Up until Monday night, the Flyers had convincingly whooped the Carolina Hurricanes 17 out 21 meetings. So most of us figured last night’s game was going to end in the Flyers favor. Yeah well that didn’t happen.
For starters, both D-men Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn were not in line-up. And Jaromir Jagr was still out as well. Pronger has a virus and Coburn has an upper-body injury (still love the vagueness in hockey injury reports). Both are listed as day-to-day. Jagr has a groin strain and is also listed as day-to-day, and though he did not practice with the team yesterday morning, he did skate on his own. Which is a very good sign!
So this begs the question, can the Flyers win without those three guys? Sure they can, but that would require them to actually show up and play like they want to win. I honestly didn’t get that impression in a lot of last night’s game.
The Canes scored two goals in the first period courtesy of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jeff Skinner. Being down 2-0 at the start of the second period, the Flyers had to find a way to get past Canes’ goalie Cam Ward. And that’s exactly what James van Riemsdyk did, by scoring a goal a minute and a half into the second. Pulling within one, JVR added a much needed spark. Sadly, the Canes quickly diffused it, with a goal by Chad LaRose. And just like that, the Canes were back up by two.
Without Pronger and Coburn, the remaining veteran defensemen, Matt Carle, Andrej Meszaros, and Kimmo Timonen saw their minutes increase to compensate for the younger guys filling in. Well, actually out of the three, I thought Carle was the only one giving it 100%. And that’s not just because he’s my fave Flyer, its because he’s the only one I truly noticed playing hard. But I can’t just call out the defensemen, some of the forwards were non-existent as well. I’m looking at you, Danny Briere. Granted not having a guy like Jagr hurts, but there is plenty of talent on the team to make up for it.
Two guys I can’t diss are Claude Giroux and rookie Matt Read. The latter tallied his sixth goal in five consecutive games. The young man has been an excellent addition and is just a pleasure to watch. Not many bright spots happening right now, but he’s definitely one of them.
Read’s power play goal erased Carolina’s two goal lead. And the Flyers seem to perk up. But that moment of resurgence was brief, after Meszaros got penalized for high-sticking, giving the Canes a power play. It didn’t take long for Ponikarovsky to nab his second goal of the game and put his Canes back up by two.
Final score was 4-2.
This game was frustrating to watch. And apparently it was so frustrating in person, that one Flyers fan at the Wells Fargo Center tweeted that she opted to play a game on her phone instead of watching the game. Ouch that hurts. She’s a huge Flyers fan and season ticket holder, if she was jaded, that spoke volumes.
Next game is Wednesday, November 23rd in New York against the Islanders.
To read about how the Flyers took over the Philadelphia Phillies Clubhouse (at Citizens Bank Park) check out the Aerys Sports Phillies site: View From Section 116 – Phillies Clubhouse Gets An NHL Makeover