Flyers' defense didn't help Steve Mason
With Saturday's 6-3 win, the Lightning are now 6-2-1 against the Flyers since the start of the 2011-12 season. (AP)
They’re small and quick and like their moniker, “Lightning,” that’s just how quick they strike.
Which in some small way helps explain how the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped the Flyers’ 10-game home win streak Saturday, smoking the Flyers, 6-3, at Wells Fargo Center.
Didn’t help that the Lightning had odd-man rushes every other shift, either. Or that the Flyers' defense was slow to recover, hence Mark Streit and Nick Grossmann going a combined minus-6 in the game.
“They have a quick team and a lot of skill up front," Streit said, "a lot of little, fast guys and they had a lot of odd-man rushes, as well. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
The loss dropped the Flyers to third place in the Metropolitan Division based on games played. The Washington Capitals moved into second place.
The Flyers yielded four goals in the second period, hung goalie Steve Mason out to dry, and just couldn’t capitalize on any momentum they generated, losing it immediately several times that stanza as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to briefly tie.
“It’s a fast team with a lot of small, skilled players,” said Jakub Voracek, who had two goals and got the Flyers to 3-3 with under six minutes left in the second period before Tampa put the game on ice with two quickies.
Tampa is 6-2-1 against the Flyers since the start of the 2011-12 season.
“We made a couple of mistakes and they are too good a team and they scored off them," Voracek said. "We've got to make sure we’re better defensively.”
The Flyers have little time to lick their wounds as thy meet the Rangers -- another team that has owned them in recent years -- Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have won nine of the last 12 games in this series.
A lot of things went south for the Flyers in this one. Mason wasn’t sharp -- five goals on 17 shots. Ray Emery worked the third period.
“That wasn’t very good,” Mason said of his second period -- four goals on 10 shots. “We have to be better than that.”
Wayne Simmonds said the Flyers left Mason to fend for himself, which was accurate.
“We didn’t help him. We played like garbage, defensively,” Simmonds said.
Mason wouldn’t hear any of that.
“I didn’t help them out either,” said Mason, who had not given up five goals in any previous game this season. “It wasn’t a very good game.”
The first two periods were pond hockey, which can be a nightmare for a goalie if he’s not making saves.
“You’d rather have a tighter checking game,” Mason said. “Games like this happen. You gotta find ways to make saves and I didn’t make any saves.”
Mason said he’d like to jump back in net tomorrow against the Rangers but coach Craig Berube wouldn’t commit to him, saying there are two goalies on this team to use.
Berube felt the Flyers played well offensively. Heck, they had four shots during a 5 on 3 power play that lasted 1:46 in the opening period
“The second period we gave up four odd-man rushes and they scored on three of them,” Berube said. “That was basically it.”
Is that a byproduct of Tampa's speed?
“No, we just didn’t play smart for seven to eight minutes in the second period,” Berube replied. “It’s about discipline. That’s basically what it boils down to in your system. Being disciplined.
“We got away from it a little bit in the second period and they capitalized with odd-man rushes. We talked about it before the game -- you can’t give this team odd-man rushes.”
Ryan Malone had two goals. Matt Carle -- remember him? -- was plus-6. Valtteri Filippula and Teddy Purcell were outstanding with the puck, with dazzling plays that made the Flyers' defense look slow.
“A lot of mistakes and we left Mase to dry out a bit,” Claude Giroux said. “We had times we didn’t play as we should have.
“They’re a fast team with a lot of forwards who can skate. If you’re not responsible defensively, it’s going to hurt [you]. When we played good defensively, we had chances to come back in the game. We got away from it.”
And got burned.