The Flyers were due for a let down game after their recent success. It turns out today was that day. In a bout that surely won’t be pretty when documented on 24/7 on HBO, the Bruins crushed the Flyers at home 6-0. There will most likely be some interesting soundbytes when this game is featured.
Tim Thomas was once again a stone wall shutting out the Flyers. Where have we heard that before? The Flyers had an unlucky start with a puck that deflected 3 times before finally hitting Benoit Pouliet’s skate to give Boston a 1-0 lead. From there, the ship sank. Daniel Paille followed to make it 2-0 off a brutal Ilya Bryzgalov rebound. Bryzgalov was pulled later in the game in favor of Sergei Bobrovsky. Zdeno Chara quickly followed on the power play at 8:08 of a first period that saw the Bruins take a commanding 4-0 lead. “I think there were things that happened in the first eight minutes that suggested that maybe we were off,” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette stated.
“We weren’t as sharp as we had been. Whether it be line changes, coverage, assignments. Against a team that was here waiting, eye balling and looking at us, they were sharper in those areas.”
Laviolette refused to make any excuses for the loss when given opportunities to after the game to reporters.
There we no shortage of power play goals for Boston as 3 of the 6 on the day were power play goals. This should come as no surprise as controversial whistle-happy NHL official Stephane Auger was policing today’s action in Philadelphia. There were a total of 26 penalties in this afternoon’s game.
A scary moment came at the end of the first period when center Sean Couturier, who has been filling in for Claude Giroux on the top line with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell, took a puck to the helmet that had just been shot from the point. Couturier went down immediately and wasn’t moving much on the ice when Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin came out on the ice to attend to him. Finally, Couturier did get up and skate off under his own strength, but headed straight back down the tunnel with McCrossin and did not return.
Following the game, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren advised that Couturier was at Pennsylvania Hospital under observation and would not make the team’s road trip which begins following today’s game. The team is currently using the term “head injury,” but it sure looks like it could be another concussion.
“Your heart stops for a second and you feel that pit in your stomach,” Peter Laviolette stated regarding the injury to Couturier. “A young player who’s done all the right things for us this year. We hope that he’s OK and this is nothing too serious.”
This is terrible news for a Flyers team already overflowing with injuries. The center corps is becoming almost as thin as the defensive corps. Do you move Briere up to the top line? Or possibly Matt Read who had played some at center in his hockey career? I’m sure that is something Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff will be looking into pretty soon.
The Flyers failed to capitalize on opportunities to score in many cases. In the first period Jody Shelley convinced Zdeno Chara to fight and Shelley’s veteran move got Chara off the ice for five minutes. They also had a five minute major power play in the second period and failed to capitalize on that as well.
Tim Thomas was a big part of that, snagging 31 pucks while earning the shutout. He was named the first star of the game.
Another moment of controversy occurred when Milan Lucic boarded Zac Rinaldo in the second period. Rinaldo then proceeded to pummel Nathan Horton in a fight right after the hit. Lucic defended himself after the game telling the media, “At the point of contact, there was no numbers.” However, he later stated in regards to possibly hearing from NHL discipline dean Brendan Shanahan that, “If he calls me it’s out of my control. If not, great.”
You be the judge:
Milan Lucic hit on Zac Rinaldo
The Flyers will now be on the road until the Winter Classic, and this is their last home game indoors until January 5th vs. Chicago.
One characteristic of Peter Laviolette teams is that they have the ability to forget quickly and move on to the next game. That’s what the Flyers will now be looking to do as they head west to face the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
Flyers Side Notes:
* Matt Read led all forwards with 20:35 of ice time. This trend may continue with him likely seeing some action in the middle on the road trip.
* This 6-0 loss is the most lopsided shutout loss since January of 2006 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.