TAMPA, Fla. — Apparently, the Flyers don’t play their best hockey until they’ve spotted the best team in hockey a three-goal lead.
Once again, the Flyers dug themselves out of a third-period crater, erasing a three-goal deficit against the Lightning and once again, they lost on the first shift in overtime, 6-5.
Is Claude Giroux’s goal the play of the year and what happened to Nolan Patrick?
• Similar to the game at the Wells Fargo Center in November, the Flyers displayed incredible resiliency. It took a fortuitous goal off the skate of Dale Weise, but that ignited the Flyers to score three unanswered goals in the first 8:30 of the third period.
• The Flyers had no answer again for the Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson line. The trio were skating at will with countless chances, swarming in the offensive zone. It looked too easy and through two periods, that line had three goals with five assists.
• Don’t blame Tampa’s first goal on the Flyers' defensemen. Even with the dynamic line combination of Point, Kucherov and Johnson, you need tight gaps and a commitment by all five players on the ice. The Flyers made it way too easy and Giroux can’t stop skating once he crosses his blue line. I wonder if Giroux is conditioned to play defense as if he’s still at left wing, instead of center. He failed to pick up Kucherov or negate the pass from Johnson on the goal.
• However, Giroux has the ability to make up for mistakes, proving why he’s one of the most skilled players in the world as he put on an exhibition skating between three Lightning players. Maybe the goal of the season.
WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS THIS, GIROUX?? pic.twitter.com/bmsffAepDo— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 28, 2018
• Michal Neuvirth can’t be too pleased with Andrew MacDonald, who was overpowered in front of the Flyers' crease on the Lightning’s first power play that resulted in Point’s 2-1 goal. MacDonald obstructed Neuvirth’s ability to make the save. For most of this season, MacDonald has been a liability on the penalty kill and part of a bigger problem, where personnel is the bigger issue within that unit.
You can see MacDonald on his back side here.
• Speaking with former colleague and NBC analyst Brian Boucher during the morning skate, we both liked the makeup of the Flyers' third line of Scott Laughton, Nolan Patrick and Michael Raffl, especially if Patrick can ever get it going. Raffl now has a goal in back-to-back games. If the Flyers fall back in the playoff chase, I think a team like the Bruins or Capitals would look to add a player like Raffl, who plays a heavy game when he’s engaged.
• I look at Patrick and I just see a player with no confidence right now in his game. He’s not a threat offensively because he rarely has the puck on his stick, and he appeared to be in some sort of pain on Steven Stamkos’s goal from the slot that gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead as he stood to the left of Neuvirth. He left the game at that point and never returned with an upper-body injury.
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