PHILADELPHIA -- I've been trying to think of how to start this game recap for about three hours now. That was way back in a time without goals, when the score of tonight's hockey game between the Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning was only 2-2. The home team had a 2-0 lead when I really started thinking, "oh, that's usually enough for Sergei Bobrovsky."
Jesus, was I wrong. In just 16 seconds, and in just the first three Tampa shots of the game, it was a new hockey game again. This depressing event, the blowing of a two-goal lead, would happen two more times in the game. The Lightning would go on to win 8-7, not grabbing their first lead of the hockey game until the 5:19 mark of the third period -- on the 15th goal of the game.
The game was full of those kind of weird numbers. Martin St. Louis finished a minus-1, while also putting five assists on the board. All but three Flyers skaters -- Ville Leino, Jody Shelley and Kimmo Timonen -- had a point. In a game like this, it's difficult to figure out exactly where to strike the balance between "eight goals against, this is alarming" and "this is never going to happen again, let's just turn the page and move on."
The buzz surrounding the Flyers before the game had to do with Bobrovsky's work load, and as soon as he was pulled to start the second period, you knew that whole storyline was just going to completely blow up. It has. I'm sure we'll be reading a hundred stories over the next few days questioning Peter Laviolette's decision to play the seemingly-tired Bob.
But this is another place where we have to find that balance.
Peter Laviolette says that they'll be looking closely at what went wrong tonight -- from the net to the defense on out. Bobrovsky says it's "not a tragedy" and that this sort of thing happens sometimes. Danny Briere seems to agree with him, so it seems the personnel in the locker room isn't even on the same page as to how to approach the aftermath of this one. It'll be interesting to see how they do that.
We'll get into a full bullet points after the jump, where we also have the usual fare -- post-game video, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Tonight tied a franchise record for most goals scored by the Flyers in a loss. The last time was a 9-7 loss to Hartford on February 25, 1984. That same game was the last time the Flyers were involved in a game where nine goals were scored in a period. Overall, that's happened five times now in team history.
- The Flyers haven't combined with their opponent for this many goals in a game since 1994.
- Fifteen different Flyers had at least a point in tonight's game. The last time that happened was February 23, 1988 in an 11-6 win at Detroit, when 15 different players also had at least a point.
- Would Bob like a day off? "This is a very risky question. I will not answer."
- Jeff Carter was four for four in the face-off circle tonight. He hasn't lost in a draw in three games. 17 for 17 in that stretch.
- The power play was 0-for-4 tonight and looked absolutely pretty terrible in the process.
- James van Riemsdyk was demoted to the fourth line. Andreas Nodl played with Mike Richards and Nikolai Zherdev. Zherdev had a solid game, which makes sense since there wasn't much defense in this one.
- The officials weren't great, but the Flyers took way too many penalties. The penalty kill was the difference, as Tampa scored two PP goals in the game.
- Andrej Meszaros was especially feisty tonight. I asked him after the game if that's because he knew any of the guys on the other team up close and personal and he didn't really say so. He laid a huge hit down in the third period and the officials gave him a 4 minute sit down for clipping and unsportsmanlike conduct. He told us about it after the game and you can see that video below.
- On the power play, Steven Stamkos is terrifying. Well, he's terrifying all the time, but especially on the PP. He slips down to the bottom of the circle and usually gets behind his defenseman, and his release is so quick and his shot is so terrifyingly accurate that if the puck gets to him there, he's going to bury it. He scored a hat trick tonight, including two on the power play.
- I'm saving my copy of the first period stat sheet. It is hilarious.
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Post-Game Video: Andrej Meszaros
Post-Game Video: Danny Briere
Post-Game Video: Sergei Bobrovsky
Post-Game Video: Brian Boucher
Questions with Answers
- The special teams were shaky against Montreal. Improvement back on home ice? They were pretty bad again tonight.
- The Flyers gave Dan Ellis no problems last time the Bolts were in town. Can they make him miserable tonight? Ellis was pulled after just 15:34. He has problems, yes.
- Any signs of fatigue from Bobrovsky? Hell and yes.
- James van Riemsdyk didn't look great the other night, and Andreas Nodl replaced him at times on the line with Richards and Zherdev. Same story, or do we see JVR solidify his spot with 18 and 93 tonight? Nodl replaced him before the game even started, and no, the 4th line didn't see a regular shift. JVR only played 6:36.
- Can the Flyers stop that super-potent Lightning top line? No, no and no.
Comment of the Night
You have to blow into the bottom of the cartridge sometimes to make it work.
>> Vansteel, on hitting the reset button