Flyers late to the game

Posted: January 24, 2014

EVERYBODY KNEW the Flyers game started at 6 o'clock last night except for the Flyers themselves.

Showing the effects of not having an organized practice for nearly 48 hours, the Flyers dropped a sloppy, 3-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"We were second to pucks all night long, except for maybe a couple of shifts," said Scott Hartnell, who mentioned a similar layoff the Flyers had earlier this year. "We tried to sneak out another win, but when you're not playing great hockey, it's going to bite us in the ass real quick."

Last night's game was rescheduled from Tuesday because of the snowstorm and the team did not have a traditional game-day morning skate yesterday. Back in December, an unlikely ice storm hit while the club was in Dallas, resulting in 2 full days away from the ice. The Flyers were hammered by the Stars, 5-1.

"Yeah. We didn't skate for [the last] 2 days, but you can't use that as an excuse," said Wayne Simmonds, one of the few Flyers with pep in his skates. "You need to be mentally prepared, we're professional hockey players here. You can't use that as an excuse, we just have to have a better start - plain and simple."

The biggest highlights last night came from the Carolina guys, and there were a couple of doozies.

Alexander Semin, a wonderful talent who is so mercurial that he originally was left off Russia's Olympic team, scored on a world-class wrist shot that lasered over Steve Mason's right glove.

How bad were the Flyers in the first period? The three shots on goal they registered were on one shift. The Semin goal was the eighth time in the last 11 games they had given up the first goal. At this pace, they're going to give coach Craig Berube gray hair like President Obama.

Midway through the second period, Nathan Gerbe scored on one of the best moves of the year to make it 2-0.

A breakaway was created when the puck bounced past Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. With the puck free at center ice, Gerbe took off like a rocket. Schenn had to turn himself around and, compared to Gerbe, looked like somebody handed him a piano.

Gerbe tucked the puck between his legs then flipped it past Mason. It was the kind of move you see at the end of a practice when the guys are just horsing around.

"I've done it in the American League and I've tried it in juniors and all that," Gerbe said, "but not here [in the NHL]."

"That's a skilled play," Mason said. "It's tough for the goalie [because] it changes the angle . . . You see it more in shootouts when guys don't have back pressure on them."

The Flyers managed to tie the game when Claude Giroux scored late in the second period and assisted on Hartnell's power-play tally early in the third. The Flyers have won a franchise-record-tying nine games this season when trailing in the third and this was feeling like No. 10. Not so fast.

Mason seemed to be leaving more rebounds than usual last night and it came back to hurt him when Jiri Tlusty potted the game-winner following a play in which Braydon Coburn had broken his stick. Mason said afterward he was unable to see the shot from the point and thus couldn't prevent the rebound.

"We got what we deserved tonight," Mason said. "We're not playing well enough to win hockey games . . . the only positive thing out of this is we go right back at it tomorrow."

Winger Jake Voracek played 21 minutes, 6 seconds but did not register a shot on goal. He was probably the only player to benefit from Tuesday's unscheduled off day after he took a nasty slash from the Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck on Monday afternoon.

When he met with reporters following the game, Voracek strategically kept the hand buried in his pocket.

"I'm not going to lie, it was a little [difficult] to hold on to the stick," Voracek said. "But I don't use that as an excuse . . . I can still skate with the puck. Sometimes you have to play through injuries."

It was the first time Voracek didn't register a shot on goal since Oct. 6.

Actor David Boreanaz will sign autographs at Sunday's Flyers Wives Carnival from 2:30-3 p.m. The Carnival, which is one of the most entertaining fundraising events in professional sports, runs from 1:30-6 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, with a visit to FlyersCarnival.com or by calling 800-298-4200.

Claude Giroux is hosting a fundraiser on Monday, March 3 at North Bowl (909 N. 2nd St.) in Northern Liberties from 6:30-10 p.m. Visit www.ClaudeGiroux28.com.

The Flyers hustled out of the Wells Fargo Center last night for a flight to Columbus for tonight's game against the surging Blue Jackets (7, CSN).

Former Flyer and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has won each of his six starts and posted a .938 save percentage since returning from a groin injury that kept him out for most of December. If he gets the start, it would be the first of his career against the Flyers, who traded him for three draft picks in June 2012.

One of those picks ended up being Anthony Stolarz, a goaltender prospect for the Flyers playing in juniors. Stolarz recently sustained a frightening leg laceration and is out 4-to-8 weeks.

Columbus won its franchise-best seventh in a row on Tuesday as another former Flyer, R.J. Umberger, scored two goals to move into second place on the club's career goals list with 115. Only Rick Nash (289) has more.

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