Photo is by Dave Reginek NHLI via Getty Images
The Philadelphia Flyers drop two very valuable points in the standings Wednesday night at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit as the Red Wings shutout them out, 3-0. For the second straight game, Philadelphia was sloppy with the puck and didn’t create nearly enough fore-checking pressure against a defensive unit that can cough up the puck when agitated. Puck retrieval was an issue for the Flyers tonight as they just didn’t have the jump to get in on the Wings defense and despite having some offensive zone time in the game, were not able to create scoring opportunities.With the loss, things will now get very interesting as the Flyers will now need help from the team that just defeated them Wednesday as soon as tomorrow night. The Flyers will host the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night in Philadelphia in absolute must win contest, while Detroit can now clinch a playoff spot with a win of any kind against the Boston Bruins. A Red Wings win could also help keep the Bruins behind the Flyers for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
This is the 5th time that the Flyers have been shutout this season. Among players who struggled tonight were Jake Voracek and one of his mistakes ended up in the back of the Flyers net. The usually sure-handed forward just flat-out misplayed a puck along the right half wall during a powerplay that sent Wings’ speedster Andreas Athanasiou in all alone on Mason. It wasn’t just the misplayed puck by Voracek in a nightmarish game for him, but it was also his inability to hit the net on a critical powerplay in which 2 Red Wing penalty killers had broken sticks.
The Flyers were not sharp as a whole and this section of the game recap isn’t placed here to shred Voracek, but as one of the Flyers best players, Jake has the puck far too often to make mistakes like he did tonight. He needs to pick up his game considerably tomorrow against Toronto.
The main reason the Flyers were in this game for the majority of it was because of their goaltender, Steve Mason. The goaltender turned away just 23 of 25 shots fired his way, but many of the saves he made had him moving laterally. It’s been ho-hum for Mason lately as he hasn’t shown any real concerning signs of fatigue after starting in his 10th straight game tonight.
Here is your game notable:
Tonight was definitely a night where the Flyers looked like they were running on empty and with the team having played 21 games over the last 12 days, it never appeared more evident. Any way you slice, however, the Flyers are in no position to use fatigue as an excuse this late in the season but consider this my attempt to talk Flyers fans away from the bridge.
The Flyers are still very much in control of their own destiny, even with tonight’s frustrating loss. A Philadelphia win tomorrow night, coupled with a Boston loss would put the Bruins season on life support. If that happens, the Flyers could potentially clinch a playoff spot as soon as Saturday, when they play host to none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins. Considering the Flyers swept a season-series with the Defending Stanley Cup Champions and has played the President Trophy winning Capitals tough every time out, it just wouldn’t be appropriate to write them off right now.