• September 27, 2023

Garbage Effort Fouls Flyers on First Game of Road Trip

2013_game13_leafsThe storyline heading into the Philadelphia Flyers-Toronto Maple Leafs game was that Luke Schenn and James van Riemsdyk would both be playing against their respective clubs for the first time since being traded in June 2012.

Both of them arguably played well, providing some direct visual feedback that it was an even trade between general managers Paul Holmgren and Brian Burke (who is no longer the GM for the Leafs). Schenn assisted on the first goal of the game on the first shift while JVR scored early in the third period for his eighth of the season.

That’s about where all the good will ends. A garbage effort beginning in the second period was never overcome in the final forty minutes of play, ending with an easy 5-2 victory for the Maple Leafs.

The opening period was acceptable. Wayne Simmonds buried a shot 38 seconds into the game, and the team generated 11 shots on goal without a powerplay opportunity.  Ilya Bryzgalov looked sharp aside from a long shot from the point from Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf that eluded him through a screen.

The only concern from the first period was that the team took too many penalties. Zac Rinaldo, Mike Knuble and Claude Giroux each found themselves in the sin bin after taking lazy or ill-thought penalties. In nine games played, Knuble is now second on the team with seven minor penalties.

The opening three minutes of the second period could best be described as “unconditional surrender”.

The team coughed up two goals 28 second apart as the result of poor defensive plays by Tom Sestito, Nicklas Grossmann and Braydon Coburn. Colton Orr, with all of 11 goals and 952 PIM in 390 NHL games, found himself on the scoreboard with little effort.

A fourth goal less than four minutes later was the tipping point for Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, as he pulled Bryzgalov to wake the team up. Back-up Brian Boucher, fresh from his recall from the Adirondack Phantoms, replaced him.

Once again, the team defense let Bryzgalov down. You can argue the first goal was a stoppable shot if Bryzgalov made a better effort to find the puck, but he was left with zero support in the crease on the other goals. It was expected that Boucher would earn a start in Winnipeg to rest Bryzgalov, but it’s looking like the team will need their starter tomorrow to cover up the team’s collective mistakes.

As if the defensive woes weren’t enough, the powerplay struggled to convert on a five minute powerplay after Leafs defenseman Korbinian Holzer threw Tye McGinn into the boards dangerously. According to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly via twitter, “GM Holmgren said on TOR radio that the club looks like it lacks confidence with the puck on the powerplay.”

At least he is acknowledging the issue, even if there isn’t an obvious personnel fix at the moment (unless someone knows how to heal Scott Hartnell faster).

On a side note, McGinn has now gone awkwardly into the boards twice in the last three days. He still finished the game and scored the second goal of his budding NHL career in the waning minutes.  If anyone deserves a maintenance day, it’s him.

Boucher made nine saves on ten shots in 31:50 of ice time.

The Flyers will gain no rest after this loss, travelling three timezones east to the frozen tundra of Winnipeg. The team desperately needs points to crawl their way out of the Eastern Conference basement, but they did themselves no favors.

Confidence is a fickle thing, and hopefully the players don’t lose any as they continue their difficult road trip tomorrow.

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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February 12, 2013 1:36 am

I hate Direct Tv. I can not get a flyers game in Bethlehem PA. Come on comcast you have every other area on DTV but no Comcast Philly. BTW I can not get comcast Xfinity here so you arent losing out. Service electric has comcast sports net but their Internet is Trash.

February 12, 2013 7:00 am

the Flyers lack of strength was evident last night — losing the puck on the defensive boards and not be able to clear vision blockers away in front of the net, additionally
Grossmann looks real slow this year, a 4th line goon skated past him for a goal last night

February 12, 2013 7:10 am

I keep calling for Sean Courtier to be put in front of the net on PP — he is good digging the puck out of his skates and has quick hands once his stick touches it — Sean’s strengths are not dominating the puck like Giroux on the PP

February 12, 2013 8:09 am

Yes, the mighty Colton Orr had a goal last night.

JVR sure would like nice right now in orange and black. Terrible trade.

February 12, 2013 12:15 pm

Yes, but giving up someone with JVR’s potential that was never really given a chance to materialize here for a defensive minded defenseman is not my idea of a great example of giving to get. Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett is a good example of giving to get.

That desperation for defenseman pushed them into a bad trade in my opinion. I would have rather struggled through this year (which they are now anyways) and still had JVR on the team.

February 12, 2013 12:23 pm
Reply to  bugsyhawk

JVR did have a durability issue with the Flyers, so trade verdict is still yet to be determined until after the playoffs

February 12, 2013 3:57 pm

That should be Travel 3 Time Zone’s “West” and not East Josh..
Winnipeg is West of Toronto…
JVR will be a consistent 25-30 Goals and a 60-65 Points a Year solid 2-Way Player for the next 10 Seasons.. Schenn is just an average Defenseman
This Franchise is stuck in Medicority, too many old players and cannot develop Young Defenseman or Goalies in their own Minor Leagues.. It’s embarrasing really when you think about it .. When’s the last Goalie/Defenseman that they have Drafted and Developed who has played well at the NHL Level and this has been every year since the 90’s …

February 12, 2013 4:41 pm

Really a good point. We always talk about the goalies, but they really are only good at drafting offensive players.