The Flyers pretty much put up a subpar effort throughout tonight's game, yet somehow ended up with a tie early in the third. Alas, not all games are primed to fit their "comeback kid" ways, and they ended up dropping two points to a team they probably should have beaten.
The Flyers entered tonight's game really needing a win, not necessarily because the points were crucial, but because of the road ahead. In the next seven games, they'll face some of the toughest competition in the NHL (including the dreaded California teams), so picking up two points tonight could have served as a nice insurance policy.
So much for that.
They came out into this game looking absolutely terrible -- they couldn't sustain any pressure in the offensive zone, it took them a hell of a long time to register their first shot on net, and got completely rolled over in possession. Alexander Semin scored about 12 minutes into the period on an absolute laser of a shot, which would prove to be the lone goal of the stanza.
The Flyers were lucky to enter the second down by only one, but thanks to Wayne Simmonds getting a stupid delay of game penalty, they were forced to start shorthanded.
The good news is that they killed off that penalty. The bad news is they never really got their step going at any point in the second.
After over half a period of scoreless play, Nathan Gerbe capitalized on a flub by Luke Schenn at the Carolina blueline. Gerbe took off -- Schenn tried to catch up, LOL -- and scored a beautiful Hertlesque goal on the breakaway. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and take a look.
Luckily, with only about a half minute left in the period, Claude Giroux scored his patented "blind backhand at the goal line" goal to cut Carolina's lead in half. The goal wasn't as pretty as Gerbe's, but was still pretty sweet, especially if you factor in that the Flyers had been playing like absolute crap.
The Flyers came out in the third period looking like a different team, with Scott Hartnell quickly tying the game on the power play. After 40 minutes of Carolina dominating play, it looked like we finally had a stew going.
After that goal, the Hurricanes ratcheted things up a bit, causing Steve Mason to make more than a couple of dazzling saves. Eventually sustained pressure on the part of Carolina paid off, with Jiri Tlusty scoring in close after picking up a juicy rebound.
Unfortunately, that goal would prove to be the game winner, despite a solid empty net effort by the Flyers.
*The Flyers largely got dominated in possession tonight, and never really got solid footing for any stretch of time. In previous games this season, that kind of play didn't really matter, as lucky bounces still put them in the win column. Well, that didn't happen tonight, and probably won't happen much in the future. If they want to be solid playoff contenders, they need to start controlling the play more often.
*Steve Downie played a shift on the third line tonight, and lo and behold, they looked great. A little while later, he played on the first line, causing Michael Raffl to be bumped down to the fourth. I'm not really sure what was going on there, but it seems like Berube is trying to find a spot where Downie fits in best (hint: it's the third line).
*In addition to scoring a contender for goal of the year, Nathan Gerbe just looked really good tonight. I still have memories of him being annoying as hell during the 2011 playoff series versus Buffalo, so that was kind of tough for me to watch.
*Steve Mason was…OK, I guess? He made a couple of good saves, but let in a few that maybe he could have stopped. Nothing notably bad, nothing notably great. Good thing we didn't prematurely pull the trigger and...nevermind.
Next game is tomorrow against Columbus. Go Flyers.