Six games, three shutouts. Watch America's Most Wanted this weekend and maybe we can find out who kidnapped the Philadelphia Flyers offense. With the exception of one game against the New York Islanders, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Danny Briere have been invisible over the last month.
I don't know what to think and I don't have answers, but this team just can't score. They have absolutely zero confidence. Maybe a trade is necessary to shake up the offense. Maybe they just need Simon Gagne, Blair Betts, and Darroll Powe back in the lineup. Maybe we overrated them and they're just bad. I simply don't know. With the amount of games coming up in the next few weeks -- really, up until the Olympic break -- they can't afford to continually give up points like this. It's frustrating, not to mention depressing.
They outworked the Senators tonight. They had more chances and they had an almost full length five-on-three power play. Their goalie performed like the starter he was in 2000. And yet, empty net goals not withstanding, they still lost a 1-0 defensive struggle.
Credit is due to the Senators. Brian Elliott played quite well. They did a great job of clogging the middle of the ice with bodies, not allowing the Flyers to do much on the power play. Still, Ottawa is not really a good hockey team. They've played over their heads thus far this season. They're relying on a goaltender right now who has only played 47 NHL games.
You've gotta win these games. The Flyers keep on proving that they're incapable of that.
After the jump, a few more notes on this one, lowlights, questions with answers, and the comment of the night.
Some assorted thoughts...
- If I were Brian Boucher, I'd be furious. He's playing excellent hockey in the absence of Ray Emery, but he can't get a win because his team can't put the puck in the other net. At the same time, it's a reassuring sign that things aren't totally lost with Emery down. If the offense can get a damn goal.
- The orange and black may have scored a goal at one point during this one, but the score sheet wont say that. The puck was lodged under Elliott's pads, and he seemed to be in the net with it. He was pushed by Scott Hartnell, though, so the officials, despite heading over to the table, didn't even send the play to Toronto for review.
- The power play showed excellent puck movement, but unlike Tuesday against the Isles, the passing lanes across the middle of the ice didn't exist tonight. That forces the shots to come from the outside, and Elliott had an answer every time the Flyers challenged him down below the faceoff circles. When shots came from the point, especially via the stick of Chris Pronger, they rarely even made it through to Elliott.
Matt Carkner delivered a cheap shot to Mike Richards late in the third period, giving the Flyers some hope with a PP. On that ensuing PP, it was the same story.
- Braydon Coburn's giveaway to Jesse Winchester leading up to the game-sealing empty net goal was just terrible.
- The Flyers took several penalties tonight, but Peter Laviolette said after the game that they weren't the same kind of undisciplined penalties that he punished the team for during Wednesday's practice.
- On the bright side, the penalty kill did a good job killing off Ottawa's PP chances.
- This was, by far, the most boring hockey game in quite some time. Sens fans and Flyers fans agree.
- Oddly, the CSN broadcast was the only one of this game tonight. It was simulcast on TSN 2 in Canada, as well as around the country on various CSN affiliates.
- On that same note, Jim Jackson reportedly lost his glasses prior to the game (I didn't know he wore glasses?) and was forced to wear prescription sunglasses while calling the game. Jim Jackson wears his sunglasses at night.
Questions With Answers
- Can the Flyers keep themselves out of the penalty box for prolonged stretches tonight? No, but it didn't hurt them like it did on Tuesday.
- Will the power play sustain the success they had on Tuesday night? They held the puck well, but anything more than that is apparently too much to ask for.
- Does the top line continue its sexy-looking play? Not even a little bit.
- Can Boucher keep up his hot play? Definitely. Solid games are becoming the norm for Boosh.
- How successful are the Flyers in keeping the Sens big guns off the score sheet? Fisher had an assist, but Alfreddson, Spezza, Michalek, and Cheechoo were all held off.
- Does Jarkko Ruutu kill a guy? No, but he did receive a cross-checking minor in the second.
Comment Of The Night
At least he’s scoring somewhere
>> JpH89, on Carter getting some tail at the club