Flyers fall in Gagne’s return

 Posted by at 12:40 pm
Oct 152010
 
Former Flyer Simon Gagne

Former Flyer Simon Gagne

October 15 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The lasting impressions in the Flyers‘ 3-2 loss to speedy Tampa Bay on Thursday night had more to do with Simon Gagne’s emotional return to South Philadelphia – and the home team’s sputtering power play.

Gagne, traded to Tampa Bay in July after 11 superb seasons with the Flyers, fought tears as a video tribute of his career was shown on the scoreboard during a first-period stoppage. He received a two-minute standing ovation at the Wells Fargo Center.

After the game, Gagne was teary-eyed as he described the moment, saying it ranked with winning an Olympic gold medal in 2002 and beating Boston in last season’s playoffs after losing the first three games of that series.

“It was awesome. Unbelievable,” Gagne said. “Someone told me before the game they were going to do a video. I knew they were going to cheer me, but to get a standing ovation like that, I wasn’t expecting that. That was a lot of emotion I went through there. It was a nice moment, something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Gagne, 30, went over the boards and onto the ice as the video was shown, and he said he had to look away from it because his eyes began to fill with tears.

“I was trying not to [cry], but it was hard,” he said. “I couldn’t look at the whole thing. I didn’t want to cry, but a lot of emotion went through.”

After the ovation, Gagne said, “I was a little lost out there on the ice.”

During the game, Gagne (one shot, minus-1) wasn’t much of a factor, but his teammates picked up the slack as the new-look Lightning (3-0) – who missed the playoffs last season – continued their impressive early-season play.

Goalie Dan Ellis, signed as a free agent in the off-season and making his Tampa Bay debut, turned away 24 shots, and defenseman Pavel Kubina scored what proved to be the game-winner on a long third-period shot that went off Brian Boucher’s pads and squeaked between his legs. The goal gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead.

“I thought I picked it up. To be honest, I thought I had it,” Boucher said. “It hit my pads hard and I was shocked to see that it went in.”

The Flyers (2-1-1) missed a chance to get points in each of their opening four games, a feat they last accomplished in 2003.

Contributing to the defeat was the Flyers’ anemic power play, which was 0 for 4, including a five-on-three advantage in which they managed just one shot in 1 minute, 13 seconds. In four games, they are 1 for 17 (5.9 percent) on the power play – a trend that started in the preseason (2 for 27, 7.4 percent).

“When you lose a game and the power play could have made the difference, it’s frustrating,” coach Peter Laviolette said.”

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