If the Philadelphia Flyers could pick any opponent as they continue their desperate chase for a wild card spot, the Winnipeg Jets would fit the bill. Jets regulars such as Toby Enstrom, Tyler Myers, and Jacob Trouba, are all ruled out on Tuesday night as they host a desperate Flyers team.
The Flyers will have to pick up their road play in a big way, as they begin a four game stretch away from the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. With a record of 12-19-4 away from home this season, only the Carolina Hurricanes have fewer road wins with nine.
After Flyers practice on Monday afternoon, Captain Claude Giroux stated,“We circled this road trip a while back, and we are playing some tough teams and some good teams. We are ready for it and pretty excited to get it going.”
With Giroux leading the way with his words and his play, the Flyers got off to a start they wanted leading 1-0. Giroux even registered an assist on the Flyers first goal. However, the shorthanded Jets had a lot of energy, as they beat the Flyers 3-2. Steve Mason got the start in net again, and he was magical making 30 saves in the loss. The loss puts a serious dent into the Flyers wavering playoff hopes.
The Flyers came out of the gate determined, and appeared to have their skating legs. They had the Jets on their heels early, until Claude Giroux was called for the first penalty of the night early in the first period. The Flyers penalty killers did a phenomenal job on the ensuing Jets power play, and did not surrender a single shot on net as the game remained scoreless.
With the Flyers struggling to maintain possession late in the first period, Josh Morrissey was called for a holding penalty with just 6 seconds remaining on the clock. There was just not enough time left on the clock for the Flyers to get organized on this power play. They will carry over 1:54 of power play time into the second period.
The first period finally coming to a close, with both teams still searching for their first goals of the night. Despite the Flyers heavily outplaying the Jets through the first ten minutes of the opening period, the Jets seemed to finally find their skating legs as the period wore on. The Jets won the faceoff margin 70%-30%, and also outshot the Flyers 8-7.
With the Flyers playoff hopes on life support going into the second period, the feel good Flyers perseverance never seemed to fade. They dominated the first minute of play, thanks in large part to the carry over power play from the first period. The Flyers managed two shots on net, but Matt Hutchinson made both saves keeping the game scoreless.
Early in the second period, the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. Jordan Weal finally struck gold for the Flyers just 4:28 into the period. Weal and Simmonds entered the Jets zone. Simmonds threaded a pass over to Weal, and he deposited his 4th goal of the season giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Nick Schultz took the first penalty of the second period for the Flyers, with 14:43 remaining. On the ensuing Jets power play, Mark Scheifle took a slap shot from the point through heavy traffic. Mason made the easy pad save, but Matheiu Perreault slammed home the rebound tying the game at 1. It was Perreault’s 9th goal of the year.
Just three minutes later, Ivan Provorov took a hi-sticking penalty. It was a double minor as Mark Stuart drew blood. The Jets peppered mason with four shots on net, but Mason made all four saves keeping the game tied at 1.
Towards the end of the second period, the Flyers were looking to regain their form after committing two penalties back to back. However, Sean Couturier was called for yet another Flyers penalty, with just 5:31 left in the period. The Jets managed just three shots on net for the power play, but Mason made all three saves keeping the score tied at 1.
Somehow the Flyers managed to escape the second period with the score tied at 1. To no ones surprise, the Jets outshot the Flyers 10-7 for the period, and the faceoff margin was evenly split at 50%.
The Flyers were struggling to maintain possession early in the third period, and the Jets made sure to take full advantage. Mark Scheifle cranked a slap shot from the point with Mason making the easy right pad save. Blake Wheeler found the rebound, and slammed the puck home for a 2-1 Jets lead. It was Wheeler’s 22nd goal of the year.
With the Flyers regaining their legs in the third period, they received a gift when Adam lowry was called for a slashing penalty. On the ensuing power play, the Flyers managed three shots on net, but Hutchinson made all three saves keeping the score 2-1.
The Flyers continued to get beaten by an energized Jets team. Mark Scheifle took a blast from the point through traffic, with 6:09 remaining in the third period. Mason could not track the puck, and it found its way past him for a 3-1 Jets lead. It was Scheifle’s 9th goal of the year.
Wayne Simmonds took a hi-sticking penalty with just 49 seconds left in the third period. The Flyers managed to score a shorthanded goal with just two seconds remaining in the game. Michael Del Zotto beat Hutchinson with a wrist shot over his left glove, cutting the Jets deficit to 3-2.
The Jets outplayed the Flyers in the third period, and they came away with a 3-2 victory. The Jets outshot the Flyers 33-28 for the game, but the Flyers won the faceoff margin 56%-44%.
This loss sums up the Flyers season. One game they play well, and the next game they lay an egg. However, its not over till its over. They are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. If you have the will, then there is a way. Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports