Flyers Absorb Tough Shootout Loss
In Anaheim on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Flyers were defeated by the Ducks 4-3 in a shootout. However, the score was not indicative of how the game was played. The flyers dominated in just about every facet of the game except for goaltending. The Flyers outshot Anaheim 55-25. It is very difficult to lose a hockey game if your team outshoots the opponent by thirty shots, however, the Flyers found a way to accomplish this feat.
Anaheim opened up the scoring in the first period with a tap-in goal from their leading scorer Ryan Kesler. However, just 19 seconds later Travis Konecny was able to get the monkey off his back by scoring his first goal since November 11 against Toronto. Kesler would then go on to score two more goals to complete the hat trick. When the hats were raining down onto the ice at Honda Center, Philadelphia seemed to turn on a switch that hadn't been turned on since the 10 game winning streak. They went on to score two quick goals from Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. The Flyers then pressured the Ducks even harder as the threw everything but the kitchen sink at goaltender John Gibson. However, Gibson had the answer to everything both in regulation and in overtime. Gibson's only blemish came in the form of a sweet shootout goal from Jake Voracek. Then in the extra rounds of the shootout, Corey Perry scored the only goal off a beautiful snipe over the glove hand of Steve Mason which ended up being the game deciding goal.
From the perspective of the Flyers, this is obviously a difficult one to take in. However, they should be able to take a lot of positives out of the game. To begin with, they had 55 shots! John Gibson stole the game from the Flyers. To make it even more impressive that the Flyers couldn't get at least one more past him was the fact that he didn't seem as if though he was really at the top of his game. There were a plethora of shots that Gibson did not handle well. One of the reasons that the Flyers didn't score was that they did not crash hard enough for rebounds on those muffed shots. This allowed Gibson to handle the rebounds.
Another point of emphasis that needs to be addressed is the goaltending. When a team loses the game with the shots the way they were, the first instinct is to look at how the goaltending was. To begin with, why was Mason the goaltender in the first place? He had to come out of the game on Friday with an injury. Now with the Flyers already missing goaltender Michael Neuvirth injured already, is it really worth the risk of throwing Mason back out there after an injury? Also Anthony Stolarz playing the way that he is. He has done nothing to lose trust in him. I'm not saying that Mason should not be the number one goalie, I am simply stating that Stolarz should get more opportunities to prove himself. However, Sunday night Mason was in goal and it is tough to blame him for the first two goals, but the third one was dreadful. Then after the third one, Mason was solid including multiple grade A saves in overtime. Therefore, Mason has the ability to be a top tier goaltender, his consistency needs to get back to the way it was in the beginning of December.
Overall, let's hope that this is a large step in the right direction for the Flyers who return home to face the Rangers on Wednesday night. This would be the perfect time for them to get back to form as the Rangers are an elite team in this league and the Flyers need to avenge their loss on Black Friday.