Lightning scored twice in 12 seconds with only a few minutes remaining in the game to turn the game on its head. The Flyers offense was unable to comeback on the Lightning in such a situation, leading to a 4-2 loss and 0 points for the Flyers.
Up is Down. The supposedly loaded top line of Giroux, Voracek and Schenn led the way in minutes, but were very quiet in creating offense. This is tempered by the fact that they also conceded the fewest chances against of all Flyers lines. All in all, not the kind of night you expect from this group.
Weise Jumping. After getting his first goal last night, Dale Weise continues to play with renewed jump. He scored again (albeit on a shot Vasilevskiy should’ve gobbled up), and led the Flyers in Corsi percentage and shots on goal.
Cousins Getting A Chance. Nick Cousins is getting a chance in Sean Couturier’s lineup spot, which makes sense. He didn’t have much to say at 5v5 in this game, although he got one shift on both the penalty kill and the power play for something new. I’d like to see Cousins seize the day in this opportunity, but all quiet thus far. Winning 20% of faceoffs also doesn’t help his case.
Laughton Also Fighting. Scott Laughton was recalled from the AHL to join the Flyers’ 4th line, as NHL chances for him are becoming harder to secure. He did okay in the spot, winning 50% of faceoffs and maintaing a solid Corsi.
MacDonald (sigh). Andrew MacDonald was at the bottom of the team in possession percentage, but led the team in ice time. Somehow neither of these facts are surprising in the NHL life of Andrew MacDonald.
Ghost Dragged Down. Playing with MacDonald, Ghost’s Corsi was right alongside his team-low. Furthermore, it’s insane that Ghost gets more 5v5 ice time in games he’s paired with MacDonald than when paired with Michael Del Zotto. This combination led Ghost blocking 5 shots tonight–not really the best use of his talents. At least Ghost was back with 7 shot attempts tonight after a goose egg against Florida.
It’s Kind of Gudas’ Thing. Radko Gudas had a typical Gudas night, high in Corsi and leading all skaters in hits.
Goaltending and Special Teams
Ultimately, goaltending was not the difference in this game. Mason played very well early, but was powerless to stop Tampa’s 3rd period goals. Neither did Vasilevskiy steal this game from the Flyers, conceding a soft goal to Dale Weise.
Special Teams were a more determinative factor. The Lightning had 7 power plays, including 4 in a row in the 2nd period and into the 3rd. The Lightning’s only power play goal was the one in the first period, but those chances allowed the Lightning to regain some momentum. Meanwhile, the Flyers power play was 0-4 and didn’t look particularly sharp.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ next game is their traditional Black Friday game on Friday afternoon. This year it is against the New York Rangers. For those that haven’t been paying attention, the Rangers have been the surprise team of the year, leading the division standings and the entire NHL in goal scored (by a wide margin too).
Many are also wondering if this the game Anthony Stolarz makes his NHL debut, although that would be a tough assignment