Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Struggle Continues

The good, the bad and the ugly from the Flyers 4-3 loss to the Islanders.


*Danny Briere scores a goal It was Briere's first goal since January 22nd, and he later added an assist. About the goal, he said the following:

"Yes, it is a big relief; I'm not going to lie....There always seem to be stretches in the season where things don't seem to go your way. You question yourself around the net, and this has certainly been one of those cases. It feels good to finally get a bounce going my way. . . ."

Even though Briere had two points on the night, he still didn't have a good all-around game, as he finished with a plus/minus of -2.

*The Hartnell goal In the second period, R.J. Umberger fought through a defender and made a great pass to the middle to set up Scott Hartnell on a great looking one-timer goal.

*Biron's Commentary If you watched the game on Versus, tonight's backup goalie Martin Biron was mic'd, and he had some great comments and analysis throughout the game. He commented on both goalies and their techniques, and spent some time talking about Briere's struggles this season. Biron added a unique perspective to the game that really added a lot to the broadcast.


*The Flyers were 1 for 6 on the power play
The strength of the Flyers all season has been their power play, and they had plenty of chances with little success. Besides Briere's goal, they managed very few solid chances with the man advantage.

*The Flyers managed only 29 shots
They had very few good chances at even strength, too. Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro was completely untested, and could have had a picnic in his own crease. In contrast, the Islanders had 47 shots, and although Antero Niitymaki played well against the barrage, he was lucky to give up only 4 goals.

*Mike Richards fails to convert on a breakaway
Richards had a breakaway chance in the second period while the Flyers were shorthanded. He came in all alone on DiPietro, and missed a golden opportunity.


*It was the Flyers fourth loss in a row
With every loss, the Flyers chances at the number one seed in the Eastern Conference are slowly slipping away. Also, the Rangers are sneaking up behind them in the standings, even though the Flyers have still played three fewer games.

*It was the Islanders first win at home in 2008
The Islanders also snapped a seven game losing streak. The Islanders are much closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference than the top. This is the type of team the Flyers should be beating at this time of year.

*The playing surface
Due to a monster truck event over the weekend, the Islanders had to replace their home ice. It made for a sloppy game on the bad ice. Crisp, cross-ice passes were rare in the game, and there were a lot of stops and starts.

The Flyers will look to bounce back against the Lightning at home on Thursday. This is another winnable game that looks like a must-win situation. I hate to say it, but the Flyers need to start playing with the energy and urgency that the Sixers have been showing us. Things are still backwards for the two teams.

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