Tonight's recap is a bit late due to some rough Internet issues at the WFC. I mean, it's not like Comcast, the region's leading provider of high-speed Internet services, runs the building or anything.
[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Corsi and Fenwick] - [EV Faceoffs]
PHILADELPHIA -- Simon Gagne was quiet in his return to Philadelphia on Thursday night, but his upgraded, refocused Lightning team, of which his addition is one of those major upgrades, was anything but. They rolled into the Wells Fargo Center and took care of the Flyers by a 3-2 score.
It wasn't as if the Flyers played a horrible game. There were certainly bright spots. The forechecking, my God, the forechecking in the first two periods was, to use a phrase from a year ago... relentless. The penalty kill was once again fantastic. For most of the first 40 minutes, in fact, the Flyers really controlled play. The ice was certainly tilted in their direction a bit and goalie Dan Ellis had to be quite good to keep the game from getting out of hand.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the bad greatly outweighed the good. For starters, they didn't create any of those infamous Dan Ellis problems. Quite the opposite, in fact. More importantly than the fine play of Tampa's netminder, however, was the atrocious work of the Flyers power play.
Now 1-for-17 on the season, the PP is the complete opposite of the penalty kill right now. That's a 5.8 percent conversion rate. I mean, really now. As public address announcer Lou Nolan uttered in the locker room after the game, they might as well call it the Peco Power Outage. It's just utterly pathetic right now -- there's no other way to put it.
Part of the problem might have something to do with the fact that there's no way for the team to get used to each other on the unit. Chris Pronger and Danny Briere both alluded to this post game. (You can hear audio from Briere and video from Pronger after the jump, by the way.) Eight forwards are getting a crack at power play minutes. Peter Laviolette is mixing things up, but is it too much?
It's certainly a possibility. One thing is for sure, though -- the Flyers had 6:47 in power play time tonight, 1:13 of that as two-man edge time. If you can't pot at least one goal in that situation, you're going to lose hockey games. The Flyers did a good job of that tonight.
Assorted notes, questions with answers, post-game video and audio and the comment of the night can all be found after the jump.
- If you're looking for Gagne talk, check in here.
- Jody Shelley, had even less ice time tonight than he did on Monday, finishing with just 3:19. His spot in the lineup takes chances away from Blair Betts and Darroll Powe and makes it so the Flyers are really only rolling three lines. Betts had just 3:29 in even strength ice time himself, while Powe was on the ice at 5-on-5 for just 5:26.
- In that 3-plus minutes, Shelley looked abysmal. That's just the unfortunate truth. He wasn't credited with a giveaway on the score sheet but there definitely was at least one that I noticed in the first period.
- Nikolay Zherdev scored his first as a Flyer. It was also the 100th of his career. He went hard to the net and tapped in a nice pass from James van Riemsdyk, who was set up by Claude Giroux. Not a bad line, there.
- Brian Boucher was not all that sharp. Pavel Kubina's goal early in the third just should not beat any goaltender in the NHL. Plain and simple. Dominic Moore's second period goal wasn't a great display of hockey skill either.
- It wasn't all on Boosh though. He didn't get much help from his defense. Andrej Meszaros wasn't good (and wow, do any of his shots from the point get through traffic and on net?) and Matt Carle had an atypically terrible hockey game.
- Anthony SanFilippo named Simon Gagne the first star of the evening, which was definitely a classy move. I'm not sure if Simon came out of the tunnel to acknowledge the crowd, but I do know that Ant tried to get that message down to Simon via the Bolts PR staff that he was going to be included in the stars so that he could share that moment with the faithful.
- Steve Downie had a pretty wow game. A fight with Sean O`Donnell and a gorgeous assist on Steven Stamkos' first period goal earned him CSN's Player of the Game. He picked up a second assist later, too.
- The Bolts are scary good on offense once they get set up in the attacking zone. Stamkos is deadly.
Questions with Answers
- What does Simon Gagne do on the ice tonight? Off the ice? Not much of anything on the ice. Finished a minus-1, had one giveaway, one shot and one, uh.... hit. Off the ice, he almost cried. And he waved a little bit.
- Brian Boucher is back in the crease for the Flyers as they continue to alternate goaltenders. Does he keep up with the bar that Sergei Bobrovsky has set? Boosh didn't do himself any favors tonight, we'll just put that out there. I wouldn't be shocked to see Bob get a few starts in a row here, to be honest.
- The power play has been less than impressive so far this season. Any improvement? Let's just say this. Here's what I updated my Facebook status with after the game: "so there's no cheering in the press box, but is crying cool? and no, not for gagne. that power play, my god, it sucks."
- PP related again: there are basically 8 guys competing for 6 forward spots on the two PP units. Is there any evidence tonight that the battles are narrowing down? No narrowing down at all. Still rolling all of those guys.
- The penalty kill was obviously the story on Monday. Continued success? (This question is dedicated to Sarge Matthews.) Yes, Sarge would be happy. Mike Richards should've had a goal on a shorthanded breakaway but he only has one move.
- Jody Shelley ice time watch: O/U set at five. Over, or under? Under. Shocking. $1.1 million.
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Post-Game Video: Chris Pronger
Post-Game Audio: Mike Richards and Danny Briere
Comment of the Night
When a goaltender is down on his luck and needs to eat, he sometimes has to resort to theft.
>> douglownote, on Dan Ellis' robbing Claude Giroux of a goal.