18 December 2009

Following Pittsburgh Massacre, Flyers Earn a Point at Home

Following Tuesday night's crushing defeat, I can't say that many of us were expecting the Philadelphia Flyers to fair much better last night.

And yet, they did.

Instead of the embarrassing six goals scored against them, the Flyers held the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to a manageable two goals, and even managed to strike first.  Scoring 1:15 into the game was Jeff Carter, as his rebound deflected off defenseman Sergei Gonchar and past netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Penguins answered just two and a half minutes later with a power-play goal by Bill Guerin.  A high sticking call against Daniel Carcillo gave the Penguins the man-advantage.

Another set of goals were exchanged in the second period.  Claude Giroux scored on an early power-play advantage created by a tripping call on Evgeni Malkin.  After Carcillo fought for the puck in the corner and threw it on net, Giroux took advantage of a Fleury rebound to give the Flyers their second lead of the game.

Sidney Crosby evened the score at two with another power-play goal halfway into the period off a rifled slap shot from the sideboards.

The third and overtime periods were filled with chances but ended scoreless, eventually leading to a shootout. Pittsburgh won with goals by Kris Letang and Crosby, with Giroux and Danny Briere failing to convert for the Flyers.

Overall, Fleury had 31 saves and Boucher ended up with 28 on the night.

Despite the loss, the Flyers continued to show sparks of life that appeared in Boston on Monday night.  Although they are still having trouble playing a full sixty minutes, last night's game showed that they're getting closer.  It was nice to see more aggressive play in the offensive zone, especially with guys like Carcillo still working hard and chipping in on the scoresheet.

Other Mentionables:
  • In my notes for game one of the home and home with the Penguins, Coburn. Bleh. WTF?! was written fairly large.  In game two, it was nice to see Braydon Coburn do things to benefit the Flyers as opposed to turning over the puck every other shift.  Key blocks from Coburn curtailed several Penguin scoring opportunities.
  • Carcillo picked up another assist last night on Carter's goal in the first, giving him three points in his last four games. Additionally, Carcillo had nearly 16 minutes of ice time last night.  Under Stevens, Carcillo only saw 14 minutes three times.  This increase in scoring and playing time is due to his placement on a line with Mike Richards and Carter.
  • Matt Carle has five assists in his last six games, following a eight game drought.  Claude Giroux has four goals in his last six games, following a five game pointless streak.
  • Scott Hartnell was only called for one penalty last night, even though he easily could have earned more than that.  He has 22 penalty minutes in his last eight games, tallying three points over that stretch. Hartnell amassed six minutes in one game twice during this period. The most he's had in one game this season is eight.
  • As Adam mentioned the other night after the Boston game, the Flyers really needed to buckle down in the faceoff dot.  On Tuesday night, the Flyers lost 37 out of 62 faceoffs, while last night, they won 32 out of 62.  This improvement can be attributed to both home ice advantage, as well as the return of Blair Betts, who had a winning percentage of 57.1%.
  • Brian Boucher has started 12 of the Flyers last 16 games, and played in 13.  He has started seven straight.  This year, Boucher is 4-8-1 with a 2.63 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
  •  With Jonas Backlund back with the Adirondack Phantoms, Michael Leighton is Boucher's backup.  This year, Leighton is 1-4-0 with a 4.29 GAA and a .848 save percentage.
  • In regards to Crosby's embellishment that lead to a power-play last night, Adam said, "For every beautiful pass or goal that he scores, he loses so much respect from fans and other players in the league whenever he makes a play like that."

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