Friday, November 5, 2010

No Shootout Necessary

Prior to last night, the last time the New York Rangers were in Philadelphia, the right to play in the postseason was on the line. The winner was in, the loser out. To make the game even more intense, it went to a shootout, with the Flyers prevailing and ultimately winding up in the Stanley Cup Finals.

This time around, there would be no shootout necessary, as the Flyers scored four unanswered goals to easily defeat the Rangers 4-1 for their fifth straight victory.

The Flyers set the tone early with lockdown defense, limiting the Rangers to just two shots on net in the first period. Then, after surrendering a power-play goal to Brandon Dubinsky, the Flyers answered with a power-play goal of their own, and did so in impressive fashion.

How Claude Giroux was able to fire a cross-ice, backhanded pass right on the tape to Mike Richards I'll never know. But then again, this is what we've come to expect from Claude at this point. Hell, it's what I expected from him all along. And last night, Keith Jones sounded an awful lot like me, saying after that awesome assist by Giroux that was capped off by a great finish from the captian, "A couple of years ago the Peter Forsberg comparisons seemed a bit far-fetched. Now every night he does something that reminds you of Peter Forsberg." Those may not have been his exact words, but it was something close … and something I've been saying since the first time I saw him play.

There's just something really special about this guy, and he gets more impressive every time he takes the ice.

That was the goal that set things off. Then it was a couple of former New York Rangers that piled on, with Blair Betts stripping the puck from Michael Del Zotto and then beating his former teammate Henrik Lundqvist for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Then to rub salt in New York's wound, the oft-critized during his days as a Ranger Nikolay Zherdev scored six minutes later on another assist by Giroux to make it 3-1 before the second period was through. That had to absolutely eat at Rangers fans — seeing a guy who was widely viewed as an incredible underachiever in New York beginning to thrive down I-95 in the Orange and Black.

Chris Pronger continued his assault on goaltenders from the point with yet another rocket blast that found the back of the net in the 3rd for good measure, converting on the power play for the second time on the night.

With a four-goal lead, Sergei Bobrovsky did the rest. The youngster was outstanding yet again, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced, including all 10 in the final period. He far out-played his counterpart, the much heralded Henrik Lundqvist. And the way he's been playing so far, Bobrovsky just may be the franchise goaltender the Flyers have long been looking for.

That's certainly no guarantee, of course. We've seen plenty a young goaltender show promise only to fizzle. But right now, the 22-year-old looks legit. The way he's playing, Michael Leighton could never come back as far as I'm concerned and I'd be OK with it. I'm loving Bob.

This really was quite an impressive win for the Flyers coming against a hated division rival, and one that came in playing very good hockey. The Rangers were coming off back-to-back wins including one against the defending Stanley Cup champions, and entered last night just two points behind the Flyers in the standings. But the Flyers went out and beat the Rangers in just about every phase of the game. The only clear-cut victory New York got was in the battle of the heavyweights, with Derek Boogaard besting former Ranger Jody Shelley.

Other than that, it was all Flyers. Not a single player finished with a minus rating last night. Andrej Meszaros returned in impressive fashion, playing nearly 22 minutes and finishing a plus-2. Eric Wellwood showed that he's probably going to be sticking around. And the Flyers are really looking like a team determined to finish at the top the Eastern Conference.

That's exactly where they are right now 13 games into the season, leading the East with 17 points and trailing only the Kings in the entire NHL, who have 18 points in 12 games. The only noticeable weakness this team has is in the faceoff circle, something that has been a problem for a few years now. But this team always seems to find a way to work around that and win some big ones when they really need to.

Other than that, the Flyers are about as complete a team as there is in the league. Their defense is second to none. Their offense has three highly explosive lines and depth all over the place, plus the fourth line has done a great job chipping in. And Bobrovsky is playing like a top-notch goalie.

There's still a long way to go in this season, and a lot can happen between now and the spring. But the Flyers are off to one hell of a good start. Unlike last year, I don't think a shootout will be necessary to determine this team's fate.


  1. While the Flyers defense was ass tight in this game, the officiating was horrid. Those refs should have their fuckin legs broken for the way they called that game. They handed the Flyers a PP goal on a bogus call on Boogaard when he after he and Shelly scrummed on the boards Boogie gave him a love tap on the ass and they gave him 2 mins for that. But meanwhile Timonen got nothing for shoving Callahan into the boards from behind when they went in to corner. Then later that little piece of shit pussy ass Carcillo leaves his feat for a high head hit on Fedotenko and GETS NOTHING. Prust got a little payback later by beating his ass. Fuck Carcillo he is such a cheap shot artist pussy. This is why the Instigator rule has to go other wise Pussies like this will keep taking head shots at guys and keep the sticks up without fear of having a teammate jump in and fuck up his shit right then and there. The Flyers may not need a shootout this year to get in the show, but the Rangers will be there as well and i hope to god they meet in the playoffs and the Rangers will knock the shit out of them then put them on the corner to make them some money after the series.

  2. I'm sorry, all I heard in my head reading that long, rambling, homer-ific comment was: "WWWAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

    What from that game gave you any indication the Rangers could beat the Flyers in a playoff series? Especially with Lundqvist giving up 4 goals on 21 shots.

    Talk to me when the Rangers actually make out of (or even to) the first round.

  3. The Rangers will make some noise in the playoffs this year, remember that. All you have to do is get in and anything can happen, Your team of d-bags last year is proof of that. They got the 8th seed and rose their lucky rabbits feet all the way to the finals. There's nothing saying the Rangers can't do that this year. And before last night Lundqvist had stopped 69 of 71 shots with a shutout and holding the Hawks to 2 goals. Hank is a top 5 goalie in the league and the Flyers once again Have no goalie like that. Boucher & Leighton are not true #1 cup caliber goalies now. That is gonna be your weakness again.

  4. You're right, all you have to do is get in and anything can happen. Well done. Here's where you make it so damn easy.

    Is Lundqvist a great goalie? Yes, yes he is. At least in the regular season. He's never really had a great playoff, but to be fair, his team's never been that great.

    However, the Flyers had no goalie last year and got to the Finals. Chicago had no goalie and won the whole thing. The Pens won with Fleury, who is really talented but inconsistent. The Red Wings won with Chris Osgood for christ's sake. Canes with Cam Ward. You get the idea.

    Point being, you don't need a dominant goaltender anymore to win a cup. That's been well documented. It certainly doesn't hurt to have one, but you don't need one. What you need is a great defense, which the Flyers have. Arguably the best in the NHL.

    And in case you haven't been paying attention, which clearly you haven't been, Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing great in net this year. He's started 5 straight games, and the Flyers have won them all.

    Regardless, we'll see how the season plays out. But this much I know - the Flyers are better than the Rangers right now. Just like they were last year. The game was proof of that.

    Dubinsky and Callahan are nasty though.

  5. I see what ur saying, this discussion will be on going. i will have info to come back at you with. probably over thanksgiving. Right now i'm too lazy to type it all out right now and i wanna start researching a state gun permit in conjunction with some job training i'm looking at. i see a good football weekend this week in Phily with Indy coming in.