Looks like the Flyers got back in the New York groove.
Bouncing back from a literal return from the Olympics buttkicking at the hands of the visiting San Jose Sharks, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to control yet another 2nd period of frustrations en route to a 4-2 victory over their division rival, the New York Rangers. This time they didn’t fall for former Flyer Daniel Carcillo’s antagonistic ways, survived the toughest part of their game right now, and even answered back during it.
Sure, it wasn’t an easy victory, but again the Flyers have no one to blame but themselves for the disciplinary issues that continue to plague them. They seem to accrue trips to the box at the worst times, not necessarily too many times. It can be insufferable during stretches of watching club play, one moment looking dominant and vigorous, and others appearing lackadaisical. The full game issue will continue to stick with this club for a while until they finally solve that puzzle, but for the meantime, anyone following the Flyers can expect two things: 1) Their apparent lack of fire in the middle period of games, and 2) Bad penalties taken as a result of number 1.
After jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first against Henrik Lundqvist of all goalies, the Flyers began their slight backwards slide in the second. First came a seemingly innocent goal by Chris Kreider about 5 in, and things didn’t seem too bad then. Still the Flyers were definitely looking sluggish entering the 2nd, and it showed later on in the period, one in which the Flyers were outshot by the Rangers nearly 2-1. Carcillo turned up his antics, and all he got for it was being shown up by the Flyers current Carcillo, Zac Rinaldo. Carbomb has never been one to back down from a fight, but looked weary of Rinaldo, and it’s quite possible that Zac would have given Daniel a taste of the type of medicine Carcillo normally enjoys administering. It was good to see the right player address Carcillo, instead of a better more valued player like Wayne Simmonds getting caught up in the hype and taunting.
The Rangers of course would tie things up to keep the dreaded 2nd period curse alive, but unlike their return game in which they surrendered a half a dozen more goals, they answered back.
Wayne Simmonds, who has turned out to be the true gem of the Mike Richards trade to date, buried the go ahead goal late in the 2nd, and from that point on, the Flyers never looked back. They turned the tide in shots, time of possession, and forced the Rangers into a penalty prone style of play, something they’d never recover from. Luke Schenn chipped in for the final goal, a nice pickup on a pinballing puck with Lundqvist severely out of the play. It was a nice return to form for Philly, who really needed to bounce back after the Sharks game.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Flyers faced their new current rivals, the Washington Capitals, the very next day.
While the Rangers game was a thriller for about a period, this game was tension laden all the way into overtime. The man that got things started, Dmitry Orlov of the Caps, was also the man who eventually drove the stake through his own team’s heart, but it took 64 minutes to unfold. The Caps seemed to grab the lead every single time the Flyers would figure out a way to tie it up, and eventually would be sitting pretty over the Flyers with a 4-2 lead into the third. That’s when Orlov decided he would help Philly get back in the game after scoring two goals himself by charging Brayden Schenn into the boards. This boneheaded maneuver landed Orlov in the penalty box for a 5 minute major, one the Flyers would partially capitalize upon with a PP goal by Jakub Voracek.
Late in the game and down one, the Flyers pulled Steve Mason to get the extra man out, and despite Capitals goalie Braden Holtby’s heroics all game long, he just couldn’t contain the Flyers opportunities on net, eventually surrendering the game tying goal with just over a minute left to Flyers Captain Claude Giroux.
The game, which should have been a Capitals win by normal circumstances, then carried over into the overtime period, and halfway in Vincent Lecavalier struck. Trailing Kimmo Timonen, Lecavalier took the pass back and ripped a shot to the left of Holtby that appeared to be slightly deflected, at which point it trickled in just inside the right post past Holtby who seemed to think the puck would travel elsewhere before the incidental redirection.
Game. Set. Match.
I know right now that the team getting under the Flyers skin easiest are the Capitals, even with their feudal stance against the Penguins. This has now become an intense matchup and the two clubs will go at it once again this evening in the second part of a back to backer between them.
I would suggest preparing for another round of fireworks.
*photos courtesy of NHL.com