PHILADELPHIA -- For a good bit of time in the third period of tonight's hockey game, it looked as though a weak goal allowed by Sergei Bobrovsky -- the first weak goal allowed in his career thus far, mind you -- could have been the turning point in a game otherwise dominated by the Philadelphia Flyers.
After that goal, the Avs really got a lot of jump and it looked as though they were going to overtake the Flyers, who really had dominated much of the game until that point.
Fortunately for the home team, a series of Craig Anderson flubs would cement the game late in the third. In a 2-2 game late, a combination of bad position and an inabilty to close the five hole were all Jeff Carter would need to bank a Mike Richards pass off of the inside of the Avalanche goalie's leg and into the back of the net.
It would be the game winner, but that was only solidified by another Anderson gaffe a few minutes later. With the Flyers pressing again and Carter positioned firmly in front of the crease, Anderson embellished a slight shove from Carter. The resulting penalty calls -- goalie interference for Carter, diving for Anderson -- would eliminate a potential Colorado power play and would lead to Darroll Powe's empty net goal.
The game wouldn't have been close, though, without a few lulls from the Flyers in the middle of play. After taking an early 2-0 lead on beautiful breakaway tallies by Claude Giroux and Carter in the first period, the orange and black were clearly rolling towards a romp. Colorado, clearly on their heels and a little over-matched, called timeout.
The Flyers didn't really capitalize in the rest of the first period, and a second period lull led to Brandon Yip's goal at 9:03. That allowed Colorado to stay in a contest they really had no business being involved in after the energy shown by the Flyers in the first period.
Nevertheless, the Flyers were able to overcome their own mistakes while taking advantage of Colorado's en route to the victory. After the jump, some bullet points on tonight's game, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter used the exact same move to beat Craig Anderson on first period breakaways.
- Mike Richards talked about the freedom Craig Berube gives them while on the penalty kill to jump up and create chances. It's a big reason for the shorthanded success the team had tonight. The first three goals were all created near the end or during a shorthanded situation.
- Sergei Bobrovsky did speak with the media this evening through a translator, but the crowd around him was utterly ridiculous. Afterward, one of the members of the Flyers PR staff gave Bob a little "thank you," to which the goalie responded with a thumbs up and a smile.
- Bob was a little jittery, but overall, he was solid.
- If Richards doesn't have the anticipation to jump up in the defensive end and pick off a Colorado pass, the Flyers don't score the game-winning goal.
- Jody Shelley played just 4:14 tonight. He sat on the bench the entire third period.
- In the third period, when the official signaled that Craig Anderson was given a penalty for diving on that decisive play with Carter, Avs captain Adam Foote was seen asking the stripes, "what the fuck is wrong with you guys?"
- In reality, it was a good call -- the perfect example of how a dive and interference (or a trip, etc.) can both be called and warranted on the same play.
- Nik Zherdev was absolutely destroyed by Ryan Wilson at one point in the game. He got up slowly but appeared to be fine. Keep your head up, man.
- Ian Laperriere's ovation during the opening ceremonies was just absolutely incredible.
- Chris Pronger looked good -- his usual self, even -- in his first game back. Peter Laviolette was impressed with his performance and his ability to calm things down.
- Laviolette also mixed up the left wing on the top line quite a bit tonight. He said it wasn't a knock against Dan Carcillo, and that he thought Carcillo played well. "Just trying to win a hockey game," he said. We'll see if he continues experimenting there, because Carter and Mike Richards certainly looked like they broke free a bit with a few other players on their line.
- James van Riemsdyk has been getting a good look on the power play. He seemed to do well placing himself in front of the net, a la Mike Knuble when he was here.
Questions with Answers
- Will the excitement and emotion of tonight's pre game ceremony carry over to the game? If you look at the box score, you might think so. Not necessarily, though. Both teams looked a bit slow off the bat.
- It's Sergei Bobrovsky's first real start in front of the Philly crowd. How does he respond? Again, a bit jittery but pretty solid overall.
- Invisible in the first two games, does the top line show up on the offensive end tonight? Yes, definitely. Helped along by the fact that the wing along side Richards and Carter was switched out at times for someone with a bit of pop.
- How long is the pregame ceremony? About 17 minutes.
- Chris Pronger is expected to return tonight. Can his calming influence help stabilize a defense that has been less than impressive thus far? Yes. It was noticable. Laviolette mentioned it as well.
Comment of the Night
Why the hell would you pay to stare at Coatesy’s back the whole game?
>> Ben Feldman