In a game that seemingly didn't go well from the start, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped a 5-4 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just 48 seconds in and already on the penalty kill, Evgeni Malkin foreshadowed a huge night by putting the puck through a screen and past Ray Emery. It was his only goal of the night, but it would be far from his only impact on the night.
Malkin ran all over the Flyers, making the defense look porous with only futile attempts made to stop him. It was just part of a second consecutive game where the Flyers blueliners looked absolutely inept, and tonight it all centered around Braydon Coburn. He had an unlucky game, yes, but that's what happens when you make terrible decisions with the puck.
The one we're all going to remember came midway through the second period while he was in his own corner. He attempted to clear the puck and, while it may or may not have bounced off of Ruslan Fedotenko, it wound up hitting Emery in the back of the leg and went into the back of the net.
Up until that point, the Flyers were only down one but still lucky to be in the game. Danny Briere had kept things interesting with two goals, but the Penguins were running the show. Each time the Flyers brought things close, they would sit back on the following shift. It led to a Bill Guerin goal in the first period, reestablishing a Pittsburgh lead, and Sidney Crosby almost did it in the second.
Other than that and a minor hooking penalty, Crosby was held in check effectively by Chris Pronger and Matt Carle. Unfortunately, Malkin more than stepped up to the task, and it was too much for the Flyers. Jeff Carter trimmed the Pens lead to one goal late in the second and led by Mike Richards they would come out flying in the third. Marc-Andre Fleury looked great as usual, though, and on a quick jaunt in the other direction, Tyler Kennedy put one by Emery to take back a multi-goal edge.
It killed the Flyers energy. The crowd was done and the players matched that intensity. It wasn't until late in the third with Emery pulled that the orange and black showed life. Carter put one top shelf, giving the Flyers life, but following the ensuing faceoff, the bounces wouldn't go the right way and the Flyers would fall 5-4.
More thoughts after the jump, including the Comment Of The Night and Questions With Answers.
A few more thoughts...
- The turnovers were atrocious. Again. On defense and on offense, the team just couldn't wait to give Pittsburgh free run at the puck. This department is a major concern going forward.
- Emery didn't look horrible and I'm not sure any of the goals were really his fault. Another terrible defensive performance from the Flyers tonight.
- Malkin needs to have a body put on him. He's given free reign of the Flyers offensive zone and it's unacceptable. When they played him physical, he was clearly frustrated, and that's evidenced by his four minor penalties tonight. They need to do a better job of getting Malkin off his game.
- The team seemed disinterested for a lot of the hockey game. Sure, they weren't getting the bounces and that can be deflating, but the effort wasn't there and the Pens rightfully took it to them. That's gotta stop.
- Scott Hartnell allegedly bit Kris Letang in a last-second scrum. Considering those allegations come from Letang and the Pittsburgh broadcast team, I'd take them with a grain of salt until something else comes out. If Hartnell really did bite Letang, the league will come down on him. In the meantime, the rhetoric out of Pittsburgh is ludicrous -- all with no proof. All the talk is how "Philadelphia is classless" while they can't even win without whining about us. Give me a break and see you in December.
- Even with all their mistakes, the Flyers were a bounce away from at least sending this game to overtime. That's if you're a glass half full kinda person.
Questions With Answers
- Which defense pairing sees time against the Crosby line? Effective? Repeat question replacing Crosby with Malkin. Pronger and Carle were effective in their time against Crosby, but Coburn and Timonen weren't effective versus Malkin. Partly to blame is Coburn's bad night, while some of it was just Malkin's dominance.
- How does Ole-Kristian Tollefsen look in his Flyer debut? Didn't hear his name much tonight, but he was a minus-1 in 10 minutes. Not a terrible debut, but nothing brilliant.
- Does Aaron Asham send a message to John Stevens and earn his job back on a regular basis? Same goes for Riley Cote. Asham showed some offensive touch and some ferocity, while Cote sat the bench for about 58 minutes.
- Offensive dynamo Matt Carle leads the Flyers with six points. An encore, perhaps? An assist on Carter's final goal. Too little, too late.
- Can Ray Emery outplay Marc-Andre Fleury? No.
Comment Of The Night: First time doing this, going to be a regular thing. This one sums up the day in Philly sports quite well.
I’ve already had two glasses of wine. It’s not helping.