Flyers Celebrate Kimmo Timonen’s Birthday and 1,000th NHL Game
By Andrew Kulp
Prior to the Flyers’ 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay, Kimmo Timonen reflected on the significance of turning 38 on Monday, and the career milestone he would achieve that night. Ever the professional, what mattered most to Timonen wasn’t blowing out a few candles, or even getting his name into the record books by appearing in his 1,000th NHL game.
The important thing was coming away with two points.
Unfortunately, predictably, a fairy-tale ending was not to be. Timonen is another year older, and he can always be proud of his accomplishments, but the Flyers once again were unable to gain any traction in the postseason race.
The defeat was like virtually any other the Orange & Black have suffered this year. They fell behind early, suffered defensive breakdowns, turned the puck over, generally lost the battles, took dumb penalties, and failed to squeeze at least one point out of their effort despite being tied with the Lightning after two periods.
As is becoming an epidemic for Philadelphia sports, they didn’t exactly catch many breaks, either. Flyers shooters rang at least three shots off the post and were denied on each, while Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell scored the game winner on a jumping, spinning deflection that looked like something Brian Boitano might try to pull off if he was handed a hockey stick.
That’s more or less where we are all at given the team’s dire situation in the standings, pointing fingers and holding each individual’s performance under the microscope. No one is pleased as the losses mount and the Flyers’ chances of making the playoffs become increasingly distant and/or irrelevant.
Nobody is enjoying it at all – least of all the man who was supposed to be celebrating a birthday and a milestone.
Peter Laviolette demoted Scott Hartnell from the top line for parts of the second and third periods after he took a completely unnecessary roughing penalty on Cory Conacher. Hartsy leveled Conacher with a perfectly legal check, then continued taking out his frustrations on the rookie forward as he jumped back into the play. Zac Rinaldo skated with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek until the late stages of the game, while Hartnell’s time on the ice was reduced to minimal fourth-line minutes and power plays.
Max Talbot was the best player on the ice for the Flyers, beating Tampa netminder Anders Lindback with the backhand after an absolutely dazzling move to get to the net [video below]. It seemed like he could be everywhere at once, registering a team-high six shots in 16-plus minutes of action.