Coming into this game, the concern for the Flyers was that they'd come out a bit rusty since they didn't really get a chance to skate at all during the time leading up to the game. Thanks to a long, long penalty kill to start the game, they had a chance to show us all that rust wasn't a concern.
The problems came later, though.
Just way too much speed from Dallas and way too much miscommunication and standing around led to lots of odd-man rushes, open guys in front of the net, and pretty good scoring chances for the Stars, and all of that came to a head late in the second period as the Stars' top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin potted three goals in 62 seconds of ice time to take what had been a tie game and turned it into a laugher.
Seguin managed to put up a natural hat trick (someone remind me why exactly he was traded, again?) and Nichushkin scored his first, second, third, and fourth points at home of his career, and they both did so while spending most of their ice time facing off with either the Flyers' top line or its shutdown line that's been so great lately. Those are the breaks, I guess. A pretty rough game for the Flyers all-around, and you could tell they just didn't have it in them today as the game went on -- which was disappointing to see after the way they flipped a switch and started dominating at the end of the second period after trailing against Detroit on Wednesday.
* So how exactly did the Flyers end up spending seven minutes killing a penalty at the beginning of the contest? Zac Rinaldo brought the stupid big-time early in this one, watching Antoine Roussel fall to the ice as a fight began and then punching him multiple times more after he had clearly turtled. Rinaldo managed to get 27 minutes of penalties on the play, and it's a testament to a really good penalty kill and a really bad Stars power play that it didn't cost them huge. All in all, Rinaldo had four seconds of ice time, meaning he had 405 times as much penalty time today as he did ice time. You hear a lot about accountability for guys' actions on the ice. I don't think the Department of Player Safety is going to be calling Rinaldo, but if there's a time for Craig Berube to send a message about discipline to his team, this may be it.
* The one goal the Flyers scored was a pretty good all-around effort. Brayden Schenn made a nice pass up the boards to help Wayne Simmonds get a step up-ice, and Simmer made a really good play and displayed some nice patience to make his way around the defenseman and get the puck in front, where Andrej Meszaros finally put it home for his first goal in a long time. Kind of the highlight of the day by default, but still good to see.
* Luke Schenn, Mark Streit, and Nicklas Grossmann all had very, very rough games. Schenn saw the third goal by Tyler Seguin bounce off of him on a shot from pretty far away from the net, and it seemed like every five minutes a miscommunication or misstep by one of Streit and Grossmann led to a Stars player streaking down the ice with the puck. I get that none of those guys is particularly fleet of foot, but when that's the case the awareness and decision-making have to be there. They weren't today.
* Steve Mason gave up four goals today -- the first time he had done so in his 27th start as a Flyer -- and yet, as it's often been this year, it's tough to pin much of this loss at all on him. Several really nice saves in the first and second periods before the Dallas outburst, and not a whole lot he could've done on any of the four Dallas goals against. He got pulled for Ray Emery (who allowed one goal off of -- shockingly -- a shorthanded rush), but that certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort or performance on his end.
* Kimmo Timonen left the ice in the second period and did not return. He has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Hopefully just an old people thing that doesn't leave him out for long, because as mentioned above his teammates on the blue line did not have a good day.
* Tyler Seguin is ridiculous. Big thanks to Boston for trading him out of the conference. (Trading a young forward prematurely and watching him be awesome somewhere else. Man, I bet that would suck. HA.)
Questions to Answer:
1. The Flyers haven't really skated at all in a couple of days and have been prone to bad starts on the road lately -- how do they start today's game? They started their game on the penalty kill. For seven minutes. Zac RInaldo's gonna get a talking-to for that one. Fortunately, they killed that off and they did a respectable job in the rest of the first period. That didn't end up being the problem.
2. The "third line" had nine points on Wednesday and is awesome. Today? Did well on possession as per usual, but no points and they ended up on the ice for two goals against, so the awesomeness was on hold a bit.
3. Anyone else stick out amongst the rest of the skaters for the Flyers? I can't really think of anyone who I thought looked particularly good. Really liked Wayne Simmonds' effort on the lone Flyers goal. Underwhelming performance on the whole, though, obviously.
4. Nicklas Grossmann has added an extra 'n' to his name since he was traded from the Stars to the Flyers two years ago. Do they give him (and his extra 'n') any sort of acknowledgement? Not really. And he and Mark Streit had a bit of a rough day.
Comment of the Afternoon:
Worse at trading young players, us or Boston?
Ottawa on Monday. Do better then. Go Flyers.