Michael DeNicola

11/02/10

 

There is so much to talk about from last night's fourth consecutive Flyers win. Where to even start? Do I begin with telling you that Scott "*Captain Gravity" Hartnell punched in two goals? What about the fact that he has at least a point in seven of the last eight tilts? Or that Claude Giroux has made more jaws drop than the entire US Navy on leave in the Red Light District!?!?

What about Bob? Sergei's nuclear quick reactions in net left some of the Hurricane skaters looking up to the Wells Fargo's roof wondering how in the hell they're gonna shovel one past him.

Or perhaps I should come out of the gates mentioning Adirondack Phantoms' winger, Eric Wellwood, was called up and made his NHL debut, impressing every set of eyes watching his front line?

 

Like I said, there's much to discuss.

The 1st Star of the game was given to Scott Hartnell, and rightfully so, who scored two of the three Flyers goals.

The first lit lamp came off his backhand after finding Jeff Carter's ricocheted shot just in front of Carolina's net tender, Justin Peters' crease to give the Flyers a 1 - 0 lead in the 1st period. 

Once again, midway through the 3rd, Jeff Carter assisted on another Scott Hartnell goal which put the Flyers up 3 - 1.

I'm sure you're all aware that last night began Daniel Briere's 3-game suspension handed down from NHL's principal disciplinarian, Colin Campbell, for his cross-check to the head of Islander's forward, Frans Nielsen in Saturday evening's game.

It's never a good thing to have a star player ride a lengthy suspension, especially one who centers the Flyers most consistent scoring line. However, Jeff Carter really stepped up to the plate and ended the night with 2 assists off Hartnell's stick.

"We don't change things up from line to line. We try to play relentless Flyers hockey, get it in, cycle, change sides and get to the net. When we're doing that, we're a real effective hockey team," Scott Hartnell said in an interview after the game.

Well it doesn't take an individual from the Mensa society to see that Scotty was, without a doubt, correct. 

 

*  *  *

 

That Philadelphia attendance last night should be ashamed. I felt like I was listening to some mid-western suburban high school crowd. Their lack of intensity and decibel levels couldn't wake a child with ears big enough to cover a military hummer.

I swear, the camera cut to a few businessmen sitting ice-row (behind the glass) after the second potted rubber from Hartnell, and their reactions were the equivalent of a couple of parents clapping for their 4 year old after he took his first shit in a toilet and not in his Osh Kosh B'gosh overalls.

I was honestly embarrassed. Just before the season started, a hockey magazine had voted this city's hockey crowd to be the toughest to play in front of in the league.

Toughest?

You could of tossed thousands of kittens in the seats licking the petals off of sunflowers, and they would of been more intimidating than our attendance.

 

Despite the arena filled with fans less expressive than Ben Stein, players like Claude Giroux and Sergei Bobrovsky put on a clinic.

Giroux bucketed a power play slap shot that burned the hair off Justin Peters' stick-side arm. He also made moves with the puck that could deke an oil rig out of its anchored, aquatic foundation. To say Claude's a "rising star" is underrated. He's already one of the best in this league and will give any opposing coach a throbbing headache.

Bobrovsky stopped 26 of 28 Carolina shots and finally felt comfortable stopping chances dead from outside his crease. We all know he's lightning quick, but he's also progressing to this North American-style of hockey faster than expected, making Flyers goalie coach, Jeff Reese, happier than Cher in a wig shop.

Bob made his fourth consecutive start in net and has yet to disappoint. Even last night the only goals against him were a breakaway wrister from Patrick Dwyer, and a puck that seemed to bend time and space cutting through six or seven players in front of his crease after Carolina pulled Peters with minutes to go in the 3rd period. So there were no easy or sloppy goals allowed by Bob all night long, which I hate to say, has become almost expected from our goalies in recent seasons. Sergei's performance was just another giant sigh of relief.

 

*  *  *

 

So we won four straight.

Amazing.

Fantastic.

Forget about it. That's right, forget this streak and focus on Thursday night's game versus the New York Rangers. The last thing this team needs are over inflated egos skating out there expecting talent to win this one over Thursday. The Flyers did exactly that in the beginning of this season and it started off a bumpy road. 

Use the momentum and lessons learned from the winning streak and treat this coming bout against the Rangers like it's April 11th, 2010 all over again.

These early divisional wins are what feed and pump the lifeblood in the standings. We've already outmatched the Penguins defeating them 2 games out of 3. We've pretty much sent a message to the Islanders that once again they'll remain in the bottom of the Atlantic barrel.

Now it's time to begin digging the Rangers' grave, and burying them in it.

You better bet your net worth that they haven't forgotten about Game 82 last year. We're the reason they missed out on the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, and it just chapped their ass we made it to the promised lands. They'll be coming for blood. They'll want to begin this season's rivalry with a message. 

What does this all mean?

They are a very...very dangerous opponent. Sure, they have their problems with injuries, but it hasn't stopped the Rangers from tying for 2nd place in our division with the Penguins. They have their targets set on 1st and the only way they'll get it is if we GIVE it to them.

The Flyers are the better team, but the question is.....will we prove it?

 

*Gotta give credit to my buddy for the "Captain Gravity" nickname on Hartnell. Hilarious, sir!