42 freaking shots on Curtis McElhinney, and only two goals to show for it. 5 powerplays, and NOTHING to show for it. Now we’re sitting 1-3 on this homestand, with only one game left. I think we can officially say that we’re suffering a Stanley Cup hangover. We just do not look like the dominating force that we turned in last years playoffs. I might as well stop talking about that, because it’s becoming more and more obvious that this just isn’t that same team anymore.
These powerplay issues are just ridiculous. Missing shots, no traffic in front, no pressure on the goalie. We’re wasting chance after chance by just not being aggressive enough. Getting shots in the general area code of the net is not enough, and they know it. Hartnell tries setting up in front, but he’s just not as good as Knuble or LeClair were for us in the past. And I don’t know who else on the club can even fill that role adequately. Should we at least look into sticking someone in the slot and feeding him (cough::Jeff Carter::cough)? It worked for years with Brett Hull, why can’t we pull it off? Short pass, hard shot from close range, and success may follow. But we can’t keep doing what we’ve doing thus far.
As for for our highly acclaimed defense, it still has way, way too many kinks in the armor. The second goal last night was a perfect example. Pronger’s defensive game is predicated on excellent angles and positioning, not speed. Instead of putting himself in a spot to defend Selanne, he decided to race him to the puck. The guys nickname is Finnish Flash for a reason, so it’s no surprise that he skated easily past Prongs and set up Jason Blake in front. Blake, by the way, was wide open because Carle decided to not cover a guy skating wide open down the middle of the ice. This is becoming typical of how the team plays defense this season. We only gave up 22 shots last night, but 2 of the 3 goals were very, very preventable. The first one is kinda on the goalie though, that’s another area of concern.
Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t looked so superb lately. I’m starting to see more and more why the Flyers management felt at least one season in the minors was necessary. He’s got the talent, the quickness, good reactionary skills, but just once in a while just doesn’t make the right save. The first goal was from near the blue line and there was no screen. The shot was incredible, but still, very stoppable. He simply went down early and got beat. The third goal, he needs to fall on it a bit faster. It’s like his quick reflexes are there 99% of the time, and sometimes just happen to disappear. Unfortunately, Boucher seems to have the same kind of flaws, and is not a long-term solution to the problem. And of course when Leighton returns, we can expect more goals going through the roof because every shooter in the league knows that he does down early.
So does it sound like panic mode yet? Maybe. By Monday we will have played about 10% of the season already. The early things that we expected to get sorted out, still haven’t been. I see Leino starting to look a bit better, and few guys stand out from time to time. But I don’t see the whole thing starting to come together. Richards, Carter, and Zherdev have combined for 3 goals so far, with El Capitan contributing none of those, and one of those goals being an empty netter. That’s another revelation that I should have picked up on earlier. I’ve mentioned this in the past, that the team goes as Richards goes. When he slumps, everything else seems to get bogged down. When he picks things up, the entire team plays better. He’s our lifeblood, and if we’re hoping to have any success, we need more from him. He’s doing a lot of the little things, and he somewat noticeable out there. But it’s not enough. He’s got the C on his chest for a reason. He needs to go out there and show why he earned it in the first place.
And dammit, this shit needs to start against the Maple Leafs tomorrow. No more waiting for things to come around. We need a freaking jolt. Last night I expected a bit more fight out of the Flyers, a bit more grit and toughness. Aside from an ok fight between Shelley and Parros, it wasn’t there. When we brough Meszaros in, I thought he’d be crushing people through the boards left and right. Yesterday I saw him throw one nice hit, and that was all. Toronto comes into the game tomorrow sitting atop their division, and judging by their roster, it’s because of a total team effort. Maybe we’ll learn a thing or two from this overachieving bunch. Maybe not. I don’t know, I just hope we can start scoring some freaking goals already. This shit is tough to watch.
Enjoy the Duck’s take on last nights game over at Ducks Daily Blog.
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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Andrej Meszaros Brett Hull Brian Boucher Broad Street Buzz Chris Pronger Curtis McElhinney George Parros Jason Blake Jeff Carter Jody Shelley John LeClair Michael Leighton Mike Knuble Mike Richards Nikolai Zherdev Philadelphia Flyers Scott Hartnell Sergei Bobrovsky Teemu Selanne Toronto Maple Leafs Ville Leino