After having to watch the dumpster fire that was Game 1 I was prepared for the worst in Game 2. Not only had the Philadelphia Flyers been thoroughly trounced by the New York Rangers, but fans had been informed a day earlier that Ray Emery would be starting in back-to-back games for the first time all season. Apparently Steve Mason‘s upper body injury had not progressed to where the Flyers wanted. The fans were concerned, alas Luke Schenn was there to save the day. Yeah, Luke Schenn.
Well the first period could have gone better. The Flyers were sloppy all over the ice and it showed on the scoreboard. A neutral turnover led to a goal by Martin St. Louis off a great pass by Derek Stepan. Four minutes later the Rangers got their second goal on the powerplay that saw Sean Couturier get sent off for roughing. All seemed lost, but alas the Ginger Superhero aka Jake Voracek was there to save the day.
Watching Voracek with space to operate is brilliant to watch. With his combination of speed and strength he’s able to create so much space as you can see above. His goal was a much needed shot in the arm that seemed to fire up both his teammates and the fans watching the game.
The second period saw Jason Akeson get his first playoff goal after the Rangers Anton Stralman was sent off for interference on Scott Hartnell. The coolest part of that whole sequence was seeing the blissful face on Akeson as he celebrated with his teammates. After having to endure the unjustified wrath of Flyers fans for his inopportune double minor in Game 1 I was really rooting for the kid. As a matter of fact, I even called his goal at the onset of the second period.
I am a prophet. RT @BCanneyBSB: Jason Akeson is going to get his first playoff goal in this 2nd period. I guarantee it.
— Bear C. (@BCanneyBSB) April 20, 2014
Now, I wouldn’t call myself a prophet, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Not to be outdone by Akeson, Luke Schenn backhanded the eventual game winning goal off a rebound. The rest of the second period included some offsetting minors and the Flyers’ penalty killing unit successfully negating two Rangers power plays. That unit, spear headed by the immortal Sean Couturier, played great in front of Ray Emery. Speaking of Emery, his play after the first period was incredibly strong. He seemingly controlled every puck that came his away, not allowing the Rangers any second chances on rebounds. It seemed like he was sacrificing depth in the goal crease in order to allow himself an easier time getting himself post to post. Hopefully a goaltending aficionado will read this and confirm or deny that for me. Either way, Emery was the star of this period and allowed the Flyers to take a lead into the third period.
With the Flyers up 3-2 entering the third period you would have expected the Flyers to go into full defensive shell mode, not unlike that of a turtle. And while Craig Berube seemed to have his forwards cheat in a little more when the Flyers were in their own zone, they still forechecked and created good offensive opportunities. Other than a Nicklas Grossmann interference penalty, which also happened to produce one of my favorite gifs of the year, the play on the ice was pretty up-and-down. The icing on the cake came on a rather dumb penalty by the Rangers when they were called for too many men on the ice because apparently math is hard. Henrik Lundqvist was attemtping to get off the ice but for some inexplicable reason stopped midway on his stroll to the bench and BOOM! There were seven Rangers on the ice with a 1:19 seconds to play. And since we’re eating a cake with double icing, here is Wayne Simmonds going beast mode to secure the Flyers win with an empty net goal.
Now, the Flyers were far from perfect in this game. They did however show the kind of resiliency that we have come to expect of this squad which was encouraging to see. The Flyers still need to cut down on the turnovers and the bad penalties. You cannot keep expecting to win games when you are allowing the Rangers six powerplay opportunities.
- Jason Akeson scored his first playoff goal, had a +10 shot differential, and pushed offensive tempo. He was incredibly fun to watch today.
- Ray Emery received the first star of the game and for good reason. He stood on his head in this game and allowed the Flyers to get back into it.
- Sean Couturier took a bad penalty in the first period but was excellent after that. He was outstanding defensively and helped the Flyers sustain offensive zone pressure. I love this kid.
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers play once again Tuesday night at The Well. Without a doubt the environment their is going to be hostile. Can’t wait.
Let’s Go Flyers
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