NHL

No Fire Power Flyers

Brian BoucherOn Sunday night the Philadelphia Flyers squared off against the Atlanta Thrashers. After taking a beating in Atlanta the night before, the Flyers knew they needed to come firing the puck. Before the game Flyer’s Coach Peter Laviolette addressed this by changing his lines. He benched Ville Leino and Lukas Krajicek. Arron Asham was brought back in along with Oskars Bartulis for the first time in 12 games.2:04 into game, Brian Boucher let in an early goal in the first period on only the second shot of the night.

This is something that Boucher has been doing countless times in the last few weeks no matter his role, either starting or taking the place of another goalie late in the game. The Thrashers had to have a sense for it coming out firing early as they did. The Flyers kept the pressure on and kept the guns blazing. Through the next nine minutes, the Flyers would have countless scoring chances on Thrashers Goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

Flyers’ Dan Carcillo had two or three beautiful chances and couldn’t get the puck in. Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, and Mike Richards had multiple chances as well. Scott Hartnell had a minimal impact for the most part of the game. At the 11:01 mark Todd White put Atlanta up 2-0 in the first period. This was a goal that Brian Boucher should have made, but didn’t. I have no other explanation for the miss saved. The Flyers would have multiple power plays and continued sloppy play in the offensive zone with no results.

Going into the 2nd period, The Flyers continued the pressure. There weren’ttoo many outstanding scoring chances, but the Flyers kept bringing it to the Thrashers. At the end of the 2nd period the Flyers outshot Atlanta 35-21. Four minutes into the 3rd period Scott Hartnell and Jim Slater fought. Hartnell took this decision I felt, but he did start the fight off arguably dirty. As Slater was still dropping his gloves Hartnell opened up on him. After the fight, Slater was extremely upset and almost got himself into more trouble by exchanging words with Hartnell in the box and almost going over the Time Keeper’s table. At that point, the referees came over and had to get Slater to calm down. At the 11:56 mark Matt Carle fed Mike Richards the puck from the rear corner of the net and got the Flyers on the board with a very nice goal to make it 2-1.

At this point in the game, there was eight minutes left and you could feel the crowd getting back into the game, and possibly see the momentum falling back into the Flyers lap. We would be disappointed yet again. Five minutes later at the 16:53 mark Rich Peverley scored on a goal that Brian Boucher yet again should have saved. This put up Atlanta 3-1 and the crowd headed for the parking lot after the goal. The Flyers outshot the Thrashers 45-31. 45 shots is an amazing number to me. Especially only putting up one goal which left me dumbfounded.

If the Flyers which to make it deep in the Playoffs two things need to happen. Brian Boucher doesn’t have to be stellar, but he has to make these unscreened wrist shots that most AHL level Goalies would make. The 2nd thing the Flyers must do is put those shots in the net. Forty-five shots is outstanding amount of rubber to get on the goalie. There were more shots that didn’t make it due to being blocked or deflected. This game should have been a blow up by the Flyers if they had scored at least 4 of the outstanding battles they had in the front of the net that they were either out worked on, or shots that Pavelec made terrific saves on. Prior to this year, the Thrashers had never won in the Wachovia Center ever. Flyers were 15-0-1 against Atlanta in the 4 seasons. Now they are 15-4-1. All of the star players for the Flyers are starting to show up other than Scott Hartnell. Is the answer to put Hartnell on the bench, or possibly drop him to the fourth line and limit his play? Other than fighting in the last week, Hartnell has been hardly effective. There are a lot of questions for this team, but when will we get all the answers?

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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