PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 05: Andrej Sekera #44 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates his goal with teamates against The Philadelphia Flyers during their game on March 5, 2011 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA -- Peter Laviolette made a guarantee after today's 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Actually, maybe it was more of a "seriously, we've got this" statement.
"I don't think that any of the players in there thought for one second that Buffalo was gonna be an easy game," he said. "We're in a position, as all teams are in the course of the year in the National Hockey League. We have had a good season for 55 games, 57 games. Wins have come our way -- the bounces, the breaks, everything has come our way.
"We've hit a patch here where things have not come as easily for us. There's a belief in there that we're gonna be successful every night and we will continue down that road to work and to push and to win hockey games. And some nights it's not gonna be as easy, and some nights you won't get the breaks and the bounces.
"There's definitely things that we could've done better tonight. And we'll continue to look at it and we'll continue to work at it. This team got to this point by a certain recipe and a certain identity on how they play the game.
"We gotta continue to work at that and get back to that and get to that, and wins will start to come our way. I promise you this: Wins will start to come our way."
Exit stage right. A few bullet points, post-game video and the comment of the day after the jump.
- With the loss today, the Flyers have dropped three straight games in regulation for the first time since October. While we're all busy panicking about the fact that they've lost three straight, let's just think about the good part of that stat, shall we?
- After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first, you quickly realize how a short lull can turn a game on its side. The Flyers dominated the first period and earned a two goal lead, but after sitting back for the first half of the second, the desperate Sabres capitalized. By the middle of the period, that 2-0 lead was a 3-2 deficit.
- It's really that close. If the Flyers come out with some fire at the start of the second period, they could very well have made it a 3-0 lead that would've put the Sabres down, and we'd all be talking right now about how awesome it is to have the real Flyers back. Instead, they walk away with nothing and we're back to panic mode.
- That said, after Buffalo took the lead the Flyers didn't die off. Shorthanded after a horrible call on Kris Versteeg, Braydon Coburn did some work in the offensive zone, ultimately getting the puck to Kimmo Timonen alone in front of the Sabres net. He struggled to get the puck on his stick but was able to roof it over Ryan Miller's glove to tie the score.
- On the Sabres game-winning goal, a simple missed coverage allowed Jason Pominville to cruise right to the front of the net, where he tapped in a beautiful pass from Thomas Vanek. I'm not sure exactly who is to blame on the goal: Matt Carle definitely cheated over toward the wrong side of the ice a bit, which allowed Pominville a lane to the net. He could have thought that he had coverage from Scott Hartnell, though.
- Patrick Kaleta was running around like a mad man all afternoon. Here's where the presence of a guy like Dan Carcillo can really help things. Both he and Jody Shelley were scratches today, and while I don't think Shelley will deter Kaleta one bit (we've been over this before), the presence of Carcillo would actually keep Kaleta in check -- since, you know, the two would actually drop the gloves with one another.
- I asked Mike Richards after the game if there's a void in that part of the game with both Carcillo and Shelley out of the lineup, but he apparently wasn't in all that good of a mood since he basically didn't even acknowledge my existence.
- James van Riemsdyk's goal in the first period was fantastic.
- After Buffalo took the lead, the Flyers controlled the play for most of the balance of the game. In my opinion, some poor shot selection, a few unlucky bounces and a pretty solid defensive performance by the Sabres kept the Flyers off the board. The Sabres blocked 29 shots, mostly because the Flyers were shooting them into their legs.
- Kimmo Timonen on his 100th career goal: "Well it would've been nice if we won the game. I'm not really a big stat guy, but I'm sure in a couple years, 2-3 years when I retire, it's going to be a nice memory. I rather win these games then get those goals." Should we be reading into that? His contract is up in two seasons.
Post-Game Video: Chris Pronger
Post-Game Video: Kimmo Timonen
Post-Game Video: Kris Versteeg
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Questions with Answers
- With Carolina and NYR off today, it's a huge game for Buffalo. Can the Flyers act like the game is as important to them? In the first period, sure. Not so much in the second.
- They took a bagillion penalties the other night. Discipline today? A little better for sure, but the officiating was bad again today.
- Can Kris Versteeg and Mike Richards continue to display their chemistry? I thought the line of Versteeg, Richards and Zherdev was very good tonight. Probably the Flyers' best.
- I can't think of any more questions. That's because you're an idiot.
Comment of the Day
Cliff Lee would have made that save.