Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 14: PHI 3, SJ 4 (OT) - California Screaming
So close to replacing that Sc with a D, but yet so far.
The Philadelphia lose, 4-3, in OT at least, to the San Jose Sharks, coming up just short of completing the sweep of the California road trip. A stinger in terms of how it happened, but at least the Flyers got a point out of it.
The first 2 games of this road trip were easy ones. Granted, the Flyers have often struggled in those times of games, but they were expected to beat both Anaheim and LA in my eyes. They did, and even got the latter's coached canned in the process. But now the going gets tough. San Jose's lineup is oozing with talent, especially on the backend, and Arizona (who they face Monday, and then again in Philly Thursday) has won 5 straight and tripled their goals per game in that span.
But just like the first 2 games, the Flyers plan to get going early actually worked. Just 37 SECONDS in, the Flyers executed a picture perfect passing play that saw TK feeding that rosy cheeked sniper Nolan Patrick for a beautiful goal, his 4th of the year, and the earliest 1st goal in any Flyers game this year, and giving an early lead to his goalie... Cal Pickard?
Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect Elliott to start every game, but why is Pickard playing? There's gotta be a reason, let me look at the Flyers transactions-
So Michal Neuvirth is hurt again, that's fun! Apparently the Flyers didn't take enough precaution, because Neuvy was sent home to Philly to meet with a doctor. Seriously, wrap that man in bubble wrap, it's the only way he's going to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, getting back to the game for a moment, scoring the first goal does not always mean a good start, and the Flyers learned that the hard way. Timo Meier scored on a cross crease just a few minutes later and the Flyers were dominated for most of the remainder of the stanza, being outshot 16-9.
So what was the score after 1? Great question. Because with just over 3 minutes to go, the Flyers 3rd line, which has been surprisingly effective, went to work. Wayne Simmonds retrieved a puck, Jordan Weal shot a puck, and Dale Weise made sure Martin Jones couldn't see a puck fly past him into the back of the net. 2nd of the year for the Weal Deal Jordan Weal, giving the Flyers an improbable 2-1 lead after 1. Amazing what you can do when you're not sitting in the penalty box.
The Flyers calmed things down in the 2nd, evening the shots to a slimmer 10-9 margin. But as always, leave it to the PK to kill any momentum the team might have. After several failed clears, Kevin Labanc got into a position where it looked like for certain he was going to wire one. Which means that every Flyer should disregard their current defensive assignment and attacked Labanc. Which leads to this:
Yep that's a goal.
Little Joe with a pretty big goal for the Sharks, tying this game 2-2.
Man it'd be nice if the Flyers could get a power play goal. Unfortunately, the Flyers PP has been sputtering all season. But that doesn't mean you can't score off a penalty.
On a delayed call taken out of desperation to stop a partial Ivan Provorov breakaway, Oskar Lindblom made ANOTHER perfect behind the goal line pass, this time to Jake the Snake Voracek, who sniped it over Martin Jones's head and restored the Flyers lead just 30 seconds before 2nd intermission.
And that brings us to another frusturating Flyers 3rd period.
For once, it felt like the Flyers didn't totally turtle. San Jose probably had the better of play overall but the shots by the end were only 8-7 (again in favor of the Sharks). It felt like maybe, just maybe, the Flyers would hold on and complete the rare California sweep. They have the lead with 5 minutes left in regulat- snipe.
This time it's Jumbo Joe, taking advantage of a passive Radko Gudas and a lazy Wayne Simmonds and burning Cal Pickard with a beautiful shot under the bar. And of course since he's playing the Flyers, you already know it's Joe's 1st of the season. Glad we could give you some memories on your retirement tour.
From there, it felt like the Flyers kinda fell apart. The Sharks were dangerously close to winning this thing in regulation, but then we went to overtime. Oh, overtime.
I'd love to give this goal a nice build up but it happened so suddenly. A miscommunication by Ghost and Voracek gave the Sharks a golden chance, and Meier buried his 2nd one-timer, and impressively his 11th goal of the season, giving the Sharks the (OT)W.
The Flyers can still take a lot of positives out of the California road trip, though. They remembered how to do things like start games on time (maybe it's the time zone differential) and defend a 1-goal lead (kinda, depends on which game you look at). Special teams still needs work on both ends, but the Flyers are trending in the right direction for the first time since the season opener.
Well, it looks like Brian Elliott will be back in goal-nope nevermind. Apparently he got trucked by TK in practice Sunday and immediately grabbed for his head, leaving practice on his own power. He is out of the lineup Monday and will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Philly. At this point, keep Carter Hart far away from Philly and whatever witch curse has been put on the Flyers goalies.
To make up for Elliott's abscene, Alex Lyon has been recalled from the Phantoms. Neuvirth was also placed on IR, but it doesn't look too serious for him.
It pains me to say this, but Dale Weise (and the 3rd line with Weal and Simmonds as a whole) has looked pretty good this season. He's going to net, laying the body, winning puck battles, all the things Ron Hextall gave up $2.35 million to do. Except score goals of course. But keep this play up and those will eventually come.
This was just the 4th time the Flyers have gone undefeated in regulation in the California road trip, and the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Even though it seems like the PK might be getting a little bit better, they have now given up a goal in 7 straight games. Which will end the streak - a game where the PK is perfect, or one where the Flyers simply don't take any penalties?
Erik Karlsson still does not look like he's gotten going yet with the Sharks. He looked lost with the puck on a few occasions and maybe some uncharacteristic stupid turnovers. I'm sure he'll get going, but so far San Jose's defense isn't the juggernaut we all predicted.
You know who does seem back? Ivan Provorov. He's looking better and better with the puck and activating on the rush. It didn't get him a goal tonight, but it did draw the penalty prior to Voracek's goal, which Provorov got an assist on.
After being held scoreless in his 1st four games, Nolan Patrick now has 7 points in his last 7 contests since returning from injury.
Overall, Cal Pickard looked solid to me between the pipes in this one. A little shaky rebound control early, and maybe he could've stopped the Thornton goal (which was a perfect shot), but overall, pretty good. He deserved better than the .886 save% he was credited with.
1st - T. Meier (SJ) - 2 G
2nd - K. Labanc (SJ) - 2 A
3rd - J. Thornton (SJ) - 1 G
PHI - 11/5 @ ARI (7-5-0)
SJ - 11/6 vs. MIN (8-3-2)