I was in Raleigh on Sunday, and part of me seriously considered driving to Tampa for tonight's Flyers game vs. the Lightning. My rationale for driving 10 hours (20 round trip) out of the way? Well, I've never been to Tampa for a hockey game before, and when was the next time I'd be half way there already?
I'm glad I decided to save the trip for another time.
I think the Flyers showed up tonight in St. Petersburg. At least, I'm sure the hotel bill charged to 3601 South Broad and the plane back to Philadelphia will create some sort of paper trail of their arrival and departure from Florida.
In terms of hockey, though, I'm not so sure. The CSN team -- really, Bob Clarke -- said that tonight was different than the last time the Flyers had one of these breaks. You remember the game in Vancouver. The guys let the Canucks take an early lead and they never really got out of the initial funk. Clarkie was of the opinion that tonight was different -- that the Flyers had the effort, but that they fell victim to a few odd bounces.
You can't deny that they fell early thanks to some odd bounces, but they had several opportunities to get back in the game, especially with the man advantage, early in the game. The game was 2-0 and 3-0 very early, but if the Flyers could have scored on the power play, they would've been right back in this one.
Instead, they opted for low-percentage chances and poor shot selection (despite posting 40 shots), allowing 90-year-old Dwayne Roloson to see every just about every puck. Peter Laviolette said that the Flyers just didn't get any luck tonight, but I'm of the opinion that you create a lot of your "luck" (as weird as that sentence might sounds).
Using a lack of luck as the reason for losing 4-0 tonight seems a little dishonest, doesn't it?
The Lightning did capitalize on some weird chances early, and they definitely tightened up once they had the 3-0 lead. They played a pretty wicked trap that was really, really frustrating. But hey, guess what? The Flyers are the best team in the NHL, supposedly. Find a way to beat it. Find a way to make your own luck.
After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
Questions with Answers
- Steven Stamkos scores about 99.9 percent of his goals by sneaking down around the bottom of the circle and blasting a one-timer into the net. He ate Braydon Coburn alive with this last time these teams met. Can the Flyers stop that? He wasn't there much tonight. He didn't have to be.
- Gagne has been much better lately for the Lightning. How's he do tonight? Uh, two assists in about 9 seconds (or something). How's that?
- The Lightning are terrible in transition and in the neutral zone. Can the Flyers exploit that weakness? The Lightning didn't even really have to play in the neutral zone. Not on their goals, at least. The Flyers gave several of them (at least two, I'm working off memory) off turnovers in the neutral zone.
- The power play actually scored some goals in the last game before the break. That ends the several-month-long funk, right? (Probably not.) Oh shut up.
Comment of the Night
Did the music guy find Evgeni Malkin in the audience or something?