The Flyers begin an 8-game road trip following their loss against the Panthers. They haven’t done well on the road this season with one of the worst road records in the league (3-9-3), which made this last home game, until January 6th, extremely important.
After sitting out 6 games, Craig Berube decided to put Vincent Lecavalier back into the lineup, swapping him out with Chris VandeVelde in a 4th line role. Berube had said that Lecavalier “looked hungry”. Michael Del Zotto was a healthy scratch again.
In true Flyers fashion, the first ten minutes the Flyers played flat and the Panthers took advantage of their lack of energy. The Panthers thought they had the first goal early on in the 1st when Sean Bergenheim tipped in a high shot. The goal was immediately waived off and went to review where it was ruled no goal.
The Panthers first actual goal started with Tomas Kopecky beating Braydon Coburn into the zone and throwing the puck towards the net. Mason made the first save off his blocker, but it bounced right off of Scottie Upshall and into the net off the post. A lot went wrong on the first goal, but there was still a bit of luck to it. Coburn had gotten beat at the blue line, Schultz lost his positioning in front of Upshall, and Mason should’ve tried to get the puck to deflect into the opposite corner. The only real positive from the 1st period was the 60% faceoff wins in favor of the Flyers.
The 2nd period was a completely different story than the first. The Flyers came out with the jump they needed to and cashed in about four minutes into the period, when Bellemare outplayed Brian Campbell along the boards and beautifully set up Voracek, who was wide open in the slot, for a pretty goal. It was Voracek’s 12th of the season and it tied him with Tyler Seguin for most points in the league (38). The Panthers lack of zone coverage allowed the Flyers to move through and Voracek to set up for the goal. Huberdeau lost his coverage area which is what lead to Voracek being in alone. Giroux won 9 of 11 faceoffs throughout 40 minutes of play.
When the 3rd period started you could feel that extra time would be needed. It was a battle of goaltending and defense all night where any mistake, even minor, ended up as a huge scoring chance since this was such a tightly defensive game. The reffing was absurd in the 3rd period, letting blatant high-sticking, and interference calls go. Most notable was a missed interference call on Ekblad getting his stick high on Voracek.
With 30 seconds remaining, Simmonds missed Giroux with a pass that lead to an icing, but they kept it tied and forced overtime.
At this point in the season, Flyers fans expect that “overtime” means a definite shoot out loss, the way this season has been, overtime basically guarantees a loss, but hey at least we get the pity point! The Panthers just came off of winning in an NHL record for longest shootout (22 Minutes, 20 Rounds), and the Flyers have lost 9 straight shootouts (now 10). One of the better chances of the overtime came with about 90 seconds left when Voracek found Streit cutting in the zone with speed and he had a great opportunity, and took a great shot, but Luongo got just enough of it with his glove. Of course the Flyers got the most chances in OT yet couldn’t finish on any of them and wound up going to the shoot out. Voracek got the lone goal in the shootout for the Flyers, as Roberto Luongo stood tall and gave the Flyers their 10th straight shootout loss.
After sitting through another loss, what do you all think about this team? Does anyone still have any hope that we can make the playoffs? At what point are the Flyers officially done, when is the make or break point? Do you think the team problems are more with the talent or the utilization of that talent?