The Flyers lost their second straight on Monday night, as the visiting Hurricanes got a little pay back after two earlier losses this season of 5-1 and 5-3. The Flyers couldn’t muster their attack, and were frequently beaten to pucks, as they lost 4-2 with a few of their stars out, due to injury.
It could have been their penalty kill being overly taxed recently, or the fact that they were without star blueliners Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn, as well as 39-year-old Jaromir Jagr.
When asked about the bad penalties, Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette, said, “I’ve said we’ve taken too many penalties for weeks.”
In the last six games, the team has been shorthanded 34 times, including the game against the Jets, where they had eight penalties. Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen agreed that the penalty kill had been over-used lately. And against the Hurricanes, in four times shorthanded, the Flyers gave up two power play goals.
The Flyers didn’t want to make excuses regarding the losses of Pronger and Coburn, but those are key players, who see a lot of ice-time, usually upwards of 22-minutes. And they are both used on the penalty kill.
The penalty kill wasn’t the only thing that suffered, as the team in general looked sluggish, and didn’t perform as a top ranked NHL team normally would.
When asked about the team’s play against the Canes, Laviolette said, “I think they buried us, yeah. We were second everywhere, and when we did get there we weren’t strong enough in battles.”
Those are strong words concerning a team that had 32 shots on goal on the night, and only had 4 giveaways to the Canes 9.
The veteran Timonen echoed the coaches words, however, as he said: “He’s right. We were flat today. I think from the start of the game to the end of the game.”
All wasn’t bad, as young winger James van Riemsdyk finished with a goal, an assist and was plus-1 on the night. He looked tough on the puck, and his unassisted goal was all about effort, as he muscled the puck from behind the net and scored on his own rebound.
Many believed the 22-year-old would have a breakout year this season, after 2011’s exciting playoff run, where he scored seven goals in 11 games, and was the team’s brightest star. So far this season, he has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 19 games.
Many believe he hasn’t yet lived up to being the second overall draft pick in 2007, but games like this should change people’s minds.
Laviolette said, “JVR got going there. [He] played a real strong game.”
He had four shots on goal to lead the Flyers in that department for the night.
The Flyers don’t have much time to recover from the loss, as they get right back to it on Wednesday against the struggling Islanders, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Hopefully the injuries have time to heal, and a few players will be able to get back into the lineup. Losing their captain Pronger is a big issue for both his strong play, and locker room voice.