Michael DeNicola

03/09/11

 

Look at all the Flyers game reviews out there. They all mention the Flyers' 4-game "skid". I'm always excited to use different terminology than what I usually post because it keeps my material fresh and far from anything that's recycled, re-used, and boring.

But that's exactly what it was; a "skid"

Well, last night our Broad Street Mayhem broke that headache inducing slump by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4 - 1. It was Philadelphia's first victory over the Oil in nearly a decade.

Now, a lot of reports have gone out about Chris Pronger's reaction after the game. As you all know the Flyers went out in the 1st period determined to get the job done. You read it on all of their faces. No laughs, no smiles. Just stern expressions followed by dominating play all throughout the first 20-minutes. That was proven once the buzzer sounded and Philly went into the locker room leading 2 - 0 and keeping Edmonton to only one shot on goal to our seventeen.

“I’ve never faced anything like that before. Maybe when I was a kid,” Bobrovsky said through an interpreter. “It was unusual.” ~ Philly Sports Daily

 

So why would Pronger go off like he did in the locker room after the Flyers finally captured a 'W' since February 24th?

“We got off to a great start, but after that first period it was a little sporadic,” Pronger said after calming down. “We did a great job in the first period of limiting them, getting pucks deep, moving our feet. Doing the little things you got to do to win hockey games. 

“After that, the wheels fell off and we started turning pucks over, stopped moving our feet. Our gaps as defensemen got bad. Our forward gaps got bad. You turn pucks over like that, the other team is going to gain a lot of momentum.” ~ CSN Philly

 

This is a team who have virtually all season long allowed despicable opponents hang around in the game instead of burying them when we have the chance.

Of course Pronger's words paint no picture of his fuming animation that was reportedly heard outside the corridors of the Wells' locker rooms postgame. Sure we can all sit back, sip our beers and exhale with relief that our boys cut the head off this nightmarish on-ice depression, but at what cost?

Pronger's postgame scream parade was well warranted, in my opinion. Yes, we won, but in the last 40-minutes the Flyers were  held to only 10-shots on Oilers rookie netminder, Devan Dubnyk. If it weren't for some of the saves by our own rookie goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (who finished the evening with a 0.960 SV%, stopping 24 of 25 shots) then we're looking at a chance of giving up the lead to the worst franchise in the league this season.

“There’s winning and then there’s winning despite how you play,” Pronger shot back again. “You look at the last two periods and how you leave the rink, we still have a lot of work to do.” ~ CSN Philly

 

Have you seen Pronger on the ice? Have you looked into his eyes? The man's one click away from becoming an angry, tazed zoo gorilla. Had I been dressed in Orange & Black and a 6'6", 220-pound wall of fury was belting down on me I'd crap solid bricks of shame and masculinity.  

There's only one way we'll know if Pronger's words opened any locked doors within the heart and soul of our players, and we'll find out Thursday night when the Flyers hitch an iron bird up north to Toronto. 

 

But speaking of last night's match up, I have to stand and applaud Jeff Carter for being the first Flyer this season to reach 30 goals scored. He stepped out onto the ice at 7:00pm with 28, and left the rink tallying 30 to his resume. The more impressive factor is this is his third consecutive season potting 30 or more biscuits, and he accomplished this feat last night after being scratched in the prior 2-games for the flu and a death in the family.

His first of the night came off a tip-in on the Power Play. You read that correctly. We've finally sunk a power play goal. And this one was diiiiiirty.

Using his size to his advantage, Carter snuck in close to the crease and quickly fed on Briere's centered pass. Despite Dubnyk's glove attempts to  cover the puck, Jeff dug and dug until the vulcanized rubber lit the  game's second lamp, 2 - 0. First goal coming from Danny Briere's breakaway wrister he top shelfed in the ninth minute of the 1st.

Our Alternate Captain's second goal came early in the 2nd period when another crashing Carter caught Kimmo Timonen's set up pass and dished it in the net.

Later in the 3rd, Blair Betts sent the crowd on their feet when slapping the puck into an empty net, finalizing the win 4-goals to 1.

 

Things That Chapped My Ass

Aside from the obvious, there were two instances last night that really dug under my skin.

We're all aware that our power play's been less than effective and fortunate. But after Darroll Powe got crunched against the boards by Edmonton's defenceman, Ladislav Smid, a little over midway through the 1st, the Flyers went on a 5-minute man advantage.

Granted, Jeff Carter capitalized on a PPG but with 17-seconds left in the advantage. I understand that this may be the spark we need to get our power play going, but you had five full minutes to net as many goals as possible while having the extra man. You get one goal and it took you 4:43 to get it.

Maybe I'm overreacting and harping negatively on a positive notes. Hey, we got the PPG, amirite? "So chin up, Mike."

 

Okay, secondly......Claude Giroux. You know him. You love him. But you just wanna sit him down, take a second to collect what it is you want to say at him, and then ask "Why in the name of Zeus are you NOT firing the puck, Claude!?!?!"

Was it me, or did you also find yourself screaming at the television last night for Giroux to take the shot on goal when he's got his lane!? My brow went  up, my arms extended upward, and naturally "WTF!?" came spewing from my face.

Is someone talking to Claude about this issue? I can appreciate a player who doesn't play selfish hockey, but once in awhile it's alright to say "Screw the pass, I'm gonna make this netminder look silly" and then rip a blazing shot to the back of the net!

In no way, shape or form am I trying to get on Giroux's case. He's one of few of the Flyers I can name this season who's played every shift with all cylinders firing at once for every minute he plays in every period. But there's also not one player on our roster who doesn't have something to work on.

Taking a chance and putting the puck on net more often than he isn't is Giroux's demon.

 

 

But hey, we won. We've begun to dig ourselves out of this mud-filled hole and that's certainly something to lift your glass to. And here's to hoping we get some payback on Thursday when we meet up with the Maple Leafs.

Toronto's a club who has missed five straight playoffs, and frankly, I'd like to be a part of the reason they'll miss their sixth.

Check it out at 7:00pm on Comcast.

Good night. Good hockey.