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Panthers Win 4-2, Outshine Flyers in Sunrise

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So much for Philly teams knowing what to do with one-point leads.

The Flyers led twice but never delivered a knock out punch, eventually allowing a shorthanded goal by Radek Dvorak midway through the third that wound up being the game winner.

The Flyers lacked explosiveness the whole game, going through the motions against a Panthers team that isn't as bad as they looked in the earlier part of the season.

Some additional thoughts:

  • They only gave up three real goals, but the Flyers defensemen were hugely unimpressive.  Chris Pronger's turnover on the Flyers' powerplay led to a game ending shorthanded goal.  Kimmo Timonen and others did a horrible job of clearing Panthers players from the front of the net, leading directly to the first two goals.
  • It's great when a guy like Arron Asham can score, but I gotta think that him scoring relatively early and easily made the rest of the team think they were in for a pretty easy night.  The energy level was great going into that goal, and never recovered.
  • As much as the Flyers incredible +15 margin on shorthanded goals was seen as more of a bonus than a necessity last season, it's becoming clear early on how huge that category was.  Already with two shorthanded goals against and with none for, the Flyers are seeing the momentum swings that shorties carry from the other side.  They MUST shore up the power play defensively, it's that simple.  three shorthanded goals against in the last seven regular season games is totally unacceptable.
  • During his first intermission interview on FSN Florida, Mike Richards was gasping for air so much he could hardly speak.  Looked like a symptom of poor conditioning, which hasn't been seen as an issue on this team for a long time.
  • Ray Emery wasn't totally to blame for any of the three goals, but he was definitely not spectacular, either.  Three straight losses makes me wonder when Brian Boucher is going to see his first action.
  • Good for Claude Giroux to get his first of the year, even if it wasn't pretty.  Still a bunch of top forwards (Gagne, Pyorala, JVR) waiting to get their first.
  • The Asham-Giroux-Pyorala line is an intriguing one--I'd definitely like to see more of it.

With this third loss in a row, the Flyers drop to .500 on the year, at 3-2-1.  They remain five points behind both the Rangers and Penguins, and sit at third in the Atlantic.

After the jump, the pre-game questions answered, as well as your thoughts and reactions to this 4-2 loss.

Questions answered:

  1. Will James van Riemsdyk make much of an impact in his first game back? Not enormous, but definitely an impact.  He made a nice pass to set up Asham's goal, but other than that he was not particularly visible.
  2. How will the team react to the long layoff and vacation-like activities of the past week? They definitely didn't look game-tough.  It probably had more to do with the long layoff than the fishing and sailing, though.
  3. Can the defense take positives out of the Anaheim game, but still avoid the breakdowns that led to the Anaheim comeback (poor line changes, losing open men, etc.)? The defense did different things wrong today.  They did a terrible job of clearing guys out from the slot, and Pronger coughed up a costly turnover that gave Florida the game winner.
  4. Since Pronger, Laperriere, and Emery were added in part for their hatred of losing, how does the team respond to back-to-back losses, especially against an inferior team? They responded by making it back-to-back-to-back losses.

Another long layoff until the next game, back in Philadelphia vs. the Bruins.  Plenty of questions to be answered before that.