As this game got underway, I thought the Flyers had absolutely no chance to win it.
With favorite son Rod Brind'Amour being honored, Carolina would have their most pumped crowd of the season in the building. The Hurricanes were sure to come out with far more fire than the Flyers (coming off two impressive wins in Florida) would have any reason to muster.
And early on, I looked smart. Carolina dumped two quick goals in, including a pretty weak five-hole one from Jeff "Are you fu--?!?!" Skinner that Sergei Bobrovsky definitely should have had.
But then Master of the Timeout Peter Laviolette pulled his signature move, and during his pep talk inexplicably made the decision to PUNCH VILLE LEINO IN THE HEAD.
The team responded.
Blair Betts fired a shorthanded goal to get the team on the board in the second, and Braydon Coburn slammed home a game tying goal with just over five minutes left in the third to seemingly ensure the Flyers at least a charity point.
But a late two-on-one (somewhat underplayed by Matt Carle) saw Erik Cole slam home the game winner, and so the Flyers leave Raleigh with nothing to show for the visit but a huge pile of #17 jerseys. It was the Flyers first regulation loss to the 'Canes in nineteen meetings, which is insane.
Assorted bullets on the heartbreaker:
- Despite being a part of the pre-game ceremony for Rod Brind'Amour, Mike Richards was a (very) late scratch, citing some sort of illness. It's tough to question the toughness of a guy who had played 169 consecutive games, but surely a queasy Richards would have been more useful than a healthy Jody Shelley, right? It's not quite a Jay Cutler moment, but consider my eyebrows raised.
- And seriously, Shelley is a better replacement for Richards than Nikolay Zherdev? Whatever.
- The Bob was spectacular. After the weak Skinner goal, Bob was flawless the whole rest of the way, making several absurd sequences of back to back saves as his defensemen did a largely terrible job of minimizing rebounds.
- For all the crap Jeffie gets for firing shot after shot wide, Danny Briere deserves three times as much for his dumb, costly stick penalties. They're lazy, they're stupid, and they have a far more tangible effect than the occasional misaimed attempt. Cut the crap, dude.
After the jump, questions answered and a comment of the night.
- How's the ceremony? Awesome. Rod the Bod is quite the talker.
- The Flyers just don't lose to the Hurricanes. Keep up the streak, right? Nope. Law of averages, or something.
- Carolina's right on the verge of the playoff picture. They need points badly. Can the Flyers match the intensity? Not early on, but by the second period absolutely.
- How's Bob look on back-to-back nights? Started shaky (some thought that the super long Brind'Amour ceremony threw off his routine), but he recovered majestically.
- How's Leino look after his little injury thing? Fine, though possibly concussed by Laviolette (see below).
Comment of the Night:
--Peter Laviolette (c/o Justin F.)