The Philadelphia Flyers looked to come out of the Olympic break fresh and energized. Things did not go as planned. After a good first period where the Flyers held a 2-1 lead, the San Jose Sharks exploded in the second period for five goals and a 6-2 lead. The Flyers looked rusty and uninspired.
The Flyers are competing for a playoff spot and this was a huge step backward. Their team defense completely vanished after allowing just five shots in the first period. Players were left alone in front of the net, putting home easy scoring chances.
With the trade deadline less than a week away, general manager Paul Holmgren has to be concerned after tonight’s effort. He previously stated he did not foresee the need to make any big changes, but he’s been known to say one thing and do another.
One game is by no means a reason to panic, but they cannot afford to have poor efforts become a habit. The Flyers won four straight games heading into the Olympic break and hoped to carry their momentum over.
Coach Craig Berube pulled starting goalie Steve Mason in the second period to try to mix things up. The team did not respond and backup Ray Emery allowed three goals and then Berube put Mason back in net about half way through the third period. It is extremely rare for a goalie to go back into a game unless the back up is injured. Emery appeared to be fine and sat on the bench the rest of the game, never going to the locker room for assistance.
The Flyers play again Saturday afternoon against Metropolitan Division rival New York Rangers. They cannot afford to play poorly as the Rangers are one of the teams they are contending with for a playoff position.
If the Flyers fail to play well Saturday, then Holmgren may feel the need to mix things up and make a trade.