Fourth straight game with a shootout, and it ends in a 2-1 loss. After a great effort against Washington, the Flyers looked flat most of the night against the Pens.
This game was flat out boring. The #1 reason for that: inability to hit a player in stride. For some reason, the entire team had trouble passing last night. Almost every single breakout pass went out of reach or into a guys skates. It bogged us down in the neutral zone, and slowed down our attack significantly. We rarely hit the blueline with any speed. When we did slowly make our way into the zone, it wasn’t long before play headed the other way. The cycling behind the net didn’t lead to many chances. Perimeter passing as off the mark, yielding a ton of turnovers.
The lone brightspot throughout the entire night was Bobrovsky. Time and time again, we lost the puck in our own zone by playing too cute. Bob came up HUGE on every single occasion. The long goal he gave up came during a powerplay on a bogus penalty. Nodl picked up a loose puck, came in hard on Fleury, and fired a decent shot that was turned away. He was going directly at the net, and did his best effort to avoid the goalie. However, he had no room because the defenseman was right on his back, so he ended up colliding with Fleury. Harmless play, completely unintentional, and the refs called it.
That was one of very few good plays Nodl had all night. He was a complete mess out there. He has very poor vision on the ice, missing a ton of opportunities out there. When he had passing lanes, he held the puck, then lost it. On one odd man rush, he had to put some power onto his pass to get it through a defenseman. Instead, his soft push was easily intercepted. Carter and Leino seemed to lose 90% of the puck battles along the boards. They were easily bumped off the puck, and unable to dominate the way they usually do. I can’t recall one time when either of them managed to pull the puck out of the corner, and take it to the slot either for a shot or to set somebody else up.
I gotta give credit to Pittsburgh’s commitment to defense. Yes, it didn’t help that we played like shit. But still, they did their part to not give us much breathing room to get anything started. Between the third period and overtime, we managed only 5 shots. 5, stinking, shots. Fleury didn’t earn his paycheck at all last night. He was rarely screened, and didn’t face much heat at all. By the time the shootout came around, we all knew how it would end.
Check out Pen’s Labyrinth for a view from the other side.
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