Call it an insurance policy. Call it competitive motivation. Whatever it’s labeled, Tuesday’s recall of goaltender Michael Leighton on re-entry waivers, if he clears, will change the Flyers’ net dynamic for the better, at least on the ice.
For all of March and now into April, the Flyers have needed a backstop, either Brian Boucher or rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, to catch ablaze. Although both goalies have seen varied success, with Bobrovsky appearing to be the playoff starter, it hasn’t happened. And 79 games into the season, it’s not going to.
Since the shootout was installed in the 2005-06 season, the Flyers and New York Rangers have met seven times in the turn-based gimmick, each with varying success.
Yet, regardless of the benefit for both squads, a crucial late-season win for the Rangers on Sunday and a playoff-determining victory for the Flyers in the final game of the 2009-10 season, New York coach John Tortorella and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette still aren’t fond of the sour result.
WELLS FARGO CENTER – Like a re-occurring nightmare, once again, the shootout dooms the Flyers at home. It ruined a late-game effort by Nik Zherdev and the Flyers that had tied the game, as the Rangers’ Wojtek Wolski scored the clincher in the shootout to give New York Rangers the 3-2 shootout victory Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.
“There’s no shootouts in the playoffs. Thank God,” said defenseman Sean O’Donnell, who team has just three games remaining in the season. “Obviously, we’d love to have these two points, but coming back on a team like that, to get that point, was good. We would have liked to win the shootout, but I don’t think losing in a shootout is a big deal.”
WELLS FARGO CENTER — According to general manager Paul Holmgren on Sunday, the Flyers will be without forward Danny Briere against the New York Rangers as a result of “lower body soreness.”
Another day, another non-playoff opponent and another loss for the Flyers.
Lacking a killer instinct for the second time in as many nights, the Flyers failed to overcome a late deficit, as they lost to Patrik Elias and the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, Friday night at the Prudential Center.
“As a whole, we weren’t good enough,” coach Peter Laviolette told the media. “There were a few bright spots but not enough within the concept of our team and even within the game itself. We have to be better than we were tonight.”
March featured a myriad of problems for the Flyers.
Inconsistency, lack of focus and the inability to win close games are just a few of the issues that hampered the fleeting Eastern Conference leaders into a 6-5-4 monthly record. However, what Atlanta Thrashers forward Evander Kane told the media after a 1-0 shutout victory over the stumped Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, may be the most severe and telling of the group.
“Even last year I think we won all four games against them,” said Kane, whose squad took the season series 3-1, including two in Philly. “It’s a fun building to play in and I definitely enjoy it.”
Fun building? Enjoy it? The Spectrum just rolled over in its own rubble.
WELLS FARGO CENTER – With the Atlantic Division-rival New Jersey Devils on the schedule for Friday and revenge on the menu against the New York Rangers on Sunday, it’s easy to see how Thursday night’s home contest against the non-division and non-playoff Atlanta Thrashers could be overlooked.
However, coming off a confidence-building road win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, the Flyers have their sights set on taking two points from Atlanta, while regaining some home ice swagger.
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Looking to bust out of a four-game slump with pure force, the Flyers will activate both Jody Shelley and Dan Carcillo for tonight’s contest against the visiting Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Forwards Nik Zherdev and Andreas Nodl will be the healthy scratches.
Kris Versteeg gathered the puck in the defensive zone early in the second period of Sunday’s Flyers-Rangers contest at Madison Square Garden.
From his own slot, the newly acquired forward tried to brainlessly push the disc through hard-checking Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan, who easily scooped it up and fired top corner into the Flyers’ net to give the Rangers the 4-0 lead. The Blue Shirts would further their advantage to seven before the final whistle mercifully rang.
“Turnovers are what’s killing us,” Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger told the media after Sunday’s game. “We can look at second-effort and all the rest of that after, but turnovers, we have to get the puck in deep and forecheck and get some sustained pressure down in the offensive zone and start grinding on teams as we’ve done in the past. Until we do that, teams are going to pick us apart like they have been. ”