Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Posted: 10:05 p.m. Updated: 11:23 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
SUNRISE, Fla. These two- and three-goal leads the Flyers seem to carve out early in games aint working.
Why? Because they stop skating.
And when they do that, they stop playing.
Peter Laviolette's crew did it again Wednesday night, cruising to a 3-0 bulge on the Florida Panthers, then having to hang on for dear life in the final 22 seconds before Danny Brieres empty-netter iced a 4-2 victory at BankAtlantic Center.
When we get two- and three-goal leads, we seem to get away from it, Sean ODonnell offered. Its just a mental thing. We dont seem to battle hard for 60 minutes. Winning in this league is hard.
On one hand, give us credit for getting those leads, but its playing 60 minutes. And putting teams away.
Once again, a Flyers goalie lost a shutout in the third period, too.
Sergei Bobrovsky was ahead 3-0 when Jason Garrisons shot bounced off him directly to Rostislav Olesz, for a tap-in goal, during a Panthers power play at 1:40. That was a tough one given Bobrovsky had made back-to-back saves moments before on Cory Stillman.
Soon after, Darroll Powe turned the puck over and David Booth beat Bobrovsky high to the far side to make it a one-goal nail-biter with less than eight minutes to play.
For the remainder of play, the Flyers were on their heels as Florida pinned them in and forced Bobrovsky to work harder that he should have.
Its a three-goal lead and its not really in jeopardy, Laviolette said. They go out in the third period and they catch an early one and were on our heels.
They had a lot of good chances in the third period. We didnt play very well in the third. We need to be better than that in the last 20 minutes.
Two Flyers ended scoring droughts in the first period with Mike Richards (nine games) and Andreas Nodl (18 games) finding the net.
Yet Nodls bigger asset was the save if you believe it he made late in the second period that should have been a Panthers goal.
Garrison shot from the left circle into the crease and it appeared as though Marty Reasoner jammed the rebound home.
The puck went off Reasoners stick and then disappeared under Nodl. Under the rules, if the War Room in Toronto cant see the puck, then its not in the net. Dumb rule, but thats the way it is. Nodl was hiding that puck.
I dont even know what I was doing in the crease I got caught down low, Nodl admitted. I saw him taking a shot. It was pretty lucky. I was trying to kick it with my skate. Luckily it didnt go over the goal line.
On replay, it looked as though the puck was over the line because it disappears. Lucky break for the Flyers.
Nodl replaced Ville Leino (groinhip) on Brieres line with Scott Hartnell. It was the first time Nodl has worked with Briere this season.
Another first: Kris Versteeg got his first point as a Flyer at 8:36 when he centered the puck into the slot for Richards wicked shot past goalie Tomas Vokoun for his 18th goal.
Almost a minute later, the Flyers made it 2-0 when Nodl, flying up the ice, took a pass from Briere, who now has 20 assists, at the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Not the way we wanted to end the game, but we survived, Briere said. Thats what matters most. The last 10 minutes, we kinda gave them some life ... I like the sacrifice a lot of guys put in blocking shots and taking the body in front of the net.
Briere was cherry-picking when Nodl found him at center ice for the final marker, which he rifled high into the net.
I was thinking hard when I was going down, Briere said, laughing. I didnt want to fall down, I didnt know how much time was left. I thought Nodes was going to chip it out He kinda lost it and I was already gone.
James van Riemsdyk added his 14th goal at 5:50 of the second period as the Flyers continued to pile it on. Thats back-to-back games where the 21-year-old has scored a goal.
At 3-0 it should have been over, but we let them creep back on there, JVR said. Weve got to continue to work on that. Its something we cant allow to happen.
Bobrovsky, incidentally, was every bit as sharp in goal as Brian Boucher was the night before in Tampa. Florida would get a flurry of shots every now and then, and then go minutes with nothing on net.
The third period was a little bit lax, maybe lazy, but two points is two points, said Richards.
Nice to get off the schneid?
I had some chances and figured if I keep shooting, its bound to go in sometime, Richards replied. Nice to get it.
Laviolette made a good point in that the Flyers poured so much into the win at Tampa, that there was a bit of a letdown here.
It wan an emotional game last night, he said. Just to get the point, well take them and move on.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org