Last season it was the shutout that our boys could never succeed. This season it's any solid effort of a comeback.
After last night's pathetic loss to the pathetic Hurricanes, 4 - 2, the Philadelphia Flyers are now 0-6-0 after trailing behind going into the 3rd period.
You read that correctly.
Despite Matt Read extending his goal-scoring streak to five games, Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest of the defensive crew allowed four pucks into our net in 60-minutes of miserable regulation. Minus the injured Jaromir Jagr (groin), Braydon Coburn (upper body) and captain Chris Pronger (virus), our Orange & Black Attack blatantly suffered their absence in Carolina's wake.
That's not an excuse to lose, though. Even with those three game changing stars wearing suits and ties in a press box instead of shoulder pads, gloves and helmets, this team still remained seasoned with leadership and promising professionals. But somehow we managed to drop the ball and tack an 'L' in the loss column for the second game in a row.
"We were flat today,” said Timonen who had 1-assist in 22:07 of ice time. “I think from the start of the game to the end of the game. It’s hard to tell why, but it’s one of those things, it happens even though you don’t want it to happen, it happens."
This may not be the entire reason why, but I partially believe Laviolette's failure to give Bryzgalov a string of starts longer than three games adds to this flavor of squalor and distress.
You may look at his .871 SV% from the contest and think, "This guy's done absolutely nothing to prove he's worth even a fraction of his salary." I look at his performance from last night and...
- Blame a horrific display of defense in our slot, and...
- Question why Bryzgalov hasn't been given a chance to continue a hot streak and establish some momentum between the pipes.
People argue that the reason Ilya did not get the nod in Winnipeg was because our bench boss was protecting him from a hostile Jets crowd who hadn't forgotten Bryzgalov's choice of words when asked about playing in the chilly Canadian city.
I gotta tell ya, if that's true then we can all forget the "Broad Street Bullies" nickname right now.
Ilya's a big boy. If he can't handle an aggressive away attendance who hasn't watched a professional game of hometown hockey in fifteen long years then Peter and Bryz can be Tampax's newest spokespersons.
Do you see this? --
Do you know what that means? That means I don't give a shit what crowd is behind the glass. It means I don't give a shit if they're armed with firy arrows ready to release them down upon us like we're King Leonidas from the movie 300.
We're supposedly paying the best 2011 Free Agent goalie more money than any of us could possibly comprehend to stop a rubber disk the size of a coffee saucer. And so far he hasn't gotten the chance to prove his worth in a considerable line of consecutive starts.
"But we love Bobrovsky! He's our future!"
Take your "In Bob We Trust" tee shirt and your box of Kleenex, and hit the bricks. This is Ilya's show whether we choose to accept it or not.
Don't get me wrong. I'm just as sick, tired and frustrated with his lousy, inconsistent performances as you are. But it's not all about his nonchalant playing style in the paint. Just like any good goaltender, his performance is more often dependent on how well the five guys play in front of him. Goal support, and defensive zone support are one in the same when it comes to primary objectives.
As of late, there's one thing for sure; When there's 2.5-minutes remaining in any period of Flyers hockey, I don't take a single breath.
I dunno what it is about this team this season, but they've allowed more late period goals than Gary Busey's seen a therapist.
Last night the Fly Guys are down 1 - 0 about to head into the first intermission. With 15-seconds left on the clock, our retreating blue line lets the young gunning Jeff Skinner stampede deep into the slot and get off a weak wrist shot which nested behind Bryzgalov's glove-side --
There's no question Skinner's a talented sophomore in the league, but he's also one of the biggest little bitches who dresses in an NHL uniform. So just watching him celebrated boiled the blood in my skull like a witch's cauldron.
Then again in the 18th minute of the 2nd period when it looked like the Flyers could carry the weight of a comeback, it was Alexei Ponikarovsky who potted his second power-play goal of the evening --
A goal that should have NEVER happened.
The blame falls solely on Kimmo Timonen and Andreas Lilja for just standing there watching the puck as Bryzgalov floundered between the pipes and Alexei pokes the puck over the goal line.
Timonen had one horrendous game. He was the defender back-checking Skinner on his late 1st period goal. But Kimmo gets a pass. He has far and away better games than performances like he had last night.
But once again, Andreas Lilja displays his formidable skill as a hockey player.
You want honesty? I'd rather Laviolette convert Shelley to a d-man and give him Lilja's spot rather than see Lilja take to the ice in a Flyers sweater ever again.
And as long as I'm up on my soapbox built from the words of a complaining, whiny douche such as myself, Danny Briere - our alternate captain, who I wouldn't let lead me to a buffet line much less a hockey game - continues to force his personal diehard fans to regurgitate, "Yea but he shows up in the Playoffs!"
This guy couldn't defend a room against a fart, armed with an industrial fan and a spray can of Febreze.
I'm waiting for this guy to prove he deserves the 'A' sewn on to his sweater. As far as I'm concerned, thus far it's stood for Asshole.
One more, one more I promise....
Look, I'm not asking him to twine 20 - 30 goals this season, but he started off hot in many categories other than the goal-scoring department, and since then he's been as invisible as Keith Richards' piss test.
Jay Harrison is a d-man for the Hurricanes who, over the course of three games against Carolina this season, has burrowed under my skin and pissed me off to great lengths. That ugly son of a bitch doesn't shut his mouth. He gives jabs after the play, he yaps at our bench, he's gotten in Wayne's face and Hartnell's face, and no one.....NO ONE has done a damn thing about it.
Rinaldo can't just go around picking fights with everyone (though he seems to think so).
Hartnell's too busy consistently being a productive points scorer on the first line.
This leaves Wayne Simmonds to shut Harrison up. Last night Wayne got in Jay's face three times. Look, if you're going to prove you're a tough guy then dock the bullshit smack talk, drop the mitts and turn Harrison's mouth into a pulsating bag of crushed grapes.
The fight could be beneficial considering we're down two goals and a bunch of chumps are making us look like.....well, a bunch of chumps!
Last night's loss is a perfect example of how the Flyers manage to beat themselves out of a comeback. The chances are there and we've got the talent to capitalize. But it's our own depressing incompetence that anchors our success to the seabed of the loss column.
It's getting old. Fast.
No more excuses.