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TAKEN OUT OF THEIR GAME

Flyers let Tampa dictate tempo, lose at home for first time in two months

Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 5:35 PM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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TAKEN OUT OF THEIR GAME
Sometimes it\u2019s called pond hockey. Other times, you might hear it referred to as a track meet.\r\n\r\nBack and forth. Up and Down. Run and Gun. Whatever moniker you want to put on it, it\u2019s a style of play that does not favor the Flyers.\r\n\r\nThe small and speedy Tampa Bay Lightning knew that and decided to try to goad the Flyers into playing that style.\r\n\r\nIt worked.

PHILADELPHIA – Sometimes it’s called pond hockey. Other times, you might hear it referred to as a track meet.

Back and forth. Up and Down. Run and Gun. Whatever moniker you want to put on it, it’s a style of play that does not favor the Flyers.

The small and speedy Tampa Bay Lightning knew that and decided to try to goad the Flyers into playing that style.

It worked.

In a wild and wooly second period that saw the two teams exchange seven goals, the Flyers got behind by two, cut it in half, got behind by two again, tied it the second time, and got behind by two again – all in a span of 14 minutes and change of a 6-3 loss that snapped the Flyers 10-game winning streak on home ice.

(Read the Game recap here)

When Flyers coach Craig Berube talks about the need for better discipline from the Flyers, he often is talking about a need to not take penalties – and while that is certainly something he preaches about, discipline, in his lexicon, also refers to playing a certain way and a certain style.

During this sensational run in which the Flyers climbed from the division basement to second place in the Metropolitan (although, via tiebreaker , they actually slipped to third Saturday) the key piece to the way the Flyers were playing was their discipline within the system.

The Flyers rarely wavered. They were very structured. Ahead, behind, it didn’t matter. The system was good. The

Steve Mason made this stop on NIkita Kucherov in the opening seconds of the game, but it went downhill for the Flyers goalie from there.

system would provide chances. The system was what they believed in.

But Tampa has a way of quickly getting you off your game. They are a home run team. A gambling team who likes to stretch the ice and force you to have bad gaps in coverage, hoping for odd-man rushes.

Usually, when you give up a few odd-man rushes in a game, you put yourself in a precarious position and hope your goaltender can bail you out.

But, when you give up a few odd-man rushes in a period… well, that’s usually to big a self-inflicted wound.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” said captain Claude Giroux. “We left (Steve) Mason out to dry a little bit. I think we played good, we just had some times where we didn't play the way we should have.

"They're a fast team. They have a lot of forwards that can skate, and if you're not responsible defensively it's going to hurt us, hurt our team. If we play good defensively, that's when we get our chances. That's why we were able to come back a little bit in the game, but we got away from it."

They got away from it on practically every goal against.

Tampa’s opening goal in the first period came off a blind turnover by Nick Grossmann that was picked off by Alex Killorn. His shot hit off of Mark Streit’s stick and fluttered past Steve Mason, who didn’t have a good game, allowing five goals on just 17 shots before getting pulled.

The second goal, by Teddy Purcell was probably the weakest goal Mason has allowed all season – and there haven’t been many.

But a low wrister from the right circle caught Mason off guard and went right through the five hole to make it 2-0.

“I wasn’t very good,” Mason said. “I can do better than that. You have to find ways to make saves and I just have to make those saves.

“There was some back-door plays, but you have to find ways to make the saves you sometime should be able to make. But tonight I wasn’t able to come up with any big saves.”

Still, the rest of the goals against Mason came courtesy of break downs in front of him.

Andrej Meszaros got caught out of position at center ice, allowing for a 2-on-1 for the Lightning. Mark Streit took himself out of the play, trying to take away the pass from Nate Thompson, but Thompson waited out Streit’s desperate slide and slid a pass to Ryan Malone for a tap in goal to make it 3-1.

“In the past we gave the shooter a little bit too much time,” Streit said. “So, I tried to make a move and he made a good play. It’s always tough, a 2-on-1, but looking back, I probably should have stayed on my feet.”

Valteri Filppula gets away from Steve Downie and scores the game-einning goal on a rebound past Steve Mason.

The Flyers clawed back to tie it in a span of 3:21 including finally scoring on the power play at home after squandering a two-man advantage in the first period, but the Lightning took advantage of two more Flyers mistakes and regained a two-goal lead in 3:22.

The Lightning had a rush up ice and a shot by Killorn was stopped by Mason, but he gave up a juicy rebound and Steve Downie, who has struggled in his last few games, lost track of his man Valterri Filppula and Filppula just scooped up the rebound and flipped it past Mason for what would be the eventual game-winner.

Finally, a slow line change by Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux created a 3-on-2 rush for the Lightning and Tyler Johnson made a cross-ice pass to Marty St. Louis who one-timed it past Mason.

“I think we played like garbage defensively,” said Wayne Simmonds. “You never want to go run-and-gun. That’s not our team style of play, that’s not when we’re most successful. I thought we did well for the first 10 minutes of the second and then it seemed like, I think I’ve said it again this year, we wanted to be the Harlem Globetrotters and we want to start doing other stuff and we can’t do that or else we’re going to come out on the short end of the stick.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com

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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