Rangers lead series 1-0
Because I'm a pretty happy guy I'll start with the upside from tonight.
The positives: the Flyers made it to the playoffs, which is better than not making it to the playoffs at all, like happened last year. Going to prom only to have the girl get sick and poop on her dress and spend the whole night crying about it is better than not getting to go to prom at all ... right? Maybe?
The negatives: the Flyers looked completely overmatched and awful and teams that look completely overmatched and awful rarely win playoff series. The Rangers won 4-1 and it arguably wasn't even that that close. So yeah, it was awful, but here's hoping that what feels like rock-bottom proves only to be the lowest part of a trampoline, and that the Flyers soon go soaring upward toward the sky or something.
- Every way you slice it, the Flyers got completely julienned out there tonight. They got outscored 4-1. They got outshot 36-15. Overall shot attempts at 5-on-5 were 53-37. They didn't get a shot for the first seven minutes in the first period, for the first six minutes of the second, and then again for the first seven minutes of the third. The Flyers only got one shot in the third period, which was a completely terrible strategy for trying to come back to win the game. So they should learn from their mistakes for next time, I guess.
- Domination by the Rangers was so thorough that I'm honestly not sure if Henrik Lundqvist was mentioned during the broadcast. Do you remember any saves he made? I don't. If he had done anything, I'm sure McGuire would've mentioned how Henrik used to play in his junior days for the Thunder Bay ButtPlumbers or whatever.
- Which brings me to Pierre McGuire. I know the players like him, and the dude clearly knows a lot about hockey, but honestly ZOMG SHUT UP. During a high-stakes playoff game nobody needs to hear show-offy filler material about "Drummondville," "the Saskatoon Contacts, or "the Sudbury Wolves." That's not a way to grow the sport with casual fans; that's a way to give someone a detached retina from rolling his eye too hard.
- Across the ice from Pierre McGuire, Jason Akeson sat in the penalty box and watched Game 1 slip away from his team after he received a double-minor for carelessly molesting Carl Hagelin's mouth with his stick. How did that happen? I won't blame Akeson for being completely inexperienced and dumb, but I will blame whoever decided that he was the Flyers' best option to play a fair number of minutes in this crucial playoff game. The guy wasn't good enough to play in the first 81 games of the regular season, so what is he doing in the third period of a playoff game? He played more minutes, by far, than Vincent Lecavalier, who is a studly veteran with a cup ring. In other words: fix your shit, Flyers.
- Ray Emery is not a playoff-caliber goaltender. He's not the reason why the Flyers lost tonight, but he also didn't win, so. The Flyers looked unsettled with him in net, understandably. With his hulking yet herky-jerky style, Emery is as calming a presence as a toddler on an airplane. If Steve Mason isn't back by Game 3, the Flyers don't have a prayer of winning this series.
- Despite my current pessimism, playoff hockey sure is swell, isn't it? It's nice to have a horse in the race, even if does break a leg down the stretch and get euthanized before you can even tear up your ticket.
- That anthem was awful. Just because you're singing about America doesn't mean that you shouldn't be held to the same standards as everybody else, buddy.
- Earlier this week I made a delightful surprise appearance on BSH Radio, and I picked Jake Voracek as the key player for Game 1 because I thought with his gingery beard he could be a great decoy for Claude Giroux and cause lots of confusion. Just for Men had other ideas, sadly. Poor strategy, boys (though ultimately Berube has to shoulder the blame for that sort of facial hair recklessness).
- Also poor? Whatever the hell that "Random Red Couch" McDonald's commercial is. It builds up so much rage inside of me. I need it to go away immediately.
- CNBC is a weird network to watch playoff hockey on, not gonna lie. Case in point: when I was flying from California to Florida in March on United, the two planes we took had DirecTV-equipped TVs for each passenger. It was pretty neato! On the first leg of the flight, the TVs in coach defaulted to ESPN, which was a smart best guess as to what people wanted to watch. On the second leg of the trip, I randomly got bumped into first class for the first time in years, and the TVs there all defaulted to CNBC, because people who sit in first class don't care about sports and only want to know how their mutual funds and Nikkeis and shit are doing, I guess. I found it completely offensive and watched BET for the whole flight. Fight the power.
- History tells us that the team that wins Game 1 doesn't win the series, necessarily. This is a relief. What's less of a relief is having two whole days to marinate in sadness before Game 2 on Sunday afternoon. I need something to wash this taste out of my mouth. Maybe I should brush my teeth or floss or something.