Speechless. The Flyers got shut out by Johan Hedberg and the Atlanta Thrashers, losing to Atlanta for the first time since a shootout loss on November 18th, 2005. Their last regulation loss to Atlanta was still further back, on December 21st, 2003. Getting shut out by the Thrashers is even more unusual, since the last time Atlanta did that was January 14th, 2000. Getting shut out by anybody itself is pretty rare, as the Flyers have scored in each of their last 50 games, last putting up a goose egg on March 1st, 2009.
So this outcome was atypical. An exercise in futility, one might say. One might assume the Flyers didn't show up tonight, but that surprisingly wasn't the case. They didn't lose because they made mistakes, they didn't lose because of poor goaltending either. Once again, Brian Boucher was solid in net, stopping 17 of 18 shots. However, Hedberg was better as he stopped all 34 Flyers shots.
There isn't much to say about this game. Rich Peverly scored the only Thrashers goal on the power play, after a Ryan Parent tripping penalty was assessed on top of Claude Giroux's slashing penalty. Parent got beat and got called for a trip. These things happen. Either way, when your goalie only gives up one goal, you should win. The Flyers didn't. They've been losing a lot lately, but it hasn't been for a lack of effort.
After the jump, Random Thoughts, Questions with Answers, Highlights, and Comment of the Night.
- There has been a lot of talk about faceoffs around here since the off-season, yet Mika Pyorala's name has yet to come up. Mike Richards lost the faceoff that led to the only Thrashers goal - and the team was only 2 for 6 on draws while shorthanded - but Pyorala took the third most draws on the night and finished winless in 5 tries. Richards finished at 50% and Carter at 61% on the night.
- Oskars Bartulis impressed me yet again. An overall strong game, with two hits and two blocked shots. I only noticed him once - which is always a good thing for a stay-at-home defenseman - and it was when he stood his man up along the boards, took the puck away from him, and started the breakout.
- Brian Boucher had another great game. There won't be a goalie controversy, but he's clearly outplaying Ray Emery of late. Particularly amazing was his save on Bryan Little in the second period.
- Colby Armstrong took an unnecessary run at James van Riemsdyk which scared a lot of people, if only for a second. Undisciplined play by Armstrong and he deserved the 5 minute charging penalty, the game misconduct, as well as the beating Arron Asham gave him. He does not however, deserve a suspension.
- On a related note, the instigator rule needs to be eliminated. Immediately. In back-to-back games, the Flyers have had players get dangerously run at, both hobbled off the ice, and both led to game misconducts being called against the opposition. Both times, a Flyers tough guy immediately stood up for his teammate, and negated a 5 minute PP into a 3 minute PP. I cannot even tell you how stupid it is. Cassie from Raw Charge agrees with me.
- Riley Cote got his first fight of the year! As such, he also got his first beat down. Congratulations. Thanks for being on the ice for 2:52 tonight Riles.
- Ice time tonight was definitely interesting - as always. Five players finished with less than 10 minutes; four players had between 10 and 15 minutes; and four had more than 24 minutes. Love the balanced attack.
- The story of the game - besides Johan Hedberg - was the Flyers power play: 0 for 4 in nine minutes. They got off shots - 9 to be exact - but struggled with the man-advantage the entire game.
- The officiating was pretty bad tonight, but no worse than normal and not the reason they lost. In other words, just a typical night in the NHL. At least we aren't the Detroit Red Wings: Evidence.
Questions with Answers:
- Can the Flyers get out of their special teams slump? No. Penalty kill was 3 for 4 - not bad, but not good enough - and the power play was atrocious.
- Do the Flyers limit Ian Laperriere's ice time just a day after his upper lip split in two thanks to a Jason Pominville slap shot? A little, but not really. He got 13:20 of ice time which is fairly typical for him, especially considering the team spent 9 minutes on the PP.
- Can Boucher keep up his hot play? Definitely. Not much else to say. Boucher has played great his past two and a half games.
- Do the Flyers beat Atlanta for a unbelievable 15th straight time, or can the Thrashers get their first win against Philadelphia since 2005? Even Niittymaki couldn't have stolen this game for us.
Comment of the Night:
I’m running out of things to say about this team.