PHILADELPHIA -- Sometimes you lose hockey games that you deserve to win. Lord knows the Flyers have had plenty of those so far this season. Sometimes, though, the luck evens out, and you win hockey games you were probably supposed to lose.
The Flyers were yet again stagnant offensively tonight, but with help from a few lucky breaks and bounces, they were able to score just enough on rookie goalie Cam Talbot to pull out a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. They are now tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division. No more last place all to ourselves!
Craig Berube talked after the game about how he's happy with his defensive coverage, and I would agree. They look a lot more calm -- especially the unit of Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossmann, which has become the de facto top pairing.
But there's still a lot left to be desired, despite the win. In the offensive zone, the Flyers can get the puck deep and create chances, but they can't sustain it. An errant pass or a dumb decision with the puck leads to a turnover, and they're making it easy on the opposing defense by not sustaining pressure. They made it easy on Talbot tonight too for the same reasons.
The neutral zone play is still sloppy as well, and there are clearly things to work on here. Let's not even get started on the power play, which went 0-for-4 in eleven minutes of 5-on-4 time. Just brutal. Against a better team -- man, the Rangers are bad too, huh? -- the Flyers probably don't win tonight's game.
But hey, a win is a win. The Flyers got two more points in the standings, and that's what they needed more than anything. Their biggest problem so far this season is that they're squeezing the sticks too tight and trying to be too fancy. You see it in Claude Giroux's play, or Wayne Simmonds trying to skate through three people with the puck, or Kimmo Timonen passing one too many times on a 3-on-1.
They play like this because they're losing games, and the only way they're going to relax and bring simplicity back to their offensive game, is if they start winning -- if the pressure of so many losses stops mounting. So who cares if they won a game they probably should've lost?
Questions to Answer
- How does the new-look lineup perform? It was okay. There were bright spots, there were negatives. I wouldn't be shocked to see Chief make some adjustments come Saturday.
- Can the Flyers get to rookie Cam Talbot? No, not really. Talbot looked solid.
- Goals from Claude Giroux, yes? sigh
- How does the new PP look with Timonen on the second unit and Streit on the first? The PP was putrid, and by the third period, Timonen and Streit were together on the first unit.
- More than two goals, please? not even with an empty net..
Comment of the Night
WHY DOES THIS TEAM INSIST ON USING FALLOUT BOY FOR THE GOAL SONG!?
>> PhiladelphiaFlyers, asking the important questions