It was the same general result/effort/performance/collection of problems/cluster-f*ck/etc. as we've seen all season, but the difference with tonight's 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning is the timing.
Ed Snider, Paul Holmgren, Peter Laviolette and the Philadelphia Flyers now have five full days without a game to take stock of the current position in which they sit. They're the third-worst team in the Eastern Conference (or 12th best if you're a glass half-full kind of person, I guess) and they sit well out of playoff position with just 18 games left to play in the regular season. The trade deadline is 16 days away and the Flyers haven't strung together more than two wins in a row all year.
All the statsGame summary | Event summary
Ice time: Flyers | Lightning | H2H
Shots: Differential | Full report
Shift charts | Zone starts | Faceoffs
The Flyers are not a playoff team. They're not necessarily a rebuilding team, but they aren't a contender right now either. They'll almost certainly be sellers at the trade deadline, and it's just a matter of when that selling begins and how big the sale gets.
If Snider, Holmgren and Co. haven't come to this conclusion already, they almost certainly will over the next five days. The 2013 season might as well be over. That ball didn't start rolling tonight, but it did roll over the edge.
A few more notes on the loss:
* The end of the game was truly pathetic. As our Kurt R. mentioned on Twitter...
In seriousness: final 2:30 of a game to try and save your season and you can barely get the puck out of your own end. Basically says it all.— Kurt (@Kurt_BSH) March 19, 2013
* Scott Hartnell was benched for a long stretch of tonight's game after a dumb penalty in the second. He then went on to be the Flyers extra attacker in the final minute, oddly enough.
* Zac Rinaldo was again one of the Flyers' best players. He played a good portion of the game on the top line while Hartnell was in the dog house, and he was noticeable.
* Max Talbot was the Flyers' best player tonight. Scored a goal, was all over the place offensively, played tough minutes against the Steven Stamkos line.
* Defensively, the team was awful in about every possible way tonight. (ha ha ha ur shocked arent u)
* Sean Couturier was bad tonight -- a couple very noticeable errors with the puck that each led to goals against -- but it's still incomprehensible that he's getting such little ice time. A player -- especially a young player with so much potential -- doesn't get out of a slump by sitting on the bench and watching hockey. He gets out of it by playing hockey and learning from his mistakes. Especially when you're in the midst of a lost season.
* It wasn't just Couturier though. The Flyers just generally were bad in their own end. I know I basically said this two bullet points ago, but it's really really true dat double true.
* The most frustrating part of the game -- and really, of this entire shortened season in which every game is more important than in a 48 game season -- is that the Flyers hit like a billion posts and those are pucks that can change a game. Take all of their issues and put them aside and the Flyers still could have pulled out tonight's game. Hockey is beautiful and stupid, but mostly stupid right now.
Questions with Answers
- It's Kimmo Timonen's 1,000th game. Does he do anything special? Kimmo was Kimmo.
- Can Bryz follow up his brilliant performance from Friday? Bryz was fine. Not the issue. Same as it ever was.
- The Flyers have scored two even strength goals in their last 14 periods. Can they get back on track? Two goals at evens tonight! Hooray! Progress! ... not really.
- Stopping Stamkos: The guy has 38 points this year. Can he go a game without getting one? Congrats to Stamkos on his 200th career goal. (tears stream down face)
Comment of the Night
28 points in 18 games. Let's do this.
>> Snevik, because why the hell not