CHICAGO – When the Flyers lost an ugly game to Dallas last week, Kimmo Timonen said “If you give up four goals in the second period you are going to lose.”
Pretty sure he has the same sentiment about allowing five goals in the second period.
For that’s what happened Wednesday at the United Center. After an excellent opening period, the Flyers were ambushed by the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in the middle frame, giving up five goals – and two in 29 seconds in the opening minutes of the stanza - en route to a 7-2 loss that ended the longest road trip of the season with a thud.
“They have a lot of players who can skate and make plays,” Scott Hartnell said about the Blackhawks. “At times it looked like they were playing against kids out there.”
Not early in the game, when it was the Flyers dictating tempo and style of play, out-shooting (10-6), out-hitting (15-5) and out-scoring (1-0) the Blackhawks.
Continuing to click, especially on the road, the Flyers power play got the first goal of the game when Jake Voracek scored for the second straight game to make it 1-0 after one period.
But it deteriorated from there.
Duncan Keith scored through a screen on the power play in the opening minute and 29 seconds later, Andrew Shaw buried a wraparound to make it 2-1.
“We go into the second with the lead and it was one of those funny ones, you know,” said Ray Emery, who got the start against his former team and was lit up for six of the seven Chicago goals. “I got to make a save [on the second goal] and pucks started bouncing around a bit, but you can’t make excuses. We have to play better in the second.”
The Flyers had a chance to tie it, with their power play rolling and the Chicago penalty kill scuffling, but Voracek
|Former Flyer Michal Handzus slips a shorthanded goal past Ray Emery Wednesday. Handzus was one of three former Flyers to score in the 7-2 Chicago win. |
misplayed a puck along the wall and then lost a footrace to the loose puck to former Flyer Michal Handzus.
It created a 2-on-1 and Handzus was able to score shorthanded, just barely touching the puck with his stick before it crossed the goal line, negating a kick-in goal and it was 3-1.
But the Flyers power play got another chance, and this time there was no unforced error.
Steve Downie banged home a loose puck in the crease, his third goal of the season, once again making it a one-goal game.
But the Blackhawks offense has been humming of late, and Brandon Saad made a pretty, no look pass to another ex-Flyer – Kris Versteeg – for a one-timer goal that made it 4-2.
“I didn’t feel like our team was out of it at all and I thought we were going pretty good still,” coach Craig Berube said.
That is until Chicago provided the (Chelsea?) dagger when yet another ex-Flyer, Patrick Sharp, fired a shot off of Jonathan Toews arm and into the net for 5-2.
All of this happening in the second period.
“It was pretty much the same thing [as Dallas],” said Wayne Simmonds. “We played a great first, but the second period we made too many mistakes that ended up in the back of our net.”
Andrej Meszaros turned the puck over and got caught chasing Shaw on the second goal, Luke Schenn lost track of Versteeg on the fourth goal and Hartnell cross-checked Toews into the net as the puck hit hit on Sharp’s shot on goal No. 5.
The penalty by Hartnell didn’t really cost the Flyers, but it was indicative of the whole night where the Flyers ended up shorthanded seven times, including having not one, but two 3-on-5 situations.
|Chicago goalie Antti Raanta made consecutive saves on shirthanded breakaways by the Flyers, the latter here on Michael Raffl to keep the Flyers from clawing back into the game in the third period. |
“I didn’t like a couple of the calls,” Berube said of the 39 penalty minutes accrued by the Flyers. “I think some of them were warranted but I didn’t like going down 5-on-3 that’s for sure. We’re putting ourselves in bad situations.”
Discipline was certainly a factor in the game, and it spilled over into the third period as Brent Seabrook scored on a flukey shot that knuckled on Emery as Seabrook broke his stick on the shot and Sharp scored with a two-man advantage on Steve Mason, who mercifully replaced Emery following the sixth goal.
However, as the discipline dissolved and frustration mounted, even though it provided a negative outcome for the Flyers, Emery thought it showed good emotional energy for a team hoping to stem the tide of the latest skid when they return to home ice tonight against Montreal.
“You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser,” Emery said. “I want to play with sore losers. I don't want guys who are content playing like that."
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