Michael DeNicola

02/25/11

 

Andrej "Clutch" Meszaros had this to say in a post game interview:

"I saw the top corner, and it was the only shot I got actually.That is the way I have been shooting in practice. I tried it and it went in. It was fortunate for me and for the team." 

Well, Andrej, keep firing those shots at practice....and games, while you're at it.

 

Last night our Philadelphia Flyers took on, and defeated, a streaking New York Islanders club but did so keeping every Bullies fan chewing their nails. Our fingers got a rest once Meszaros took a patient pass from Ville Leino and sent it packing past Al Montoya in Overtime, winning the tilt 4 - 3.

It was a pretty wrister that entered the net on Montoya's stickside high.

There were a lot of pretty plays in the match from both sides of the ice.

It was New York's Frans Nielsen who packed the first punch halfway through the 1st period putting the Flyers behind 1 - 0. An answering Mike Richards didn't show up until two minutes into the 2nd, tying the lit lamps with a turned-over puck deep in the slot.  

From there the Flyers took their lead to 3 - 1 with potted goals from James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter. Both goals, mind you, assisted by our game's First Star, Claude Giroux.

 

Although "Girouxvy" never sunk one past Montoya regardless of the 20-minutes of ice he received or the attempts he fired on net, he still managed to open eyes wide and drop jaws in awe as he displayed some of the best two-way playing I have ever seen.

We all know Claude's skating skill is that of a flight gifted hummingbird on ice, but seven minutes into the 1st period he strode and muscled his blades backward into our defensive zone and positioned himself to lay a hit on a speedy Frans Nielson against the boards. Immediately following the hipcheck the crowd electrified. The play made God himself ("herself" for...well, you know who you are) take a step back and ask, "Jesus! How did he do that?"

He simply never fails to amaze. Giroux's the ideal two-way playing NHL machine. Can I say he may even be the soul of this team? Dare I say it!? I DO!

Claude is the very hybrid player containing the speed and skillset it takes to win Cups in today's league while still embodying the Broad Street Bully incarnation of yester-year.

 

Now before I lead any of you further on to believing I was happy with last night's performance, I assure you I have a major problem with it.

Of course one of my problems being this season-long epidemic of not being able to play with the lead. Once Carter put the Flyers on top, 3 - 1, it was Matt Martin who potted two answering plants to send the tilt into OT. One of them passing Bobrovsky with only 29-seconds left in the 3rd and a pulled Montoya.

After Meszaros gave the Flyers their OT winning goal I noticed my Facebook wall blowing up. That's a natural and expected occurrence when our boys win.....especially excitingly in overtime.

I wasn't trying to play party pooper, but I decided to post my skepticism on how we keep failing to play with the lead. If this continues, we have much to worry about in a 7-game series this postseason.

Without any surprise I received a bunch of brouhaha. Friends told me I should be happy with the 'W' because a win's a win. I even received a message from a good buddy of mine and hockey guru, Sir Joseph Bogle, who I enjoy very much discussing hockey shop with.

He told me that we may have struggled in games but we're still adding their outcomes in the win column when last season we struggled and couldn't put half of them away like we're currently doing. So I've come off a bit spoiled, is what he told me.

My buddy makes a point and I understand, but I had exactly this to reply with:

"Far from the truth, considering my voiced displeasure is strictly circumstantial.

Have the Islanders gone the 7 - 3 in their past 10 like you said? Yes, and that does mean something regardless what position they hold in the standings. But looking at the roster of weapons and depth that we have that really should not have played an influential factor against a #1 conference leading team like the Flyers.

For the better part of the regular season we've had problems even putting some of the .500 clubs away. We'll go up two or three goals but it's never enough to settle my nerves. Point proven last night when we had gone up 3 - 1 and allowed a New York team stricken with injury and suspension, and built virtually of AHL personnel to hang in there. By this point in the season we should be establishing some playoff atmosphere and momentum.

Sure we've been winning, but just like gaining a lead in a game....I'm afraid our record is just another lead we don't know how to play with.

So I am not TRYING to come across as a spoiled fan who (in all reality) has only experienced one losing season since he's begun investing a large amount of energy in each Flyers season
[Ed. Note: I became a true diehard the very season after the lockout. I've mentioned this before]. I'm more or less holding last night's game under the microscope by itself and nothing more."

 

I apologize for not being able to separate that message into paragraphs, but for some reason the edit feature is not allowing me to do so.

Anyways, THAT'S my opinion. Am I happy we won? Absolutely. But I'm trying to take a look down the road a bit using our current performances as muse to construct an idea of how we'll react and play against another contending conference team.

Perhaps I'm worrying too much? Maybe I'm not the only one who feels this way. Our record says one thing, but there are factors hidden within the W and L columns I'm stressing over like a mother watching her 16 year old first born climb behind the wheel of a car.

 

Hopefully our boys in orange & black can compose my anxiety with the remaining handful of regular season match ups to come.

Speaking of which, don't miss Saturday's tilt against the Senators in Ottawa. Puck drop's at 7:00pm.

Good night. Good hockey.