Game 1 was a less than stellar result for the Philadelphia Flyers. The orange and black were dominated by the New York Rangers for most of the game. Despite the loss, there were a couple good things to pull from Game 1.
It’s not time to panic yet. Teams have lost Game 1 and have come back to win the series. If the Flyers want a chance of moving into the second round, they will need to do exactly what they did to create their first goal.
Stop it right there. Scott Hartnell’s aggressive forecheck.
The offense generated 15 shots over three periods Thursday night. Fifteen shots.
Point the finger at Jason Akeson all you want, but unless the Flyers have Patrick Roy in his prime, they will lose more than just one game if they cannot generate pressure on Henrik Lundqvist.
Watch Hartnell throw Ryan McDonagh into the boards and take the puck from him. That kind of relentless forechecking is what the Flyers need to do to win Game 2.
Hartnell then feeds a cross-ice pass to Andrew MacDonald, who scores to put the Flyers up 1-0. When the gif circles back, look at the traffic in front of Lundqvist. The Flyers will not be able to beat Lundqvist if he can see every shot. They need to get in front of him so he cannot see the puck. If he makes the initial save, then the forwards need to crash the net and swat at the rebounds. Pretty goals will not win Game 2, it is going to take some grit.
Stop it right there. Mats Zuccarello ties the game.
The Flyers lead did not last long. About three minutes after MacDonald scored, Zuccarello knotted the game at 1-1.
Before dissecting this goal, I will tip my hat to Zuccarello who followed up his shot. Zuccarello is 5 feet 7 inches tall, but does not show it when he’s on the ice. I think us Flyers fans can relate to a feisty little forward.
Goals are a result of chain reactions. One little play leads to another and the puck soon finds its way into the net. Zuccarello’s goal began when Braydon Coburn and Benoit Pouliot battled for the puck behind Ray Emery. Coburn probably should have bodied Pouliot on the boards and waited for one of his teammates to scoop up the loose puck.
This did not happen and Pouliot was able to get to the outside of the faceoff circle before the puck skittered to the stick of Zuccarello. Emery made the first save, but no one picked up Zuccarello who was able to score off the rebound.
Let’s all keep our heads here, folks. If the Flyers can prevent the Rangers from going east-west with the puck and generate more chances with more traffic in front of Lundqvist they can trek back to the Wells Fargo Center with some momentum.
*All gifs made at MakeAGif.com