Today's game played out a lot like some of the other ones we've seen this year. The Flyers were outshot 44-18 in a Saturday afternoon game. They got a goal from their top line, still fell behind early, spent most of the game chasing the play, and relied on their power play and some excellent goaltending by Steve Mason to pull them to a 2-2 tie through regulation, before ultimately capitulating in a five-round shootout.
It's a script we've seen more than a handful of times this year. You've seen it before, so no need to go through the gameflow. It was the Flyers' 25th overtime game of the season, which is a franchise record. (Of course it is. This season. Man, how many times this year has a Flyers game reached the end of regulation and just seen you wanting to watch MORE of it?)
There was some cool stuff, though! With pre-game news that Mark Streit and Carlo Colaiacovo would miss this game with flu-like symptoms, and with Andrew MacDonald already out for the remainder of the season, the Flyers were left with no choice but to recall Brandon Manning, Mark Alt and Oliver Lauridsen. At this point in the season, wins or losses aside, anything to try and freshen things up is welcomed.
Alas, it was not to be. The Flyers now sit two points away -- meaning, either two points that they miss out on or two points that the Boston Bruins pick up -- from being officially eliminated from the playoffs. So that's pretty much that.
STUFF THAT HAPPENED:
* It was a pretty limited game for most of the young guys (Jason Akeson was recalled but scratched, Alt played just 9:25 in his NHL debut; Lauridsen, who took a 10-minute misconduct in the third, played 10:55 with a tiny bit of penalty-kill time). But I liked Alt's game and thought Lauridsen did a pretty good job for himself too. Both got beat a couple times, but neither of them seemed too out of place at any point. They were actually the team's two best even-strength possession players on the day, which says more about how everyone else played but is still a good sign, and they were key parts of one really nice shift in the first period where the Flyers hemmed the Sharks in for almost a minute. Who knows how long Streit and Colaiacovo will be out for -- it seems likely they'll be healthy on Wednesday -- but with the Flyers about to be formally eliminated from the playoffs, you wonder if guys like Alt and Lauridsen will get some more chances moving forward.
* That said, between the overtime game and the desire to limit the new kids' ice time, there were some amusing ice time figures today. Michael Del Zotto played 29:44, Manning had 25:07, and Nicklas Grossmann has 24:05. Surely, this is what we were all expecting the box score to look like for a game at the end of March back when the season started. (Serious note: great to see Manning getting big minutes. Use these last two weeks to see what he can do.)
* The Flyers' first goal came after Michael Raffl appeared to knock in a Grossmann point shot which changed direction at least twice in front of the net before shuffling over to Raffl at the left post. But did Raffl touch it? It looked more like Raffl only touched goalie Alex Stalock's loose stick, and that stick was the one that propelled the puck into the net. Which would give the goal to Nicklas Grossmann. It's unclear if the scoring will actually be changed, but if it is, then that would be Grossmann's sixth goal of the season. Which would be more than he had in every season of his career combined. Nicklas Grossmann, unstoppable offensive powerhouse? You know.
* If the goal stands for Raffl, though, it's his first 20-goal season in the NHL, so that's neat.
* NHL Scoring Leader Jakub Voracek Update: Jakub Voracek is not the NHL scoring leader. He was for a brief stretch of time during the third period! Thanks to his assists on both Flyers goals. But then Sidney Crosby decided to be a jerk and tally three points in the third period of the Penguins' game against Arizona. So as of this writing he sits two points behind Crosby for the NHL scoring lead. So that's something fun to look out for in the Flyers' two games with Pittsburgh next week.
* With Claude Giroux's goal today, he has goals in four straight games for the first time in his career, so that's neat.
* Towards the end of the first period, Joe Pavelski put a shot on Steve Mason that trickled through him just after the ref blew the whistle. It was initially ruled as a play whistled dead, but after the refs reviewed it, the call on the ice was changed and the Sharks had their second goal of the game. I, personally, had never seen a call overturned from a no-goal to a goal on the ice despite the whistle clearly blowing before the puck crossed the line, but the refs deemed it a goal because it was a "continuous play", one which was not affected by the whistle itself. Learn something new every day.
* After a past few days full of drama between he and his coach, Vincent Lecavalier played for the first time in four games. He played 15:05, mostly on the fourth line with Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, as he often is. He had a couple of shifts where he sprung the offense in the right direction, but also missed out on some others and as a whole wasn't too noteworthy. For all the (reasonable) talk of how he's been mishandled by Berube, it's worth remembering that Vinny hasn't exactly been outstanding when he has had his chances. He should get some time for the rest of the season, though.
* Sans-Wayne Simmonds, Ryan White ended up on the top power play in the netfront role that Simmonds has manned so masterfully for the previous four years. He certainly didn't look out of place, and had a nice screen on Stalock on Giroux's game-tying goal. But he also whiffed on a w i i i i d e open chance in the third period, the kind that you have to think Simmonds would've scored on. So a mixed effort -- which, for a bottom-six forward playing for the first time in an important spot on the team's top power play unit, isn't too bad. Still missin u Wayne.
* Seriously. Stop with the overtime losses. They do nothing for me.
* Last note of the recap has literally nothing at all to do with the game, but I learned today via Twitter that Zac Rinaldo used to have a food blog. He says that he didn't, but I don't believe him. Do you guys think Zac Rinaldo should bring back his food blog? I sure do.
Six (6) (VI) more games of this season. Two more weeks. But the Penguins are up next so that'll be fun! I think! Wednesday night see you there. Go Flyers.