Lightning Crashes Flyers’ Hopes, Win 4-2 Over The Ailing O&B >
 
 

by Nick Arnold

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 --

Let me begin by saying I am attempting to type this with a freshly broken finger, meaning two things: It’s going to be a mess that takes me forever to write, and I’m going to be angry throughout. This game was it. This was do-or-die time. After beating the Devils in a shootout and instilling a miniscule amount of hope back into its fanbase, this club failed to capitalize on any possible momentum gained from the division win.

Truthfully, the Flyers played well for big spurts of this game. They were generally solid defensively for the most part, and put a lot of pressure on the Lightning offensively. Bryzgalov put forth a solid effort, saving the team a few times and keeping them in the game. There’s also the fact that the Lightning had Lady Luck on their side as the Flyers hit the post a whopping three times throughout the tilt.

But now I’m done talking about the positives. I’m pissed off. You’re pissed off. Let’s dive in.


Period 1


The Tampa Bay organization and fans congratulated Timonen on his 1000th NHL game at the first stoppage of play. Classy move by the Lightning for a great player in Timonen, who has been a favorite everyone he’s been in his NHL career. Play in the 1st period was pretty back and forth. Good pressure on both ends of the ice by the Flyers who surprised me by actually WINNING a lot of battles along the boards. Bryz stopped a handful of early chances but was beat when Palat took a good pass through the Flyers defense a deposited it in the back of the net for his 2nd NHL goal. 1-0 Lightning.

The Flyers didn’t react well to the goal as the next two shifts were spent scrambling in their defensive zone as the Lightning crashed in everywhere. Finally we got some relief as Tampa took a delay of game penalty to give us our first powerplay of the game. Unfortunately the boys weren’t able to capitalize on the man advantage and came away without a goal. 

Leave it to good ol’ Max “Datsyuk” Talbot to deke and dangle his way through the Tampa Bay players and thrust the puck into the net to tie the game at 1 and shut the home crowd up. Well, half the crowd, seeing as the other half were Flyers fans.

Coburn, who receives a verbal beatdown from me pretty much every game now, continues his streak of terrible penalties as he leads the entire league in minors this season. The boys in orange responded with a good PK, but a defensive breakdown immediately afterwards leads to a tip-in goal by Pyatt to regain the lead. 

2-1, bad guys.

Briere still sucks. Disagree with me all you want. The bum continues to lose battles along the boards and make lazy passes to no one/opposing players. He moves with the speed and skill of a mentally challenged box turtle. I couldn’t care less how good he was in the past, or if he shines in the playoffs. 6.5 million cap hit is not worth his efforts. It’s a disgrace.

Tampa takes a late hooking penalty, giving the Flyers the chance to pass. And pass they did. Pass, pass, pass, clear. Pass, pass, clear. With five seconds left in the period and the puck cleared to the Flyers’ zone, Bryzgalov whipped the puck back up the ice for a last second chance that was thwarted by none other than the post of the Tampa net to end the period. 2-1 at the end of the first.

O&BP Fan Quote of the Period: “Bryz was just like "Get that shit outta my zone, it’s not intermission yet. PLAY PUCK.” – Alyson


Period 2

Starting the period still on the powerplay, our boys continued to generate some offense, but nothing good enough to beat Lindback. Shortly after the PP, the Flyers go back on the penalty kill as Scott Hartnell continues to be unimpressive this season by taking one of the dumbest penalties I’ve seen him take in a long time. During a small altercation between Hartnell and Conacher, the official tried separating the two but no penalties were initially called. That is until Hartsy decided to be cute and take an extra swing or two at Conacher, resulting in a roughing call. Is it still cute when Hartnell falls and turns the puck over and gives the opposing team a free power play?

Talbot continued to be our best player of the night by outworking his opponents and even getting a shorthanded chance on the penalty kill. He needs to keep up this streak and others need to follow in his footsteps. On the other end of the ice, Bryzgalov gave his skaters a fighting chance in this game by robbing a few goals throughout the night. The Flyers successfully kill off another bad penalty and the game moves on.

Briere continues to frustrate everyone as he is basically invisible unless he is making a lazy play that leads to a turnover. Just as frustrating was Meszaros’ play, which may have been the worst display from him in his career as a Flyer. After killing off another penalty – this one for too many men on the ice – Meszaros took the puck from behind his goal and blatantly turned it over to a sprinting Malone who was stopped with a spectacular point blank save by Bryzgalov. Meszaros looked sluggish and out of position for most of the game, and should be embarrassed by the effort he put out.

Following the Hartnell antics from earlier, Rinaldo was promoted to his spot on the first line with Giroux and Voracek, and it immediately paid off as Zac continues to impress the hell out of everyone. On one of his first shifts on the top line he drew a penalty giving the Flyers a much-needed power play. His reward? To sit back on the bench while Hartnell goes back out for the man-advantage. This alone infuriated me after watching how Rinaldo was playing in comparison to Scotty. It only frustrated me more when Hartnell started off the PP by falling, losing possession of the puck and watching Tampa clear the puck out of the zone.

Finally distracting me from my burning rage was Giroux. Skating up 3-on-2 into the Lightning end of the ice, Captain Claude tried a pass but it was broken up by Conacher. However, an errant clearing attempt pushed the puck right back, leaving it for Giroux to take it again and wrist it past Lindback to tie the game once again.

The period ended with more scrambling for the Flyers and more stops by Bryzgalov to keep the game tied and instill a little bit of hope going into the third period that maybe the Flyers still have what it takes to win despite huge mistakes from key players and only winning 4 faceoffs in the 2nd tilt.

O&BP Fan Quote of the Period: “Briere's season has been as impressive as Andrew Bynum's.” – Kara


Period 3


The final stanza began with some very aggressive forechecking from Tampa, but our boys were up to the task of shutting them down. On the other end of the ice, some good pressure of our own almost leads to a goal if not for that pesky Matt Carle and his damn skate. Giroux takes the puck on his stick and wrists one at a nearly empty net, but it deflects off of Carle’s skate and out of play. Oh, and another chance ends with Read hitting the friggen post again. That makes three shots that could have been goals but instead rang off the iron. If that doesn’t frustrate you as much as it did for me…

The remainder of the game was just bad. Too many slip-ups from the same individuals led to too many chances for the Lightning and not enough offense for the Flyers. Meszaros continued his lackadaisical play as Tampa killed off a penalty and then immediately deflect one past Bryz for the 3-2 lead.

Talbot was one of the only bright spots for the remainder of the game as he continued to win battles along the boards and set up offensive plays while clearing his own zone. As time wound down the Flyers couldn’t out-work the Lightning to clear the puck and pull Bryzgalov for the 6th attacker, and when Meszaros did get his chances to move the biscuit up the ice, he flubbed and turned it over, keeping Bryz in net and the puck deep in our zone for a full minute before finally getting to move up and pull him. This only led to confusion in the offensive zone as Timonen somehow lost the puck in his skates for about 3 or 4 seconds, giving Tampa the chance to clear.

Finally Stamkos iced the win with an empty netter, which also happened to be his 200th NHL goal. Congrats to Stamkos on his 200th goal. Congrats to Tampa on the win. Congrats to Briere for continuing to show us his worth. Congrats to Coburn for continuing to make boneheaded plays. Congrats to #hartnelldown for returning to your pre 2011-12 season form. Congrats to Meszaros for playing like a drunken homeless man. Congrats to this team for time and time again squandering the chance to come back and make a legitimate case that they can be a playoff team this season.

If I’m coming off as sarcastic or cynical or just plain pissy, I don’t apologize. This team has taken every chance it’s had to prove to us that they are contenders, but in the end it seems they’ve written this season off even before their fans have. Oh, and much like my finger, the Flyers winning streak when I write the game review is now broken.

O&BP Fan Quote of the Period/Game: “…THE FUCK WAS THAT?” – Johanna


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