Flyers can't follow up, lose to Lightning, 5-1

Flyers can't follow up, lose to Lightning, 5-1

January 27, 2013, 8:45 pm
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TAMPA -- There are constants every coach would like to see from hockey club as a season progresses.
This is one that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette can do without: 48 total penalties for 124 penalty minutes.

Those Flyers totals are both NHL highs, they're the difference between the Flyers being over .500 and two games under that bar (2-4)  following Sunday’s 5-1 blowout loss to the Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
This time, the Flyers committed eight penalties, gave up two more power play goals and another goal that that crossed the line two seconds after a power play expired.
Team discipline is team concern on this club.
“They’ve changed up some of the rules and they’re calling things one one-thousandth of a second after the puck gets dumped and stuff like that, calling more stuff on the hands, and obviously, we haven’t adjusted to it,” said Wayne Simmonds, himself a major violator in this game.
“We have to get that done pretty quickly here or we’re going to find ourselves [in more trouble] this season.”
Simmonds, who was yapping at B.J. Crombeen in the box in the first period, took an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when the two were back on the ice together. Soon after, Teddy Purcell netted Tampa's first goal of the night thanks to some magical puck movement between Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
“I don’t even know what I said to be honest,” Simmonds said. “They were just trying to keep the game under wraps.”
The Flyers took five penalties in the first.
“We talked about their power play and trying to stay out [of the box], and you know you will have to kill two or three penalties, but we can’t give them five or six power plays a game – not a team like that,” Danny Briere said.
“We took penalties that put us in trouble, took us back on our heels and gave them the momentum they needed and they never looked back.
“We have to be smarter. Also, we have to adjust. We know what is being called now. It seems we keep putting ourselves in the same situation over and over. Seems every game we have to kill a 5-on-3 … We gotta stop giving up 5-on-3s.”
Laviolette is equally frustrated. So what’s the answer when the message is not getting through?
“You continue to harp on it, look at it, eventually you can react to it by ice time or taking guys out of the lineup,” he said. “We need to get guys playing the correct way. Not taking them out of the lineup. We need our pieces in there.”
Of course, the Bolts took 8 penalties, too. Difference was, the Flyers were 0-for-6 on the power play.
Even worse, just before Simmonds' minor, the Flyers had a four-minute power play with a 1-0 lead and squandered it entirely, registering just one shot on goal.
They could have buried the Lightning right there.
“The power play wasn’t all that great,” Briere understated.
Laviolette said he felt the Lightning had a “step” on his club as a rested team and, yeah, that wasted power play didn’t do the Flyers much good, either.
“We had moments and opportunities where we could have scored,” he said. “Tampa checked hard and played tight defense. You have to expend energy to create offense and we didn’t generate enough. They were opportunistic on their power plays.”
You could see the effect of playing six games in nine days and of playing the second half of a back-to-back against a far better opponent than the Panthers.
Guy Boucher’s Bolts were waiting for the Flyers and once again enjoyed the benefit of getting other club’s backup goalie coming in on a back-to-back. Earlier this past week, Tampa faced Ottawa’s Ben Bishop.
Sunday, the Flyers threw Michael Leighton at the Lightning. He had not started a regular-season game for the Flyers since Dec. 30, 2010 at Los Angeles.
He had trouble with rebounds, although on three other shots, there wasn’t much he could do. Victor Hedman’s rebound goal that made it 4-1 to open the third was one that shouldn’t have gone in. Leighton faced 26 shots in all.
“I felt pretty good, my conditioning was pretty good,” Leighton said. “Just one of those things you want to get into a rhythm.
“I’m not happy about a couple of the goals that went in late in the game, but it’s one thing I have to keep working on.”
Laviolette said he wanted a rested goalie for Tuesday’s match in New York against the Rangers. Leighton was told last week to be prepared to play in this one.
The Flyers led 1-0 early on a Sean Couturier goal from a bad angle, but Tampa stormed back, tied the game and then scored two goals in the final four minutes of the period. Eric Brewer had a slapper deflect off Max Talbot, then Vinny Lecavalier made it 3-1 with a nasty one-timer from the circle on a power play.
And while the ice was once again brutal at the Forum, making special-teams play an adventure, it didn’t prevent the Lightning from having success with the man advantage. Stamkos and St. Louis were lethal, with the latter picking up four assists.
Yeah, these guys aren’t the Florida Panthers.
“When you’re playing back-to-back,” Matt Read offered, “You gotta keep it simple and play smart hockey.
“Maybe we got a little ahead of ourselves after last night (seven goals in Florida). No excuse. Not acceptable by us.”

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