The Flyers preached sustained offensive pressure and responsibility for stick infractions at Friday’s practice, but with three new lines for the second straight game, the Flyers weren’t able to get it going in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues had played on Friday night, but it was the Flyers who came out without their skating legs. Less than two minutes into the game, the Flyers had already iced the puck, bringing the play back to their end. On the ensuing faceoff, in the Flyers’ end, Kent Huskins scored on a shot from the point that appeared to go off the bottom of Ilya Bryzgalov’s glove.
The Flyers, on the other hand, took seven minutes to register their first shot. They finished the first period with only six.
“It’s disappointing,” said Danny Briere. “They did to us exactly what we were supposed to do to them, which is come out strong, put the puck behind them, make their defenesmen work. It looked like we were the team traveling all night. We had no legs skating. Our execution was the worst it’s been all year.”
Their play was sloppy from the get-go. Midway the first period, Andrej Meszaros lost the puck and hooked Carlo Colaiacovo who skated in to the Flyers’ end while the official raised his arm for a delayed penalty. Colaiacovo took a shot, which was saved by Bryzgalov, but the rebound went to T.J. Oshie who buried it for his first goal of the season.
Their play looked even sloppier when Max Talbot, one of their best penalty killers, went off for holding as time was winding down in the first period.
In the second, the Flyers came out with the fire that Peter Laviolette said he wanted to see to begin the game. Only 56 seconds in, Chris Pronger made an outlet pass to Wayne Simmonds who found Danny Briere ahead of him. Briere, who had only one goal on the season, carried into the zone and down the right wing. He sniped a shot over the shoulder of Brian Elliott and in to cut the lead down.
“If we would have played like we did most of that second period during the whole game, we had them hemmed in their end for probably 10 minutes of the 20,” said Pronger. “Didn’t get much out of it, but we controlled the play and worked it. We were skating, but again, we’ve got to do that for 60 minutes to make it tough for teams to play in here and be more physical.”
St. Louis got the goal back when Bryzgalov saved a shot by Alexander Steen on his left side, but the rebound went the wrong way and Colaiacovo found it and pounded it home when Meszaros couldn’t clear the crease.
“I yell it, ‘puck in the feet,’ and somehow puck ended on the far post,” said Bryzgalov. “I didn’t see what happened.”
The third period found more of the same for the Flyers. They struggled to get pressure in close against the St. Louis net. That is, however, until they were on a power play when Roman Polak went off for high sticking. The Flyers got to cycling the puck down low and Matt Carle shot the puck on net. It was originally called no-goal, but a replay showed the puck on its edge behind the goalline.
With Scott Hartnell off for cross checking, the Blues, who have one of the league’s worst power plays, got one of the easiest goals they’ll have all season. Bryzgalov went to play the puck and left it to his left, assuming Braydon Coburn was going to pick it up. Coburn skated away and Matt D’Agostini tipped the puck into the empty net to make it a 4-2 game with 5:40 to go.
“Bad communication, somebody yells ‘I’ll get it’ and they don’t get it,” said Bryzgalov.
“I was ready for a bit and then the closer and closer I got to him, then I thought he was making a different play,” said Coburn. “That’s on me. I’ve always got to be on my toes there.” They never got closer and the Blues skated away with a hard-earned win over a team that didn’t look ready to face them. The Flyers better get their act together fast or this is going to be one long season for all my fellow Flyers fans.