On Saturday we destroyed the Florida Panthers. It looked too easy. We controlled the flow of the game, had over 40 shots, and slept through the third period. But then again, that’s the Panthers. Last night we played an Ottawa team coming off of 5 wins in 6 games, and also playing well. It should have been a test, it should have been a battle. Instead, we continued our red hot play, and smoked yet another team. Another 5 goals for us, 1 for them, a heavy shot advantage, and a satisfied Philadelphia crowd.
Leading the way is Mike Richards. While Sergei Bobrovsky and Claude Giroux are the talk of the town, it’s been Richie quietly playing at the level that we’ve come to expect from him. He started slow, but not he looks like he has in years past. He’s had a pair of goals in each of the past two games, with two at even strength, one with a man advantage, and one while shorthanded. During his first 3 years, he was a fresh face, constantly surprising us and giving us something to talk about. Then last year he was an absolutely unstoppable force for the first three playoff rounds. He was shut down in the Finals, and didn’t score his first goal this year until the seventh game of the year. Of our 6 losses this season, four of them came before he found the back of the net. Since that game, we’re 9-1-1, and he’s 2nd on the team in points, and third in goals.
While El Capitan is doing his thing, it seems every line is following suit. Briere-Leino-Hartnell cycle the puck at will. They do a great job of keeping the pressure high when on offense. They combined for 10 shots last night. Carter is starting to play much, much better on the wing, as he too continues to have chances. He didn’t register a point last night, but also threw the puck on net 6 times. I’m not one who cares about shooting percentage, I just want the most talented guys to have the most opportunities. And with Carter, I say just let him fire away, and a few will go in from time to time.
JVR was back in the lineup after being scratched for the past 4 games. As usual, there were a few flashes of good play, and nothing more. Didn’t someone recently say he’s a bust?
Finally, Bobrovsky continues to make the Flyers scouts look brilliant. Stats aren’t the best way to judge him, but he is near the top in nearly every category. More importantly is the type of saves he’s making, and the type he’s not. But I want to dedicate a post to that, so keep an eye out for it.
Anyway, we’re back on the grind tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. They’re coming off a 7-2 win over Carolina, and will look for a small measure of revenge for last years Eastern Conference Finals. We’ll be pretty familiar with these guys in the near future because we face them again next week, and again in a month.
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