From Dixie to Big Apple, Happy Hockey Day in America
After the Carolina Hurricanes went up on the Flyers, 2 - 0, less than halfway through the 1st period, it would take more than a Laviolette SMASH! to get the Orange & Black attack rolling.
Though Blair Betts cut into the deficit with a short handed goal in the 2nd, and Philadelphia defenceman Braydon Coburn knotted the game up late into the 3rd, Erik Cole and Jussi Jokinen went on a 2-on-1 into the Flyers zone and stuck it past Sergei Bobrovsky for the game winning goal in regulation time, Flyers-2 Carolina-3 Final.
Friday night was not a complete disappointment for the Flyers. They have a lot of momentum to ride on going into today's tilt versus heated rivals, The New York Rangers.
For one, the Bullies went short-handed six different times and killed off all of them. Including a 5-on-3 powerplay the 'Canes had the last few minutes of the 2nd period, and if it weren't for the amazing defensive play from forwards like Blair Betts and Darroll Powe, and netminder Sergei Bobrovsky's stops, the Flyers would have been lead by a bigger margin.
Speaking of Bob, he started off the match looking like a child amongst men. He was slow. His reaction timing made me think he was stoned. And he let in one of the worst 5-hole goals I have ever seen.
But after his horrendous start, he and Cam Ward battled out in one of the most epic goalie performances I have been lucky to witness. Although Bob only faced 23-shots and ended the evening with a less than 0.900 save percentage, he still had to make some clutch stops.
Bobrovsky may or may not be getting the nod today against the Rangers, but our grit and PK play shined prior to today's 12:30 match up. New York dishes a variety of different offenses and physicallities. There's no doubt killing off penalties will become a major importance in winning today.
Call me crazy, but I don't think it's our PK that Flyers fans are thinking about. In fact, I don't think it's the penalty we want to kill as much as league-wide hated Ranger, Sean avery.
If you can recall, the last time the Flyers went into the Garden and faced Avery and the Rangers, Pronger's linemate Matt Carle got into a tilt with Avery along the team benches. Sean lowered a couple sucker punches on the back of Matt's head while he was in a turtle position, which Avery's yet to pay for.
Perhaps today's the day?
Hell, Flyers nation hopes so. In fact, I'm sure it's not just Flyers nation begging one of our boys to skate past Sean and wrap a stick around his face, full throttle. I'll bet it's every squad within the league that's felt the end of Avery's garbage play hoping and praying he serves a sentence of a few teeth missing. Possibly....a few broken bones? Maybe a hit on him so hard that upon impact....he shits his pants and forgets how to compute division.
Personally I enjoy Avery in the league. He's a colorful player that adds entertainment and a brutal reminder of old time hockey on ice. But that doesn't mean I don't want Carcillo to skate in on him and turn Avery into a crash dummy.
But who am I kidding? More than likely nothing will happen. A few words shared across the benches. A couple dozen shoves and face washes. Nothing drastic. And maybe that's for the best?
The Flyers will need to focus on going up early in the match. Not only that, but they'll have to play with the lead. No more skating on their heels and allowing the opposition to get close. You don't want to allow this Rangers squad to do that. They aren't the Panthers.
Let's make it happen!