Lightning-Flyers: Briere Return Spoiled, Woes Continue

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst INovember 9, 2008

Sloppy hockey. Sloppy, sloppy, and once again sloppy hockey. That's what was on display last night in South Philadelphia as the Flyers dropped their third straight.

The Flyers' play last night puzzled me. With 18 shots in the first period, everything was looking great: the passing, forechecking, shooting, and goaltending.

Then, as the second period began, all of sudden everything stopped for the Flyers. Bad penalties—as some were ghostly calls that couldn't be seen by the 20,000 people in attendance—followed by the disappearance of effective passing.

All that could've gone wrong last night with a team in disarray did. The Flyers did not look like a good hockey club for all but 20 minutes. But according to Coach Stevens, the Flyers looked pretty good:

“I actually think we played a good hockey game tonight, we made two mistakes that ended up in our net," Stephens said. "It’s odd when we’re scoring goals in bunches and couldn’t keep them out of our net, now we are keeping them out of our net, and we are not scoring.

"To me it has to start from not giving up as much at our net, that is where this thing is going to turn around, I think we did that tonight and that is a step in the right direction.”

I guess in one way we can say that Stevens was right. The goaltending by Marty Biron was pretty close to fantastic, stopping many shots that clearly would have been goals a few games ago, especially the breakaway stop on Vincent LeCavalier.

It was relatively odd to see the Flyers finally play shutdown defense and put up one goal on offense for the second straight game.

“We played a good defensive game tonight and we had our opportunities,” said Mike Richards. “We had two mistakes, they scored two goals, and we didn’t capitalize on our chances. I had one in the third there and the rebounds were there, we just didn’t score on them.”

It was hard to watch them lose this game after seeing Danny Briere come back from the abdominal tear early and score the first goal of the game. "Early in the game, things were coming at me pretty quick, but my shifts were short," he said. "But as the period progressed, I felt better and better."

Mike Richards' assist last night marked the fifth consecutive game that Richards has recorded at least one assist.

The Flyers embark on a three game road trip next week, facing off against the New York Islanders in a Veteran’s Day matinee game on Tuesday, November 11.