Road Trip Part 4-5: Flyers Gain First Place with Shootout Loss to Kings

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IJanuary 4, 2009

Its almost over. The end is near for the Flyers and this dreaded road trip. Friday night, the Flyers won a hard fought rough game against the Ducks in the shootout. Follow that up with a pretty poor performance against the Kings last night by losing in a shootout and what do they get, first place in the Atlantic division.

They played a very good game against the Ducks and came out last night and completely looked like a different team. Granted, the Flyers were missing players like Gagne, Lupul, and newly injured Claude Giroux. That notwithstanding, I expected the team to come out a little bit more fired up for this one because it was a game the Flyers should have won hands down.

The last time the Flyers played back-to-back games on the road, they looked terrible and lost both of the games. Oh yea, that was the first two of this road trip when they got their backsides handed to them by the Blackhawks and the Blue Jackets. So I guess I can accept a split this time.

The Kings had a 22-year-old goaltender in the net who looked like Columbus' Steve Mason out there. He had never faced a shootout until last night, where he looked like he had done it many times before. Jonathan Quick stopped both the likes of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the shootout. 

"Jonathan's been solid since he's been called up, and tonight was no different," Dustin Brown said after the game. "He made some big saves in regulation. You look at the shootout and you've got the leading goal scorer in the league and a pretty good shooter in Mike Richards, so Jonathan answered the bell for us."

Scott Hartnell was awarded his penalty shot in the first period after he was taken down by defenseman Drew Doughty. Quick, playing in his 10th NHL game, forced Hartnell to go to his backhand. Hartnell went high and wide. Hartnell did however score the team's only goal. 

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen talked about the problems the Flyers have been having with injuries and playing shorthanded lately.

"We were short-handed, and we've been losing guys left and right," Timonen said. "That's part of the game and we were talking about that before the game, that we have to go out there and do our jobs no matter who is in the lineup. I thought we played a pretty good game."

I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Timonen on the whole "played a pretty good game" part. I think they came out dry and couldn't take care of the puck, but that happens when you're on the road for a long time. These issues happen to every team, but of course the microscope is zoomed in more in Philadelphia.

"We're missing a lot of guys," coach John Stevens added. "We asked huge minutes of some of these guys and we did everything, but win the hockey game. We had plenty of chances. (Jeff) Carter had one of the most dominating performances I've seen all year even though he didn't get the puck in the net. We're really proud of the effort there and it turned out to be big point for us."

The Flyers have time to rebound and regroup. They head back across the states to have a meeting with the Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin on Tuesday. Ovechkin is tied with Jeff Carter for the NHL lead in goals with 27.