Saturday nights contest between the Flyers and Thrashers was a typical type of battle for this time of year in the NHL.
First you have the Flyers a team playing well and moving up the standings. Doing their best to assert themselves, and solidify a spot in the playoffs.
Then you have the Thrashers, a team on the outside looking in. Only a few points out of a playoff spot, and desperate for points. With games running out, nearly every night is a must win.
Anyone in the NHL will tell you, that beating a desperate hockey team can be harder than beating some of the best teams in the NHL.
The Thrashers defeated the Flyers 5-2. The Flyers gave up something you simply can not afford to give up to a team playing desperation hockey like the Thrashers are, momentum. With momentum comes confidence, and mix confidence with desperation, and you have a lethal combination. One that did the Flyers in Saturday night.
Just goes back to what has been a constant problem virtually all season long for this Flyers team, consistency. Some nights the Flyers look like a team that could easily compete for the East, others they barely look like a playoff caliber team. When asked whether or not he was surprised by the result of Saturday nights contest defensemen Chris Pronger replied, “Not really? That seems to be our M.O. We haven’t been able to get any consistency throughout the course of the season. We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. We need to find it.”
Heading into the stretch run, the Flyers can ill-afford to be playing so inconsistently. The playoffs are a grind, and teams that come in to them slightly inconsistent will find themselves going home sooner rather than later.
Head coach Peter Laviolette summed it up best. ““You can talk the talk,” Laviolette said. “Ultimately, it comes down to how you walk.”
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)