Category Archives: Game Recap

Flyers hang 8, Penguins show true colors

The Philadelphia Flyers hung eight goals on the combination of Marc Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson and took a huge 3-0 series lead.  Bryz was decent, Couturier, Giroux, and Talbot were awesome, as usual.  And the Penguins turned to cheap shots and attempts to injure as the game was out of hand.

In the first period, we saw Claude Giroux and Cindy Crosby (sorta) drop gloves, while Kimmo Timmonen and Kris Letang also turned to fisticuffs simultaneously.  Letang poured it on Timmonen, and both were given game misconducts and thrown out of the game.  A combined 72 penalty minutes in the first period were just a preview for the fireworks to come.

Later in the game, Brayden Schenn made what appeared to be a clean hit on a Pens player, and Aaron Asham took exception.  Asham ran at Schenn and made a huge high hit, jamming his stick into the throat of the rookie Schenn.  Asham was thrown out of the game, and should receive a phone call from Brendan Shanahan.

However, the biggest story was yet to come.  Late in the third, with the Flyers leading by three goals, James Neal took a run at standout rookie (and shutdown center extraordinaire) Sean Couturier.  Couturier has effectively shut down the ugliest professional athlete in the world, Evegeni Malkin, this series, while also stifling Neal.  Neal took a run in open ice at Couturier, who did not have the puck and wasn’t in the process of playing the puck, and left his feet while launching himself at the rookie’s head.  No penalty was called, and skirt-wearing Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma wisely decided to leave Neal on the ice for the ensuing face off.  Flyers coach Peter Laviolette resisted the desire to put a combination of Zac Rinaldo, Wayne Simmonds, Maxime Talbot, and Scott Hartnell on the ice.  It wouldn’t matter, however.  While in the Pittsburgh zone, Neal took a run at Giroux, and all hell broke loose shortly after.  Highlights included:

  • Sidney Crosby trying to restrain Scott Hartnell from going after Neal, while Adams then rushed in and eventually squared off with Hartsy.  After a few punches, the two worked over towards the boards, where Adams then grabbed a handful of Hartnell’s hair.
  • The referees deciding to just give Neal and two minute minor, leading to Hartnell and other Flyers going after him on his way to the penalty box.
  • Sidney Crosby sitting in the penalty box while a Flyers fan hilariously held up a t-shirt that read “I hate Sidney Crosby” right over his shoulder.
  • Dan Byslma, presumably, sitting in the office in the locker room mumbling and sobbing uncontrollably while using his skirt to wipe away the tears.
  • Pittsburgh fans piling off the bandwagon at record rates.

All in all, it was a solid win, but there is major concern when it comes to the status of both Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.  Giroux was noticeably woozy after the run by Neal.  Giroux, of course, dealt with a concussion earlier in the season.

If the NHL doesn’t suspend James Neal for his actions, it will be a joke.  And if there is no suspension, I will have absolutely no problem with Laviolette activating Jody Shelley and Zac Rinaldo for the sole purpose of attempting to decapitate any combination of Crosby, Malkin, and Neal.

I Hate Crosby photo courtesy of The700Level.

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Records, Hat Tricks, Shorties, and 2-0 Series Leads

What a game we saw last night in Pittsburgh.

In typical Flyers fashion, Philadelphia surrendered two early goals to put themselves in a quick hole.  The holes this team regularly puts themselves in so often, it seems, is never too deep to climb out of.  Last night was no exception.

I’ll spare you the details and recap, as you’ve likely read them all by now.  Just a few bullet points:

 

  • Claude Giroux scored 6 (!!!) points, including thee goals and three assists.
  • Rookie Sean Couturier once again shined.  On top of shutting down the likely Art Ross Trophy winner, Scooter tallied his first career hat trick, also adding an assist.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov gave up five goals, but they weren’t all bad.  And they weren’t all his fault.  And he made some HUGE saves, keeping the Penguins from really putting the game away early.
  • Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot each netted a goal against their former team.  How sweet it was.
  • Nick Grossmann had a huge hit on Vitale.  A little payback from a few weeks ago, perhaps?  Vitale temporarily left the game, but did return.
  • The Flyers own the Penguins.  It was incredible to see the crowd in Pittsburgh’s hope and happiness turn to sadness and depression.  I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

All in all, it was a great game.  Of course, we’d prefer the Flyers to come out and get the first few goals and never take the pressure off the Pens, but you can’t help but love this team.  The way they can struggle and get down early, but never give up.  It truly shows the hart, grit, and every other cliche that can be said here.

 

Sunday at three pm in Philly.  The Flyers can really put their collective skate to the throat of the Pens.  Let’s do it.

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The Flyers and shootouts

The Flyers played a boring game last night against the Florida Panthers.  It was a win, in a shootout no less (thanks to an absolute ankle-breaking, knee buckling move by Claude Giroux), but I just never got into it.  I don’t know if it’s because the Panthers are normally bad and I just expect the Flyers to beat them but they’re actually good this year or what.

That aside, the game eventually played through a scoreless overtime and we entered the dreaded Bettman shootout.  Yeah.

The Flyers aren’t a good team in shootouts.  Entering last night, they had lost all three shootouts they had been in, and they were something like 3-10 going back through the 2010-11 season.  For a team as offensively talented as the Flyers, it seemed odd.

Now, I have DirecTV Center Ice, and as great as it is, I can rarely watch the CSN Philly feeds of the games, which means I generally have to suffer through the opposing team’s announcers.  Last night was no exception.  After the five minutes of four-on-four overtime concluded, the Florida commentators were discussing just how bad the Flyers are in shootouts, and they brought up an interesting point.

Apparently, coach Peter Laviolette has stated, and I’m paraphrasing, that they simply do not practice the shootout, as there are more important things that the practice time needs to go to.  This baffled me.  I realize that once the game gets to a shootout, you’ve already been guaranteed one point, but winning hockey games is what matters.  That consolation “Bettman Point” is nice, but every point counts.  Why not practice, improve, and get two points?

The announcers continued, and asked the rhetorical question, “So, the Flyers are going to make the playoffs, right?”  The answer was yes.  “Well, there are no shootouts in the postseason.”

So very true.  If that is indeed Laviolette’s reasoning, then I definitely understand it.  What would serve the team better: Spending valuable practice time on the shootout, which will occur a dozen or so times a year, or spending that time practicing and improving on things that will have an impact on the outcome of literally every single game?

Sure, maybe late in the year the Flyers will be right on the cusp of moving up or falling down a seed that could dictate home ice advantage in the playoffs, and those points they missed out on by not performing well in shootouts could come back to bite them.  Then again, maybe that extra penalty kill or powerplay practice they would have missed out on by spending time improving in shootouts would have had meant that games that were won were instead lost due to lack of practice on those particular facets of the game.

It’s definitely and interesting thought, but I have to say that I agree with Laviolette.  Winning the Atlantic Division, earning that Prince of Wales Trophy, and taking home ice would be nice, but it’s not the end game; winning a Stanley Cup is.

And you don’t do that in shootouts.

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