(Photo: Kate Frese)
By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
This was a very different game than the one played between the Flyers and Florida Panthers a month ago. No extra time was needed this time around, as the Flyers saw their recent stretch of winning and gaining points come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Florida.
For the Flyers, it's a game that should serve as a lesson. They did not play well in the second period, certainly not well enough to put any pressure on the opposing goalie through 40 minutes. The 20-minute push in the third was great, but it was too little, too late on this night.
Let's break it down in our Postgame Review.
From there, it was on for the Panthers. They played a very strong second period. A power play allowed them to open the scoring. They got another goal off a transitional rush from their own zone, one that Brian Elliott probably should have stopped.
For 40 minutes, it was a very sleepy performance by the Flyers, coming off of arguably their best game of the season. And just like that, a switch was flipped.
The Flyers were absolutely relentless at the start of the third period. Jake Voracek scored the tying goal at 3:55. Seconds later, he had a breakaway off the face-off. That shift ended with another chance from the slot. Oskar Lindblom hit the post moments later. Wayne Simmonds had a puck hop on him at the side of the net. The Flyers were jamming away in the final seconds looking for the tying goal.
The chances were there and the execution was for the most part too. But that can't be a 20-minute thing. It has to be continuous and spread throughout the game. The fact that Roberto Luongo was seldom tested in the first 40 minutes was a problem. The Flyers had done a better job of starting strong. Starting off strong isn't always going to mean scoring first. But you want to see more consistent pressure, and aside from the first half of the final period and the closing seconds, it just wasn't there.
There were plenty of shots to test the Flyers netminder. The second period opened with a great chance for Mike Hoffman. He stopped that. He stopped Aleksander Barkov on a short breakaway chance right before Voracek's goal. He came out of his net aggressively to take away a breakaway chance for Frank Vatrano. Elliott really did everything to keep the margin at two.
Take away the result of this one, because Elliott was the reason the Flyers had a chance to tie down the stretch. He's likely to get another start again on Thursday.
Laughton's been a strong player for the Flyers for most of the season really. There were a few games where he wasn't as present as others, but in the last three specifically, he's been terrific.
It didn't go unnoticed either. Laughton was moved up to the third line in the third period, with Jordan Weal dropping to the fourth line. With the return of James van Riemsdyk looming and possible as soon as Thursday, that's an interesting development.
Voracek was present throughout the final period, as were linemates Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom. Lindblom's passing ability is tremendous. Patrick made a sick pass to set up Lindblom's chance that caught iron.
What's been most impressive about this trio has been the forechecking of the duo of Patrick and Lindblom. When the puck is in the corners or behind the net, these two go to work and have more times than not found a way to force it free. It's great to see these two young players putting in such work in the dirty areas to win puck battles and eventually create chances.
The Flyers have been in this spot before and let it snowball. Yes, this is a frustrating way to lose a game and see a stretch of solid play come to an end. But the response is not only crucial for the standings, but everyone around the team.
The road trip saved jobs. Change was coming if the Flyers didn't change the level of play or the results. As both changed, the Flyers started having fun again and the wins and points started flowing as a result. The bigger response now is to return to the win column in the next game, to put this game behind you quickly and to play the way you now know you are capable as a result of the winning streak.
"The intensity, I don’t think was up to what I think we need to be. I thought we brought it in the third period, but it’s a little late. We hit some posts. We had our chances to tie it up. It’s just unfortunate and frustrating that we didn’t go into extra innings there." – Flyers goalie Brian Elliott
"I feel like when we had that power play we couldn’t get anything going. They put some good pressure on us. They play a different game than other teams we’ve been playing but that’s not an excuse, we gotta be ready to battle 60 minutes not just 20." – Flyers forward Claude Giroux
By the Numbers
The Flyers had 33 shot attempts in the third period to just seven for Florida, an 82.5 CF%. That included five high-danger scoring chances compared to just one for Florida. The first two periods were much more evenly played though, with shot attempts being tied, 34-34, and high-danger scoring chances favoring Florida, 4-3. The majority of the shots in the first two periods from the Flyers were from the perimeter. It wasn't until the third that the Flyers started to get around the net and generate chances near Luongo.
Stat of the Game
This was the longest Nicolas Aube-Kubel has played since joining the team, seeing the ice for 6:41. He nearly banked in a shot attempt for his first NHL goal in the first and had three hits in the game.