The Philadelphia Flyers enter Saturday’s matinee against the Columbus Blue Jackets looking to remain in the playoff hunt. Philadelphia has split the first two games of a four game road trip, with a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Philadelphia has alternated wins and losses in its last five games, and haven’t won consecutive road games since late January. Consistency has been a major problem for the Flyers all season. They will have their work cut out for them in this one to find some consistency in their game. The Blue Jackets will go for its 10th straight win over the Flyers at Nationwide Arena dating back to December of 2005.
Steve Mason spoke to the media on Friday about consistency stating, “We have to find the consistency. That’s something we need to continue to build and work toward. We hope we build off the last win.”
Michal Neuvirth backed up his words for the feel good Flyers. He made 20 saves, putting forth a magical performance. The team rallied behind Neuvirth, and they heavily outplayed the Blue Jackets. However, the Flyers lost 1-0, as they could not solve goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The loss is devastating to the Flyers playoff hopes, as they still remain eight points out of the last playoff spot.
The high flying Flyers came out of the gate energized and motivated. This lead to the the first penalty of the night. Boone Jenner was called for hi-sticking at 15:47 in the opening period. The struggling Flyers power play could not find the back of the net again. They only managed one shot on net, but Sergei Bobrovsky made the lone save keeping the game scoreless.
With the Flyers dominating the Blue Jackets through the majority of the opening period, Nick Schultz took the Flyers first penalty of the night late in the first period. The Flyers penalty killers did a phenomenal job, as they did not allow a single shot on net. The game of course remained scoreless.
The first period came to a close with the both teams still searching for their first goals of the night. Despite not being able to solve Bobrovsky, the Flyers completely dominated the first period. They killed the Blue Jackets in shots 11-5. While the faceoff margin was evenly split at 50%.
With the Flyers playoff hopes on life support going into the second period, the feel good Flyers perseverance never seemed to fade. Radko Gudas tried to pump up the team after getting into a fight with Boone Jenner. At 8:47 in the second period, Gudas brushed Bobrovsky. Jenner went after Gudas, but Gudas wound up pounding Jenner to the ice.
The Flyers continued their dominant play throughout the game, until 13:11 in the second period. Kyle Quincey took a shot on net that was saved by Neuvirth. Alexander Wenneberg was standing by Neuvirth, and batted the puck out of the air. The puck sneaked through Neuvirth’s pads for a 1-0 Blue Jackets lead.
Just three minutes later, Seth Jones took a tripping penalty. On the ensuing power play, the Flyers peppered Bobrovsky with three shots on net. Bobrovsky made all three saves keeping the score 1-0.
Towards the end of the second period, the Flyers were looking to finally solve Bobrovsky. They had a great opportunity after Daniel Savard took a roughing penalty with just eight seconds remaining. The Flyers could not muster anything in that time span, but the remaining 1:52 of power play time would carry over into the third period.
Somehow the Flyers found themselves trailing 1-0 at the end of the second period. To no ones surprise, the Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets 13-8 for the period, and the faceoff margin was evenly split at 50%.
The Flyers entered the second period flying and determined to take command of the game. With the 1:52 of power play time that carried over from the second period, the Flyers managed two shots on net with Bobrovsky making both saves, keeping the score 1-0 Blue Jackets.
Unfortunately, the Flyers ran out of time as the third period came to a close. The Flyers outplayed the Blue Jackets in the third period, but wound up losing 1-0. The Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets 36-21 for the game, and the Flyers won the faceoff margin 56%-44%.
Despite the loss to the Blue Jackets, the Flyers should feel good about themselves. They are finally getting consistent play in their game. Sometimes we have to tip our hats to the goaltender, as Bobrovsky was great today. Hopefully this type of play continues for the Flyers, to keep up the hope of making a final playoff push.
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Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports