You gotta wonder why Stevens would give in to Brian Boucher's desire to start his first game of the season against his former team. From a matchup stance, it would have made more sense to give Boucher the nod against a much weaker Panthers team the night before. As a result, a weak performance in goal coupled with squandered powerplay opportunities led to a 4-1 Sharks victory.
It started well for the Flyers. They generated a good number of chances early on, including a nifty steal by James van Riemsdyk for a partial breakaway.
The Sharks, however, scored the first goal. On the powerplay because of a delay of game call on Danny Syvret, Heatley was stationed beside Flyers goalie Boucher and managed to get a few whacks at a loose puck before jamming it home.
After the Sharks goal, the Flyers grabbed the momentum and were finally rewarded at 9:44. Mika Pyorala made a short pass to Powe, stationed in the high slot, who one-timed it past backup goaltender Thomas Greiss.
The Flyers had two powerplay opportunities after scoring the equalizer, but were unable to capitalize. In fact, they failed to register a shot on goal on the second one.
Jody Shelley bumped around Mike Richards a few times, and Ian Laperriere took exception. He and Shelley dropped the gloves, but it wasn't much of a fight. Shelley got the extra 2 for interference on Richards.
One thing that stood out in the first was how often the referees were in the way. At least three times, they visibly interfered with the developing play.
The 2nd period opened with a bogus charging call on Richards. He drove the net with the puck and clipped Greiss on his way through. Goaltender interference, maybe. Charging? No way.
The Sharks definitely had the edge in the middle stanza, including two goals from Manny Malhotra.
He scored his first of the evening at 7:51 by shoveling the puck from behind the Flyers net off Flyer Darrol Powe and behind Boucher. It was a strange goal that wasn't Boucher's fault.
However, Malhotra's second goal at 10:05 is one that Boucher should have stopped. The puck bobbled over Coburn's stick a few times before Malhotra gained possession and beat Boucher on the short side from about 30 feet out. It didn't look like Boosh was screened on the play. Coburn and partner Kimmo Timonen finished the night a team-worst -3.
The 3rd period was more of the same for the Flyers. They were unable to win the important faceoffs, and it never really felt like they were threatening to score.
Jed Ortmeyer capped the scoring at 16:51 of the 3rd on a wrist shot that seemed to catch Boucher off-guard.
The loss snaps the Flyers two-game winning streak and Asham's three game scoring streak. Asham played only 8:01, the least amount of ice time on the team.
Philly finished the night 0-for-4 on the powerplay.
Richards was a paltry 24% on faceoffs; Carter, 42%; Pyorala, 36%; and Giroux was also 42%. Granted, they were facing the best faceoff team in the league so far this season (56.4%). But at 48%, the Flyers rank 24th, just above the Leafs. I'll repeat that. Just above the Leafs.
The Flyers had better find their firepower in time for the rematch against the Capitals in D.C. on Tuesday night. Philadelphia won the first head-to-head, 6-5 in overtime.
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