PHILADELPHIA -- Let's go over some numbers, briefly.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves tonight. An errant skate aside, he played well enough to win a hockey game and he even played well enough to earn a shutout. The Flyers won 57 percent of the faceoffs.
Peter Laviolette said that they outchanced the Atlanta Thrashers by a margin of 2 to 1, and I wouldn't doubt his assessment. (We'll find out tomorrow when we analyze the scoring chance data ourselves.) They took 43 shots at the Thrashers net.
The Flyers allowed just three shots on goal in 11:36 of penalty kill time. These are all very good numbers. These are all the kinds of numbers that win you hockey games in the NHL. For whatever reason, that didn't happen tonight. Chris Mason made a few big -- no, huge -- saves in the second period to keep the score knotted a zero, but that doesn't mean anything from the Flyers perspective.
Simply put, the Flyers didn't get the bounces tonight. It's easy to get all "OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG" about this kind of game, especially given the last month of hockey. That wouldn't be fair tonight, though. The bounces simply didn't go their way, plain and simple.
A few sprawling (and lucky) saves, missing a loose puck by a hair off the tip of the stick in the slot, Danny Briere missing by inches, Jeff Carter hitting a post with four seconds left. It just didn't go right tonight. It happens. There's no deep meaning in it.
The magic number to clinch the Atlantic is at four. The magic number to clinch the East is at eight, and the Flyers are in the drivers seat the whole way. Game tomorrow. Time to eliminate the Devils once and for all, right?
Questions with answers and the comment of the night after the jump.
Video later. YouTube ain't cooperatin'.
Questions with Answers
- Are the Atlanta Thrashers still mathematically alive in the playoff race by the end of the night? Ugh, yeaaaaah.
- The Briere line was great in Pittsburgh. More? Wasn't as good, but they had their chances.
- As was the power play. More? The power play wasn't as good, but I wouldn't call tonight a setback.
- Can the Flyers simplify the game and bring a "road style" game to home ice? I thought they did simplify their game a bit more, yes.
- Bob was great in Pittsburgh, as well as last Saturday in New York. Three straight games would go a long way towards building the playoff confidence. Yes? Bob was fantastic yet again. Fantastic to see.
Comment of the Night
How do you know a period of hockey has been uneventful? Nick Boynton gets interviewed.
>> Justin F.