It all started off according to plan. The Flyers came out in the final game of an unbelievable stretch of road games on fire, lighting up the New York Rangers for two goals in the first period.
The Rangers didn't really have a prayer, either. From puck drop to the horn of the first period, the Flyers were all over the New York end of the ice. Puck control, winning battles, solid passing, tons of chances, complete domination. It carried over into the second period, when the Flyers added a third goal on a perfectly executed shorthanded 2-on-1 between Claude Giroux and Mike Richards.
And then the game turned into Sunday Night Fights. We're going to have a full breakdown in the morning of the mess that was the 8:32 mark of the second period, but for now, all we need to know is that it completely turned the game around. The Rangers were down and out of the game, they gooned things up, and from there, they had jump. They pressed the issue. They controlled the puck. They made the Flyers look silly.
Throughout the entire second half of the game, the Flyers were on their heels, apparently standing in some type of quick sand. I know the MSG ice was worse than usual tonight, but it wasn't so soft you could get stuck in it. The Rangers simply imposed their will, and if it weren't for some magnificent play from Brian Boucher, the Flyers would've blown their three goal lead.
Instead, they were able to hold the Rangers to just two. As a result, tonight feels like a pretty crappy win, but at the same time, it feels like a pretty ballsy win. They had to dig deep in that third period, and while they shouldn't have been in that position in the first place, it's a win over the Rangers. We'll take it.
After the jump, some bullets, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Dude, James van Riemsdyk is a boss. He's a legitimate power forward all of the sudden. He skates with power, he guards the puck with power, he hits with power, he wins puck battles with power, he runs over Martin Biron with power. Keep at it, Jimmy.
- Jody Shelley was mouthing off to Sean Avery after the whole fight thing. He said after the game that even though the game was 3-0 at that point, it was still a game and it's important not to do anything stupid. As much as we wanted to see Avery get his, Shelley's right. And there's plenty of season left, too.
- The Flyers three third period shots were the fewest they've had in a period all year. Yikes.
- Matt Walker actually seemed to be settling in there for a while tonight, but he didn't see the ice after the 10 minute mark of the third. Not particularly surprising given the way the Flyers were pinned in their own end. As a result, Coburn put in his second busiest night of the season with 23:50 of ice time.
- MSG scorers give out hits like candy, but the Flyers had 33 tonight.
- Richards needs two more shorties to tie Mark Howe on the Flyers All-Time list.
- Avery sucks.
Questions with Answers
- What does Wojtek Wolski bring to the Rangers' top line? I don't care. His name is stupid. (He scored the Rangers bizarre first goal.)
- Can the Flyers beat an old friend in Martin Biron? Many, many times.
- The yet-to-be-named line. Continued awesome, right? Briere didn't score, but yes, Leino did and he also assisted on Carter's goal. Leino's goal was basically Meszaros' fault, actually, but still.
- Sean O`Donnell had perhaps his best (definitely his most noticeable) game as a Flyer on Friday in Atlanta. More from him? Wasn't nearly as noticeable, but he was good.
- The Rangers think they can hang with the Flyers and Penguins in the Atlantic Division. Do the orange and black put them in their place, or do the Rangers prove that hey, maybe they do belong? They really had no business being in that game from a hockey standpoint. The Flyers are clearly the better team, but they just didn't seem to care after those fights. Which is weird. The Rangers deserve some credit, but I don't think this game proved that they can hang.
Comment of the Night
The Earth's wobble changed up the zodiacs, but not Avery's doucheness.