He was a healthy scratch in the Rangers last game, but on Sunday, Sean Avery ran all over the Philadelphia Flyers while leading his team to a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden, the World's Most Overrated Arena (seriously, what's the aura around that place? Just because it's NYC? Please...).
Avery drew two penalties, scored two goals and was a plus two. On each of his 19 shifts, he genuinely pissed off the Flyers. He got under their skin. He pulled a Sean Avery, and the orange and black gave in. Scott Hartnell dropped his gloves and looked goofy when Avery kept his firmly on his hands. Braydon Coburn took a penalty late in the third thanks to the impetus, Avery. Dan Carcillo was visibly bothered by Avery as well.
He did his job and the Flyers couldn't keep cool. He was the difference, and for a Flyers team in the position that they're currently in, that's absolutely unacceptable. Philadelphia went into MSG today and controlled the game from the outset, scoring an early goal on the power play. Michael Leighton came up strong in goal and things looked to be set.
Then, Avery started his crap and it all snowballed from there. It's unacceptable. They let one player completely change the course of this game. One player who has no business doing something like that.
As a result, the Flyers miss out on a prime opportunity to put some distance between themselves and seventh-place Montreal. They also miss out on a chance to gain ground on fifth-place Ottawa. Meanwhile, the Rangers are now just one point out of the final playoff spot and just five points behind the Flyers, believe it or not.
Blame fatigue, blame Amtrak, blame whatever. None of it matters.
It was a chance to put a dagger through the heart of the team from New York. Instead, the Flyers let Avery take a jab at theirs. After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the afternoon.
Questions to Answer
- Do emotions actually spill over today in the aftermath of the Gaborik incident, or do the Rangers realize that they should've done something weeks ago and that the statute of limitations is clearly up on this 'offense'? Not really. Jody Shelley's presence in the lineup didn't mean anything. Nor did Riley Cote's.
- Can Henrik Lundqvist keep his team in this game today? Lundqvist wasn't challenged much, and he even looked a little shaky early. The Flyers failed to take advantage, however.
- All joking about the Rangers impotence aside, their top line of Gaborik, Jokinen and Prospal can actually put some pucks in the net. Can the Flyers successfully shut them down? Those three were invisible. Avery did the scoring.
- Will Carcillo fight Shelley? Nope.
- Can Michael Leighton duplicate his stellar Saturday performance? Leighton was fine today. He'd probably like to have Avery's second goal back, but he was fine today. The Flyers lack of offense was a bigger problem, but as mentioned, the inability to stay away from Avery's bait was the biggest issue.
Comment of the Day
Oh jeez. Gotta be careful not to overwork him.
>> Ben Feldman, on Cote's heavy first period workload