This was not a game I expected the Flyers to win in the slightest, and in the end they didn't come close. They kept it close early, but when it all fell apart it fell apart fast. San Jose's an excellent team, and the Flyers weren't going to come close to beating them with the lack of backchecking and balance they showed tonight.
The main story tonight was the Flyers' ridiculous inability to stay on their feet throughout the evening. Several spills, including one by Chris Pronger that led directly to the Sharks' second goal, cost the Flyers dearly throughout. San Jose never has been long plagued by poor ice, but it was incredible to see how much more affected the Flyers (and referees) were by the conditions than was the home team. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like it before, and I hope I don't see it again any time soon.
Some more assorted thoughts about this first loss of the road trip:
- Claude Giroux tripled his goal total for the season, scoring twice. Neither goal was pretty or entirely his doing, but hopefully they help reignite his scoring all the same.
- Daniel Briere vs. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is about as unlikely a fight pairing as you'll ever see. Vlasic was pretty briny throughout the game, cross-checking Giroux in the back of the neck after he scored his second goal, starting a scrum. The scrum resulted in four penalties, none of which were against Vlasic.
- Crappy day at the office for Jeff Carter, who took two high-sticking penalties and ended the game a -2.
- In his first game against his former Ottawa teammate, Dany Heatley put three past Ray Emery. I don't care what business you're in--that's no way to treat a former co-worker.
- The Flyers are now winless in their last eleven games against the Sharks, ending this decade with only one win against the team in teal.
- The Flyers have already given up more shorthanded goals this season than they did all of last season. This one tonight gave Heatley his hat trick, and was a direct result of the Flyers being stuck with three players behind the opposite goal line. Hard to do any backchecking whatsoever from that position.
- In a failure of Syvretian proportions, Kent Huskins of the Sharks managed to finish the game a -3.
- The current NHL schedule has it set up so each team only plays three teams from the opposite conference twice in a given season. For the past two seasons, one of the three teams the Flyers have had to play twice has been the Sharks, which is hardly a good thing considering what regular season beasts the Sharks have been over these past two seasons. The other two Western teams the Flyers have to play twice this season are Dallas and Minnesota, which are decidedly softer draws.
This ridiculous schedule has the Flyers playing their next game less than twenty hours from the end of this one, as they have to fly 700 or so miles down to Phoenix for a more winnable scrap tomorrow night against the Coyotes. If they can recover from this one quickly enough, tomorrow should be a better show. But with Powe hobbled and several other Flyers hitting the ice hard and repeatedly, the Sharks might have taken a more lingering chomp out of the Orange and Black.
After the jump, we answer our pregame questions, peek at the high and lowlights of this one, and award a comment of the night.
Questions With Answers
- How long does SJ keep the Thornton-Marleau-Heatley line together, and if it's together for a while, can the Flyers shut them down? If not, can the Flyers keep those players off the score sheet anyway? They stayed together the entire game. Heatley potted a hat trick, Marleau added another, and Thornton finished with four assists. We report, you decide.
- The Flyers put 38 shots on Thomas Greiss last month but could only put one by him. Tonight, it's a much more daunting task in net with Evgeni Nabokov. How do they fare? Nabokov was beatable, but he certainly did his job. He robbed Mike Richards on a play that would've tied the game in the third period.
- Philly escaped LA with a win despite putting in a less-than-complete effort. Can they earn a win with a full 60 minute effort tonight? The effort was there, the result was just sloppy. They didn't deserve a win.
- How badly does Pronger, who knocked the Sharks out of the playoffs in the first round at HP Pavilion last April, get booed by the San Jose faithful? Boos rained down upon him every time he touched the puck, and it didn't help that he tumbled to the ice about a minute into the game.
Comment of the Night
I’m not too impressed with anything tonight.
>> Ben Feldman