Flyers vs. Rangers: Analyzing Andreas Lilja's rough night

Elsa

Andreas Lilja had a rough night on Tuesday in New York. Let's break it down shift-by-shift.

Andreas Lilja found his way into the lineup on Tuesday night against the Rangers, and given the way he played, let's hope he doesn't see the ice tomorrow night in Washington. Let's run through his night on Broadway, shift by shift.

First period

1. Lilja steps on the ice with 18:17 left in the first period. 15 seconds later, the puck is in the back of the net. The worst part? Lilja had the puck on his stick in the corner with plenty of time to facilitate a clear. To the video!

Jakub Voracek regained control of the puck along the wall briefly, but was barreled into by a Rangers player nearly immediately. His giveaway was directly responsible for the goal, but Lilja was the reason the Rangers got possession and continued pressure on this shift in the first place. The Flyers lost the game by one goal.

2. Lilja's second shift, about three minutes later, was completely uneventful.

3. Welp.

Lilja-fall_medium

4. Lilja was a little slow getting across the ice to Benn Ferriero, the puck carrier. Ferriero got a pretty good look at a shot as a result. Nothing egregious though, I guess. At the end of the shift, he knocked the puck out of play over the glass with his hand.

5. Lilja had a shot towards goal that was blocked. The puck came back to the point and he flubbed it across the blue line and out to center. Pulled it back in the zone offsides.

6. Stepped on, Rinaldo took a penalty, Lilja off for the PK. A six second shift.

Second period

7. Lilja touched the puck once, got it over to Briere who got a shot off. A positive, if again uneventful, shift.

8. The puck was deep in the Rangers end with Ruslan Fedotenko and Tom Sestito fighting for it along the wall. If you want an example of how Peter Laviolette shelters a guy like Lilja with easy minutes, here's Exhibit A. The puck is as far from Ilya Bryzgalov's goal as possible, the Flyers have posession, so let's have Lilja jump over the boards for an easy shift that's a) in the offensive end and b) against New York's fourth line.

That said, the Flyers had a great shift where they controlled possession for a sustained period of time. Then, Tom Sestito played the puck back to Lilja at the point, after which this happened...

Lilja-bad-pass_medium

9. Rangers generate some pressure. Lilja's not under pressure, though.

10. Lilja got pinched here and wound up staying on for nearly two minutes. Much of the play during these two minutes was in the neutral zone, but John Tortorella took advantage and got the Gaborik-Nash-Richards line out for the latter half. They generated a couple of chances, perhaps using Lilja's fatigue to their advantage, but No. 6 acquitted himself well here given the circumstances.

11. Out for a rare defensive zone draw, Lilja only took a 26 second shift as the Flyers quickly gained possession and cleared the puck.

12. Lilja was thrown out with the Flyers in the offensive end of the ice. Danny Briere created a chance but then touched the puck with a high stick. Only a 10 second shift for Lilja.

13. Another 10 second shift to close the period. Nothing happened.

Third period

14. Probably Lilja's best shift of the game. He beat a Ranger in a foot race to get the puck behind the Flyers net, then dished it off to Bruno Gervais who moved the puck up ice. At the other end, Lilja won a puck battle at the opposite end of the ice and wound up getting a bad angle shot on goal.

15. Another short shift with the Flyers controlling the play in the offensive end. He did a nice job of pushing the puck back below the goal line and giving Mike Knuble a chance to get it on goal. But again, nearly all of Lilja's shifts start in the offensive end of the ice. Peter Laviolette is hiding him as much as possible.

16. Defensive zone start against the Gaborik line -- very rare, but also likely because most of the other defensemen were tired after a lot of specialty teams time prior to the shift. Bruno Gervais quickly cleared the puck and the pairing was only on the ice for 12 seconds.

17. Center ice faceoff against the Rangers' fourth line.

18. On his last shift of the game, Lilja played the puck to an invisible man in the neutral zone and iced the puck.

**
All in all, Lilja had a decent third period with limited work, but much of his game on Wednesday night was forgettable. Peter Laviolette was very clearly sheltering his minutes, but even with that, Lilja was responsible for at least three Rangers scoring chances -- one of which turned into a goal.

I'm not sure why Kurtis Foster sat in favor of Lilja on Tuesday, but Foster couldn't have been much worse. Given his rough performance, I'm hoping Foster is in the lineup on Friday night in D.C.

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