Offense sizzles, defense sleeps

Fifteen Flyers were in the scoring column Thursday _ their most since a 1988 game in Detroit.

Led by winger Nik Zherdev, five Flyers had at least two points, and six scored goals.

So how did they manage to drop an 8-7 decision to shorthanded Tampa Bay at the Wells Fargo Center?

The defense took the night off.

In franchise history, it equaled the most goals ever scored by the Flyers in a loss.

Rookie goalie Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky (four goals on 11 shots) had his first bad game as a Flyer, and Brian Boucher (four goals on 22 shots) looked rusty in his first appearance since Oct. 25.

But the defense offered little resistance in front of them. As a result, the Flyers have their first two-game losing streak in nearly a month.

“It’s so disappointing. We really felt we let it slip,” winger Jody Shelley said. “We started to get frustrated too early with different things and that’s exactly what they wanted. They had a good road game and we didn’t step up, elevate our game like we should have; not until the last two minutes in the third. They took the points.”

“It was a crazy game. Tough to get a handle on it on both ends,” Boucher said. “Unfortunately we came out of it on the bad end....Probably the weirdest game I’ve played in in my career.”

The Flyers blew three two-goal leads.

“We weren’t very good in front of our goaltender,” said coach Peter Laviolette after Steven Stamkos' hat trick sparked Tampa.  “I can’t say that we were very good defensively. There were point-blank chances, whether they were power play or even strength; we gave up opportunities against guys that can score goals. We needed to be tighter and we weren’t.”

Bobrovsky wasn’t pleased with his performance, but said it wouldn’t carry into the next game. It was his 12th straight start, and he said he didn’t want to use fatigue as an excuse.

“This is not really a tragedy; it happens to every goaltender,” he said, through a translator, of his rare off night. “…You need to get over it and forget about it.”

Asked if he would like a day off, a smiling Bobrovsky said: "This is a very risky question and I'm not going to answer."

For the second straight game, the Flyers were beaten because of special teams. Tampa was 3 for 9 on the power play, while the Flyers were 0 for 4. In Tuesday’s 3-0 loss in Montreal, the Canadiens’ PP was 2 for 6, while the Flyers were 0 for 8.

In their 12 wins, the Flyers are 16 for 55 (29 percent success rate) on the power play.

In their eight losses, they are 1 for 35 (2.9 percent) on the PP.

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   The Flyers' schedule doesn't get easier. They will play in Washington on Saturday, then host Montreal on Monday.

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