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Too many giveaways allowed the Ducks to steal a win from the Flyers

Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 12:17 AM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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PHILADELPHIA – Real time statistics are measured differently in each NHL city. Off ice officials are charged with tracking different statistics and they do so with varying degrees of fervor.

One that tends to be consistent, and maybe even underreported around the league is giveaways and takeaways.

Different from turnovers by definition, the idea is giveaways are the fault of the player who lost the puck while takeaways are a credit to a player who makes a fine play to strip the puck from an opposing player.

Never are the two simultaneous, which is what makes it more difficult to spot.

As such, the tallies for giveaways and takeaways are usually low – mostly in single digits.

On Tuesday, the Flyers had 16. That’s right. One-six.

Conversely the Anaheim Ducks, their opponent, had six.

You can try to call it a bad night. You can try to call it a game with an overzealous tabulator. And if you did, you would be doing nothing but protecting the Flyers from what really took place – for after the Flyers played what may have been their best period of hockey in their opening stanza, building a two goal lead, they promptly turned into an operation that mass produced turnovers like they were widgets en route to a 3-2 loss.

It’s a shame too, because up to a point, the Flyers were in control. They had the game where they wanted it. They had played well enough to keep a top team like the Ducks at bay.

All they had to do was to play their game – much in the same way they did in New York in a win over the Islander Saturday, but they couldn’t stop making the mistakes – especially in the third period when it mattered the most.

“I thought maybe we were past that, but we weren’t obviously,” said coach Craig Berube incredulously. “I mean we didn’t do much in the third until the power play and we got the goalie out.”

Rewind just a bit, because by the time the third period power play came and the goalie was being pulled, the water-bailing was in full effect.

Prior to that it was a solid effort by the Flyers.

Sean Couturier’s line along with Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds again did a fine job against the dangerous duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, keeping them off the scoreboard for the most part.

Claude Giroux’s unit with Michael Raffl and Vinny Lecavalier was clicking, generating more and more chances, bound to finally break through.

Jake Voracek was skating hard, Scott Hartnell was pumping a ton of shots on goal (seven to be exact) and even the fourth line was taking a regular and productive shift.

And then, it just stopped.

It literally was as if someone just pulled the needle off the album in mid-song. It was as if the teams swapped strategies mid stream.

“We stopped moving our feet and started watching the puck,” Giroux said. “In the first period, I think we did a good job of skating and getting our feet going, but in the third period we were puck-watching and you can’t do that against a good team like the Ducks.”

Because when you do, you risk having fine efforts, like the one exerted by goalie Steve Mason, go for naught.

Mason was again locked in. He made 34 saves and tried his darndest to keep the Flyers in the game.

But the Ducks are a good team – maybe the best the Flyers have played this season so far – and he could only keep them down so long until the mistakes mounted up too high and he wasn’t able to stop them all.

Each Ducks goal was born from a Flyers turnover.

Nick Grossmann, who came out flying with an assist on the first Flyers goal by Matt Read and strong physical play, especially against that dynamic duo of the Ducks, was playing well enough early to garner consideration as one of the game’s three stars.

Then he tried to rush a pass in the second period that was intercepted by Getzlaf at the blue line. The talented Duck center shot the puck high and wide but it beelined off the glass right to the waiting stick of Andrew Cogliano for an easy goal that trimmed the Flyers lead to 2-1.

Then, a minute into what would be the dreadful third period, Vinny Lecavalier, who was coming off another fine goal – his fourth in two games – lost control of the puck at the Anaheim blue line to Kyle Palmieri, who streaked the rest of the way on a breakaway and slid a shot past Mason to tie the score.

Lecavalier was also on the ice for the eventual game-winner as he and Mark Streit got tangled with Sami Vatanen, allowing the puck to squirt loose to Palmieri for a give-and-go 2-on-1 break with Nick Bonino that Palmieri tipped past Mason.

“We allowed too many turnovers during the game in general,” Lecsvalier said. “I think the first half of the game we played very solid. It seemed after that we were a little flat. We had a lot of turnovers that were coming right back into our zone. Obviously they’ve got some good players on that team and they capitalized on that.”

And it leaves the Flyers again searching for answers.

There was a half a game of really true positives. Read scored for a third game in a row. Giroux now has six points in six games after going scoreless in the first five….

But now at 3-8, you can’t help but wonder if this game won’t stick in their craw a little more as one that definitely got away.

“I think every game that you lose, especially when you have a lead going in to the third period, you kick yourself in the butt every time,” Read said. “It’s something where we have to look at our positives and negatives, and move on to the next game.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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