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ONE MISTAKE TOO MANY

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

Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 12:17 AM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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ONE MISTAKE TOO MANY
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.\r\n\r\nOne that tends to be consistent, and maybe even underreported around the league is giveaways and takeaways.\r\n\r\nDifferent 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.\r\n\r\nNever are the two simultaneous, which is what makes it more difficult to spot.\r\n\r\nAs such, the tallies for giveaways and takeaways are usually low \u2013 mostly in single digits.\r\n\r\nOn Tuesday, the Flyers had 16. That\u2019s right. One-six.

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

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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