Soon after the Philadelphia Flyers loss on Thursday night in Atlanta to the Thrashers, Coach Peter Laviolette once again stressed the importance of a 60-minute effort during his post game press conference.
The problem on this night was not like other recent games in which the Flyers struggled in the third period, but a worse scenario that had the team struggling and trailing through the first 40 minutes of a critical road match. Laviolette, would also state, that this kind of play from his team is very unacceptable.
The Flyers entered the game hanging on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference by the slimmest of margins, just one point ahead of the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals. ( Caps 3-0 victory over the Devils Friday night tied them with Flyers for top spot in the East).
It could be stated that the game was even more important for the Thrashers, who find themselves still on the outside looking in on the playoffs.
It could also be stated that the game was more important for the Flyers. They were staring at the loss of Chris Pronger for at least the rest of the regular season and maybe into the playoffs, and were also coming off that embarrassing collapse at the hands of the Thrashers back on March 12 at the Wells Fargo Center. That game saw the Flyers waste Ville Leino’s first career hat trick and blow third period leads of 3-0 and 4-2, with the Thrashers tying the game in the final minute and then winning it a minute and change into overtime.
After the loss to Atlanta, Flyers’ Right Winger Danny Briere stated that the team not being able to play a complete 60 minutes was “Scary.”
The play of Briere was scary for the Thrashers on Thursday night as he was involved in all three of the Flyer goals; Briere, netted two goals and added one assist. His second tally tied up the game at 3-3 with only 1:17 left in regulation and Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher on the bench pulled for an extra attacker. That goal helped secure a big point for the Flyers, but heading into overtime with the momentum, the Flyers were looking to earn another point as well as give the Thrashers a taste of their own medicine.
Both goaltenders came up with big stops in the overtime period, but in the shootout the Flyers were not able to beat Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec. The Thrashers put two past Boucher and sent Philadelphia packing with another tough defeat to think about.
The Flyers figure to be an angry, but unsettled bunch as they head into Dallas on Saturday night to play another team hungry for more points, the Dallas Stars.