• May 24, 2022

No Rhythm Against Blues for Flyers

It doesn’t matter if you’re the Phoenix Coyotes or the Philadelphia Flyers- if an NHL team doesn’t get its skating legs going from the drop of the puck, the rest of the period becomes an uphill battle for momentum.  It took less than two minutes for the St. Louis Blues, who won in overtime yesterday against the Carolina Hurricanes and “should” have been the tired team, to take the lead.

The Flyers were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game, eventually falling 4-2 to the Blues.

“They did to us exactly what we were supposed to do, which is come out strong, put the puck behind, and make their defensemen work,” said Danny Briere.  “It looked like we were the team travelling all night. We had no legs skating, our execution was the worst it has been all year… We can use all kinds of excuses- the penalties, or the line changes, or whatnot- but it’s simple. We didn’t skate and we didn’t execute.”

The lines featured completely different combinations from any of the previous games this season aside from the fourth line of Sean Couturier-Andreas-Nodl-Max Talbot.  Briere centered Brayden Schenn (moved from his natural position at center to the wing) and Wayne Simmonds for a top line that will likely remain together for at least another game.

“I thought the Briere line I liked tonight, so that’s a positive. We tried something and will continue to look at things,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “Couturier’s line, I thought that they did a good job. They were strong defensively, they had offense, and I thought that they did a good job.”

Briere scored early in the second period, firing a quick wrister that bounced in and out of the net before goaltender Brian Elliott could realize it.  Briere’s line built off the momentum shift and were arguably the best line for the orange and black as a result.  Simmonds also fought defenseman Barret Jackman late in the period after the two chirped each other all night.

Regarding Couturier’s line, they have been my favorite line to watch over the last two games.  They have displayed more energy and relentlessness than their teammates despite seeing less ice time and being much more responsible in their own end.  I’d like to see Couturier get a look centering the third line and Matt Read, who has struggled in the last two games, move to the fourth line.

Regarding the rest of the changes, it’s almost not worth discussing.  Laviolette pointed out “lines move all the time in hockey” and Briere indicated that the changes had “nothing to do with the way we played the game. [The way] we were passing the puck, it didn’t matter what the lines were going to be. We had a hard time making a 10-foot pass tonight.”

On defense, Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger, and Matt Carle all looked sharp while Andrej Meszaros looked lost.  Timonen continues to operate in “beast mode” while Pronger exhibited some of his nastiness after leveling Blues captain David Backes in the middle of the second period.  Backes was helped off the ice and officially left the game later with the dreaded “upper body injury.”

Carle scored late in the third period to cut the deficit to one, but Scott Hartnell was called for a cross-checking penalty immediately after the goal.  A weird miscommunication between Ilya Bryzgalov and Braydon Coburn in the ensuing Blues powerplay caused the puck to be mis-played and shortly found itself in the back of the net. Bryzgalov made some general comments about the play after the game, telling the media, “You have to establish it, because it seems to be very simple. All you need is just three words. Everybody knows these words. ‘Play it, leave it or over.’ Well, not leave it… everybody comes up with his own words, you know? Like I pick up, I not pick up…”

Coburn took the blame for his miscue, explaining that, “It’s a little bit situational, but it’s on the onus for the defenseman to make the call… I was ready for a bit, and the closer and closer I got to him… then I kind of… thought he’d make a different play.”

“As Bryz said, it was just miscommunication, I guess. We’ll work on it, we’ll get better at that.”

It was a mistake, but didn’t seem to be the result of an underlying, glaring, earth-shattering lack of communication between Bryzgalov and the defense, despite what may be written about elsewhere.

The Flyers close out October with four games in six nights, starting with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.  Hopefully they will be closer to finding chemistry with all four lines as the week continues.

For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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One Comment

  • Another “Dream Team” finding out other teams don’t care how “over-hyped” you are.. you still have to go out and play like a team… When’s is this big time Russian Goalie going to stand up and win some games.. He’s way overrated and overpaid and will set theis franchise back a couple of years after the Flyers become stuck with his inflated Salaray.. They should have groomed “Bobs” for the long term and plan on using him for 50-55 games and have signed an experienced Goalie to back him up… a big mistake..

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