The Flyers went to Montreal tonight for a hockey game. It did not go well.
The third period of Wednesday's opener against Toronto was basically all three periods of tonight's game -- bumbling offense that couldn't do anything, defensive breakdowns that led to goals against, and poor discipline at bad times. It was not pretty, and that's about all that has to be said there.
However, we'll say a little bit more anyways. In specifics:
* Both of the Flyers' even-strength goals against involved some pretty spectacularly bad defensive play down by the net. On the first, Brian Gionta just straight up beat Mark Streit to the post for a tap-in off a pass that Luke Schenn couldn't stop, and the second one took an awful bounce off the back boards right to Lars Eller's stick but still may not have gone in if it didn't bounce off of Andrej Meszaros, who was standing on the goal line. Not good.
* Remember that great power play from Wednesday that we were talking about yesterday? It was ... markedly less impressive tonight. One conversion out of five attempts, but multiple chances where the unit just looked really, really sloppy and failed to get much of anything going in the offensive zone.
* That one goal -- the Flyers' only goal of the night -- came courtesy of a rebound goal from Vincent Lecavalier. He's still dreamy, in case you were wondering. And the whole "spending the whole night getting booed by Montreal fans" thing really is quite endearing.
* Ray Emery was good tonight. He gave up four goals so his final line doesn't look great, but he seemed to be moving pretty well out there and made a couple of very nice saves, and every goal against him either came on the power play or was the result of a bit of a defensive failure as already discussed. If he brings that kind of play most nights, it'll be alright.
* I typically enjoy Wayne Simmonds fights, because they usually end poorly for the guy he happens to be fighting. But Wayne Simmonds is also one of the best offensive forwards on this team. With seven minutes left, down two goals, it is really not the time to respond to a guy who gives you a bit of a shove by beating the everliving crap out of him, getting seven minutes of penalties in the process.
* The Flyers committed nine non-coincidental minor penalties tonight. I know, I know, Montreal typical, but that is absolutely inexcusable. "We killed off seven penalties tonight" should not be a sentence that's followed by "we gave up two power play goals".
* Refs were a bit quick with the whistles tonight. Matt Read had a rebound goal waived off late in the first period because the ref blew it dead even though Carey Price had lost control of it, and a Canadiens goal didn't come to fruition thanks to an early whistle right before one of them poked a puck past Emery in the third.
* Possession numbers tonight were ugly. Full 5v5 chart here, but basically, when you spend the whole game trailing and get out-attempted by 18 shots, that's a bad sign.
* I think it may be time to move Jakub Voracek back up to the top line for good. Claude Giroux -- who's been quite quiet these first couple of games, by the way -- looks a lot more noticeable with him on the right wing, in my opinion.
* Now, all of that glimmering optimism aside: That game was quite bad. But please, PLEASE, people: it's two games. I know the Flyers haven't scored an even strength goal yet, but we all know that there's offensive talent on this team. I think there are legitimate concerns about the back end/defense/goaltending, but eventually there will be goals going in the net and the team will be winning games. Yes, it's OK to be worried, and yes, I think there are going to be some changes if things don't turn quickly. But no, the season's not over. Hopefully, you did not need to be told that.
Questions with Answers:
- Emery's second stint with the Flyers starts tonight. How's it go? Pretty well. Made some very nice saves and hard to really fault him on any of the goals against.
- Is the power play still awesome? 1 of 5. Seemed less explosive than it did on Wednesday.
- Is the second line close to as dominant as it was on Wednesday? Meanwhile, which other line shows up? Second line was not quite as impressive, but it was still pretty easily the best one out there for the Flyers tonight. Not getting enough from the rest of the forwards.
- Defense. Not too bad as a whole in the opener. How about today? A bit worse. A couple more breakdowns that led to goals and chances against.
- What's Danny Boy do out there against his old team? He helped the cause tonight by committing two dumb penalties. Also nearly set up a goal for the Canadiens. Did his thing, more or less.
Comment of the Night:
I'm not liking this game so far, so I've decided to put a pirate hat on my head.
Quick turnaround to game number three tomorrow in Carolina at 5:00 p.m. Let's do better then. For more on this one from a Habs' perspective, read Eyes On The Prize. Go Flyers.