A pair of matinees over the weekend put a lot of things in perspective for hockey fans in the city of brotherly love, as the Flyers lost back to back games against the Devils and Rangers.
Let’s see how long the list of problems was, while keeping the issue of goaltending aside because it will be beaten to death over the next couple of months.
Lethargic defensive pressure
Coming out flat at home…again
Giroux’s sudden goal scoring problems
Injuries finally starting to affect the team
Keeping the energy from the home crowd
The ever changing lines of Laviolette
The kryptonite that the Rangers have at MSG
Sorry it’s just impossible to talk about the Flyers without the goaltending being the main topic. Listen Ilya Bryzgalov played GOOD against the Rangers, he wasn’t exceptional, but his effort was much better than the last time he suited up at the world’s most famous arena.
There was nothing Bryz could do about the first Rangers goal that was scored by Artem Anisimov . The puck deflected off of Anisimov’s stick to the upper right part of the net, way out of Bryz’s reach. The same cannot be said however, for the wraparound goal that Marian Gaborik scored with just 5.2 seconds remaining the second period.
That garbage goal nullified what had been a pretty stellar period for Bryzgalov (13 saves on 13 shots up until that goal). Again the Flyers had to fight back from a deficit, but there was more than enough time for the ever opportunistic power play to tie the game.
Less than a minute into the 3rd Wayne Simmonds tied the game at two with his 17th goal of the year. The power play line of Giroux, Hartnell, and Simmonds has simply struck gold, but the goalies are still trying to reach their hand into that pot.
Michael Del Zotto would give the Rangers the lead for good just 36 seconds later as he put the puck through the five hole of Bryzgalov. I’m all for the league putting in a ticket machine like supermarkets have in the deli, but place it in the opposing locker room and when a five hole goal is scored against Bryzgalov you take a number. Right now the number being called would have to be around 81.
Now I haven’t even mentioned just how physical this game was, Simmonds did his usual chirping back in the 1st that led to a fight between him and Stu Bickel. It would be the first of four fights on the day.
Tom Sestito would register the first fighting hat trick of the season, his reward wasn’t hats thrown on the ice, but instead he got to put his hat on in the dressing room after receiving a game misconduct. His opponents in order were: Brandon Dubinsky, Stu Bickel, Brandon Prust. By my account Sestito won two of those fights.
Something about being down 6-0 to the Devils at home on Saturday, finally made the Flyers realize that they need to become more physical. That message did translate over to Sunday at MSG, but it just wasn’t enough.