Rangers lead series 2-1
As much as people want to turn hockey success into something quantifiable through fancy metrics, the fact of the matter is that in sports sometimes you can have a golden nugget that sinks to the bottom and a turd that floats to the top.
In the aforementioned analogy, in case you were wondering, the Rangers are the floating turd who won 4-1 tonight. Still plenty of time left for flushing, though.
- So I think it's time we sat down as a family and had that awkward talk about Ray Emery, you guys. He was horrible. He was never going to be a goaltender capable of winning this series, and tonight should have proved that once and for all. The first goal was awful, the second goal was not great, the third goal was awful, and the fourth goal was awful. It was an awful display of goaltending. But then! Down from the heavens came Steve Mason, who replaced Emery after the game was out of reach and proceeded to play over seven minutes of brilliant shutout hockey. Mason will almost undoubtedly be the starter in Game 4, and thank God for that. Would the Flyers have won tonight if a healthy Mason had started? Very possibly.
- As I sort of said in my intro with that poop analogy, the Flyers actually played really well tonight, for the first time in this series, and go back to their suburban homes with absolutely nothing to show for it. They had more shot attempts than the Rangers by the huge margin of 58-34 (they got outattempted 46-31 in the Game 2 victory). For once, the puck was actually in the Rangers end of the ice for sustained periods of time, which never happened in New York. It was the best game they've played on the ice, and the worst looking one on the scoreboard. Outplaying the opponent and losing is frustrating (see: the entire 2009 Flyers-Penguins series), but it's a lot more promising in the long-term than stolen victories like the one on Sunday.
- Now aside from why didn't the Flyers win, you might be asking? Because the Rangers were a massive cockblock in nearly every available shooting or passing lane. They had absurdly good penalty killing, and kept the Flyers outside the fun zones of the ice. The only Flyer goal of the game came at 4-on-4, when there was finally some room to grind; the whole rest of the game was prohibitively chaperoned.
- Jake Voracek and Carl Hagelin got into a fight and at times it looked more like a shampoo commercial, or like two gloriously maned lions going at each other on the savanna. I always like it when unexpected people get into fights so long as it's not somebody with a history of concussions please don't fight anybody Claude Giroux.
- Although the result was less than ideal, there were tons of bright spots, both teamwise and individually, McCoy, for one, had a pretty good game. Really, the entire Flyers defense core has had a really good series offensively. Kimmo Timonen has arguably been the most disappointing player, which is saying something.
- You know who's not a bright spot anywhere? Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo and humanity seem to have a strong mutual dislike for one another, dating back as long as I can remember. Carcillo had a particularly angry night tonight, getting hit in his head region several times by pucks and shoulders, and then when he actually made a good play he got a horrible penalty call against him. His reaction was far more ridiculous than the call, though, and was reminiscent of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. He was screaming at the ref non-stop, with some choice easy-to-lip read phrases like "motherfucker" and "fucking cocksucker." He scored a goal after that and then preceded to face the glass and scream some more obscenities at the fans. All in all, he was acting like a hemorrhoid on the anus of society and I haven't missed his time as a Flyer once.
- Another two day break between games, so we don't see the Flyers until Friday. I'll be at that game in person, so hopefully they try really hard to impress me. And hopefully they try really hard to impress everybody else, too, because it's probably a "must-win," whatever that means.
- ! ROTHENBERG RECAP RIDDLE #4 ! The Flyers handed out shirts that said #ClutchTime tonight, which is pretty dumb, but I cut them some slack because they're clearly running out of ideas at this point. So the question is--when was the first Flyers playoff game at which all fans got free orange shirts, and what did the shirts say?