Series tied 1-1
I'm not sure I've ever entered a Flyers playoff game quite as resigned as I was today. The Flyers looked horrendous in Game 1, and once Steve Mason said he was still too upper body injured to play in Game 2, I gave up all hope.
But then: twist! The Flyers won somehow! It didn't look like they were going to win because they were losing but then they were winning and then when time ran out they were still winning so they won! Hooray!
- By far the biggest reason for my pre-game pessimism was Ray Emery, who has been exposed several times in this series as having the lateral movement of a toilet. The Rangers quickly exploited this toiletiness in this game, scoring twice on their first four shots of the game, with goals by Benoit Poo-a-lot and Martin St. Louis.
- Unfortunately, I apparently cannot legally mention Martin St. Louis without then mentioning how much better than his size he is and how he has so much heart. For all the talk of how big his heart is I'm guessing that it's the size of a watermelon and will soon explode his ribcage into a million pieces. My advance condolences to his family. Some hearts are just too big.
- Ray got his shit together soon thereafter giving up those two goals though, and realized that he could make up for his impaired side-to-side movement (hip surgeries are a bitch) by actually anticipating and reading the play. He did, and stopped the remaining 29 Ranger shots in the game. This was a nice change.
- Next thing you know it, the Flyers got a goal from Jakub Voracek, who had a beautifully selfish effort that totally undressed several Rangers defensemen and croupiered the puck (take that, Emrick) around Henrik Lundqvist to put the Flyers on the board. It was very nice and welcome and totally changed the whole series, maybe.
- Then in the second period Jason Akeson scored to tie the game, and people who love redemption narratives jizzed themselves. Akeson was not bad in Game 1, save for that one unforgivably costly moment of dumbness, and Craig Berube sent a nice message by having the kid start the game. Akeson came into the postseason severely undercooked, but now he's getting a nice sear around the edges and is playing some quite tasty puck. I still don't understand why someone who is being relied on so much in the playoffs was given so few looks in the regular season, but whatever.
- Happiness continued to grow in Flyerland when Luke Schenn (aka "LSchenn" aka "LeSean" aka "McCoy" aka his new nickname is "McCoy" deal with it) scored the eventual game winning goal on a rebound while there was a delayed call against the Rangers. The skater who came on to replace Emery was nowhere near the goal, so it's kind of annoying that the penalty was nullified, but whatever, at least it was a legally executed play by the Flyers. Unlike the following:
- After some serious sphincter tightening, the Flyers hung on and won the game on an empty net goal by Wayne Simmonds, which was fun, but it wasn't nearly as hilarious as the preceding penalty call against the Rangers. With time running low and the team desperate, Henrik Lundqvist started to come off the ice, very slowly, to allow for an extra attacker, and after he got near the bench one of his teammates jumped on the ice. WHICH MEANS YOU LEAVE, HENRIK. But instead, Henrik stayed out there, and got a penalty for too many men on the ice. Which, for the record, should never be the goalie's fault. What a beautiful idiot. Also Henrik allowed three goals on the first 14 shots today and secretly hasn't been good at all so far in this pubescent series.
- The Rangers have now lost their last seven consecutive Game 2s. Also a stat? Teams that trail 0-2 only win 14% of playoff series, but teams tied 1-1 win 50% of the time. NUMBERS NEVER LIE.
- Crazy statistic since clearly you like statistics? Dating back to 2012, in the last 13 Flyers playoff games the team that scores first is only 1-12. Who knew scoring was bad?
- Officiating was terrible in this game, like in the first game. Braydon Coburn got called for holding after he knocked down Mats Zuccarello, but basically only because he's enormous and Zuccarello is tiny. Nicklas Grossmann also got called for a non-existent interference penalty, and could clearly be seen saying "how the fuck is that a penalty?" I think bad calls went against the Rangers, too, but I can't be sure.
- Upon dropping the puck for a faceoff late in the third period, a linesman fell down and the fans in Madison Square Garden cheered and cackled. Which is awful, but would happen in Philadelphia too so I probably shouldn't mention it oh well.
- Cliches are hilariously ingrained in hockey, which is one major reason that I'm glad most of my significant writing is not about this sport. Claude Giroux's post-game interview was a beautiful clusterfuck of empty cliches, the best of which was talking about earning "two points" tonight. By winning a playoff game? Oh Claude. I forgot these things are first-to-eight-points, not best-of-seven.
- He doesn't get enough flak for saying stupid things since he stands next to Mike Milbury, but Liam McHugh began the post-game recap by saying that "the world's most famous curse is over" since the Flyers finally won at Madison Square Garden. I'm all for hyping up hockey, but no. Calm yourself, everybody. Except for you, Flyers fans, WHO SHOULD GET REALLY EXCITED BECAUSE THE FLYERS JUST WON A HOCKEY GAME IN THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST TWO YEARS YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
1 down, 15 to go. Go Flyers.