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Well that's no fun.
For the second day in a row, the Flyers blew a lead in the shootout against an inferior team to leave an extra point on the ice. It looked like Nikolay Zherdev was going to give the Flyers the victory in the penalty shot contest, but Brian Boucher couldn't stop Jason Arnott, who kept the Devils alive, nor could he stop Travis Zajac, who won things for the Devils.
Also for the second straight day, though, the Flyers were somewhat lucky to get this one to overtime. They played a phenomenal third period, led by the line of Andreas Nodl, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk, but the first two periods left a lot to be desired. The Devils controlled the pace, won the puck battles and just flat out seemed like the hungrier team. Without some outstanding goaltending from Boucher, this thing could've been over in the first period.
But it wasn't. Boucher kept them in the game, and as unacceptable as it may be to solely rely on your goaltender against a lowly, shorthanded team like the Devils, they were still in it at the second intermission. Maybe it was a stern chat from the coach or maybe it was just a collective "hey, we need to get our heads out of the clouds," but they woke up for the final 20.
I don't know what the possession time was for the Flyers in the third, but it was up there. They completely dominated the Devils in the third period. They had New Jersey on their heels, and the roles in the game looked identical to what the standings would dictate. Not bringing that sort of effort from the start is frustrating.
Danny Briere was able to tap one off the butt of Johan Hedberg on the power play to tie things up and that's all the scoring that would come. Hedberg was brilliant as well, but it's hard to believe that he would've stopped everything that came his way if the Flyers would've played the way they did in the third period throughout the rest of the game.
There are positives to take from this one. The power play finally got on the board. Boucher was fantastic. That Richards line continues to dazzle, as does Zherdev. Ilya Kovalchuk is a big, frustrated joke against the Flyers. He had six giveaways today. The Flyers had four. The third period was just a sheer imposition of will against an inferior team. The last 10 games have treated the orange and black very well.
Immediately after this one, though, and still in the aftermath of yesterday's almost-identical loss, it stings to know that a few extra points were left on the board. After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the day.
Questions with Answers
- First time seeing the Devils this year. Are they really as bad as the talk suggests? The Flyers should have handled them, that's for sure.
- The Flyers have been a great bounce-back team all year. How do they look after yesterday's frustrating loss? Started slow, came on late. Not good enough.
- The line of JVR, Richards and Nodl has been great lately. Can they keep it up? Yes yes yes.
- Also, can JVR keep up his goal-scoring streak? No, but he deserved one.
- The power play is something like 1-for-30 right now. That stops today, right? RIGHT? One for two on the PP today. Meh.
Comment of the Day
Shootouts are the worst. Even when they give us playoff.