And, after also following up with, "Ps what the hell was gaborik doing?" this:
Carcillo is still the biggest wet pussy on a team loaded with them. I heard u and ur old man were still in therapy after the eagles got utterly ass raped by the gayboys twice in a row
They seem a bit bitter. But I love it. 8 and 0, of course, signifies the amount of goals the Flyers have scored (8) and the amount of goals the Rangers have scored (0) in the teams' last two meetings. The first was a 6-0 trouncing, and last night, the Flyers played suffocating defense in a 2-0 victory. It's always nice to have the upper hand in the smack talk, though really, they could just come back with, "How did that World Series pan out?" Still, it's always fun to beat New York, especially when it really is a heated rivalry like the Flyers and Rangers.
If you didn't watch last night's game, first of all, kill yourself. Secondly, you missed a truly awesome defensive performance from the Flyers. They held the red-hot Rangers to just 24 shots, with Ray Emery stopping all 24 (though to me, he still looked jittery back there and had trouble controlling rebounds), hounded every player that dared enter the Flyers zone, blocked a trillion shots, and cleared any rebound that may have been in harm's way. New York's leading goal scorer and the fifth-leading goal scorer in the NHL, Marian Gaborik, was completely invisible, putting up a goose egg in terms of shots. Well, completely invisible with the exception of this:
That's what you call a K.O. What in the hell was Gaborik thinking right there? Honestly, I'd like to know. Later in the game, with a slew of players in the penalty box, you could see Sean Avery yapping at Carcillo, calling him a fucking pussy for jumping Gaborik. Watch what happened again. Carcillo didn't do anything of the sorts. In an act of insanity, Gaborik provoked Carcillo and actually dropped the gloves first. As in, New York's best offensive player and one of the best snipers in the game decided to take on a player who makes a living by fighting. And he paid the price. Big time. Add to that the fact that the Flyers had to be without the services of a fourth-line winger, albeit a very good one, for five minutes while the Rangers lost their best offensive weapon for five minutes and it makes it even more insane. Marian Gaborik done lost his damn mind there. There's no other explanation. He never stood a chance in that fight, and right then, even with the score just 1-0 at the time, I knew the Flyers were going to win. They were in New York's head.
That point was driven home when head
Of course, Tortorella wasn't only the one running his mouth on the Rangers. Sean Avery wouldn't shut the hell up, and he got destroyed by Scott Hartnell for it:
The best part about that is Avery is such a fucking moron that he let Hartnell bait him into the dropping the gloves WHILE THE RANGERS HAD THE PUCK IN THE FLYERS ZONE! We'll take that every time, especially when it results in Avery getting taken to the ice on two punches. Thanks, Sean. And of course, with a game that featured four fights (the other two were Carcillo-Avery (not much happened, though Avery did land more blows) and Voros-Asham (again, not much happened)) there was plenty of smack talk going on. Brandon Dubinsky, who didn't do a single thing in the game besides march to the penalty box, was throwing out "fucking pussy" rants toward Flyers all night long, yet he's the one who earned a roughing minor to taking a cheap shot, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for berating a referee and, uh, that's about it. You can call the Flyers pussies all night long if you want, but they were the aggressors, the ones throwing the big checks and playing impenetrable defense, and yeah, winning. You know, by actually scoring goals. Like James van Riemsdyk's beauty goal off his own rebound thanks to an insanely awesome outlet pass from Chris Pronger and Mike Richards' back-breaking power play goal with less than 3 seconds remaining in the 2nd period.
Offensively, the Flyers didn't get all that many more chances than New York, only registering 27 shots themselves, but the Flyers definitely controlled the play. The Asham-Giroux-JVR line has picked up right where it left off when they were playing together earlier in the season. JVR and Giroux look like they know where each other is at all times; there's just a chemistry there that's uncanny. Those two have made so many incredible passes to one another over the last two games that it just seems silly to ever break them up again. The Carter-Briere-Hartnell line continued to do its thing, Betts-Carcillo-Laperriere line played ridiculous awesome defense and the Richards-Gagne-Powe line did just about everything. Richards had that look right from the start that he was going to have a big game, and he sure did. It started with a big hit on the giant Brian Boyle, peaked with his power play goal and ended with him telling Avery just how stupid he is at the end of the game, or so I imagine. The two were exchanging some words as the game was ending.
But the most impressive thing about that game last night was the play of the Flyers defensemen. Chris Pronger has simply continued to be everything the Flyers had hoped he'd be. In today's fast-paced game, it wouldn't be surprising if a guy like Chris Pronger struggled to keep up. We already saw that before in Derian Hatcher, who took a long time to adjust to the new NHL before ultimately doing so and playing pretty well. But Pronger has had no such troubles. The man is the definition of a shutdown defenseman. He always takes the right angle to the puck, uses his long strides and insane reach to get to every puck and takes out players with the best of them. He stands up at the blue line, pokes pucks away from dangerous spots and frankly, I've never seen a defenseman spring the team in transition any better than Pronger. It's a shocker when he doesn't hit the tape on an outlet pass. Just look at JVR's goal as an example. Last night, he was simply awesome again.
As was Kimmo Timonen, who continues to be the most underrated defenseman in the entire NHL. Timonen and Pronger were absolutely the best two players on the ice last night. Every time Gaborik stepped on the ice, either Timonen or Pronger was there to meet him. And they combined to blank the potent sniper. As in zero shots and zero chances. Timonen does so many of the little, subtle things, which is precisely why he is so overlooked on a grander scale. You really have to watch this guy night in and night out to understand just how awesome he is. Whether it's getting the puck to a fellow defenseman, wedging a player off the puck, cutting down angles on shots/passes, blocking shots, sweeping the puck out of harm's way, cutting off skating angles, whatever, Kimmo is a master at it. Defensively, you'd be hard-pressed to find another defenseman in the Eastern Conference that is so good at everything as Kimmo. Last night, he shut down everything the Rangers attempted when he was on the ice. Everything. Add in the sound, solid hockey that Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle played alongside Pronger and Timonen, and it's easy to see why the Rangers had so much trouble generating any offense. The Flyers got to every loose puck, secured every rebound and moved out of their zone with relative ease all night.
Plus, the Flyers got excellent minutes from their third defense pairing as well. I thought last night was the best game Oskars Bartulis has played as a Flyer. Over the past month-plus, Bartulis has been asked to play a bigger role with Ryan Parent and Danny Syvret shelved with injuries. And with more burden to carry, he's elevated his game, steadily improving each and every time out there on the ice. Well, last night, I think he was at his best yet. I don't remember Bartulis making a single mistake last night. Not a one. He nullified every Ranger he marked, won puck battles and always seemed to make the right play. I don't think he was beat to a single puck all night. When you add in the effort oft-injured Ole-Kristian Tollefsen brought, I never once felt unsafe with that duo on the ice. Even though OK Tollefsen hasn't seen the ice much this season due to injury, he played very well against the Blue Jackets the other night, and last night, seemed in sync with everything Bartulis was doing. Those two looked like they had been playing together all season long instead of just a few games. They were always there to support one another and had great communication all night. As did all of the Flyers defensemen, and all the forwards who did a tremendous job backchecking.
It very well may have been the best defensive effort of the season for the Flyers. The Rangers really never threatened save for one little flurry. That was it. The Flyers shut all doors from then on. I think Peter Laviolette's aggressive, neutral-zone lock defensive system is really benefitting these defensemen. They're encouraged to pinch in the offensive zone and join the rush, keeping them heavily involved on both ends of the ice. As a result, it looks as though they're even more focused and never caught on their heels defensively, resulting in suffocating efforts like last night. Any time you can limit the Rangers like that, especially with a world class goaltender at the other end, it's big.
If the Flyers can come away from this home stand with a couple more victories, they may just finally be able to make a push toward the fifth, maybe even fourth spot in the conference. Because now, after a very tough adjustment period, the Flyers are looking completely comfortable and excited in Laviolette's system, both offensively and defensively. And we all know the Flyers have the talent to play with the best of them. Now they just might have the formula too.