Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 54: LA 3, PHI 2 (SO) - Bar Dizzy
"LET'S GO, 9 straight, you can't beat the Flyers right now!" screamed the entire Philadelphia area.
For about 15 seconds.
Because when the dust settled, it became apparent that for the first time since January 12th, the Philadelphia Flyers lose, shootout style, 3-2 to the somehow red-hot LA Kings, winners of 6 of their last 9 games.
For one, I am shocked that the Flyers lost this game. They did all the same things they had been doing on this winning streak! They were outshot to hell, relied heavily on their goaltender, and pulled some random BS out of their butts in the final minutes to try and lead them to a dramatic victory!
How did this team win 8 straight again?
Despite having two days off, riding a freight train worth of momentum, and facing a Kings team still at the bottom of the standings, the Flyers came out sloppy. Passes weren't connecting, plays weren't developing, and the Flyers gave the puck away at will. This came to the forefront when Andrew MacDonald surrendered the middle of the ice to a streaking Austin Wagner, who beat Anthony Stolarz for the game's first goal, the only one of period number 1.
The Flyers didn't quite come out for the 2nd looking 100%, but got their act together as the frame progressed. Their efforts culminated with a diving centering attempt by Claude Giroux, which was backhanded home by elite 1st-line center Sean Couturier for his 22nd goal of the season, his 7th in the last 10 games, to even the tally. Unfortuantely, the Kings came right back down, with Adrian Kempe finishing off a 2-on-1 less than 6 minutes later, restoring Los Angeles' lead.
Sean Couturier appeared to have knotted the scored with a buzzer-beating power play goal, but it clearly went in after the horn sounded. The Flyers were unable to finish off the power play when the 3rd began, and Los Angeles quickly settled into a tight-checking mindset. The Flyers began to control play, but it appeared they might finally meet a fate that justified how well the played the entire game.
Until with time winding down, and Anthony Stolarz on the bench, Claude Giroux corralled the puck at the right point. And you just know there's always something in him that comes alive when his team needs it. Giroux threw the back down low for...
JAKE DA SNIPING SNAKE, TYING THE GAME WITH 18.2 SECONDS LEFT!
They've just got that can't lose, won't lose feeling in them, man. Once again, down to their last grasp, the Flyers prevailed to even the score in the dying seconds. Voracek, who had hit the post after a gorgeous deke earlier in the frame, was able to finish off his last, best chance to even the tally with the game on the line.
Overtime was a mixed bag. The Flyers had some chances - most notable was TK ringing a 2-on-1 wrister off the bar. The Kings had some chances, highlighted by an incredible diving save by Anthony Stolarz on Kempe, the former of which was spectacular tonight. But neither team scored, and so the game progressed to a shootout, where the Flyers were 2-0 entering tonight.
After Giroux and Kovalchuk traded round 1 tallies, Patrick gave the Flyers the lead with a goal in the top half of round 3. With the game on the line, Adrian Kempe deked around Anthony Stolarz and hit the crossb-camera in the back of the net, after video review. The review seemed to be the first time during this stretch that something has gone against the Flyers, who momentarily thought they had their 9th straight win. Instead, Tyler Toffoli deked out Stolarz in round 6, ending the game for Los Angeles.
While the loss certainly stings, the important thing to remember is this doesn't change the complexion of the Flyers season. Their playoff odds remain long, but they are still one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Losing to a poor team like LA isn't optimal, but they have a golden chance to bounce back against a laboring Ducks team at home on Saturday. The Flyers still need to develop consistency in their game, but the season is not lost because of one fluky shootout decision.
But man, that would've been a great game to win.
The Flyers also made a roster move prior to Thursday's game. Center Jori Lehtera was placed on waivers, cleared, and was subsequently sent down to Lehigh Valley. Another example of Chuck Fletcher cutting Ron Hextall's dead weight.
While the Flyers often do a good job of proving backups worthy of their money, one starter that has always dominated them is Jonathan Quick. In 14 career starts against Philadelphia, he has allowed less than 2 goals in 10 of them.
In a slightly off-topic fact, today marks the 15-year anniversary of my favorite hockey movie of all-time, Miracle. USA, baby.
Travis Konecny was one of the Flyers prime offenders when it came to their sloppy start. The team had 11 first period giveaways, 3 of which were by TK.
Tonight ended a 4-game winning streak for the Flyers when they gave up the 1st goal.
It may not have been even regulation, but it sure counts as a slump buster - Toffoli's shootout winner was the first shootout goal of his career.
Of course, the loss ends the Flyers 8 game win streak, which was tied with runs from the Lightning and Penguins as the second-longest in the league. Only Buffalo (10) have won more games in a row.
After 3 goals in his 11 games, Sean Couturier has that many in just his last 3 games alone. He also has a 5-game point streak.
I was a bit surprised to see Anthony Stolarz in net tonight considering Hart would've been on 2 days rest, but the move worked out. Stollie was great, using his size to his advantage while flashing great lateral movement. He was great, stopping 37 of 39 shots and then 4 of 6 in the shootout. A breakaway save on Wagner with the Kings already up 1-0 in the first was a turning point, keeping the Flyers from falling out of the game before it even began.
1st - J. Quick (LA) - .938 SV% (30 Saves/32 Shots)
2nd - S. Couturier (PHI) - 1 G
3rd - A. Wagner (LA) - 1 G
LA - 2/9 @ BOS (29-17-8)
PHI - 2/9 vs. ANA (21-24-9)