I just really can’t make myself care about the garbage New York Rangers. How could I hate someone I don’t even know? They’re trash, but they’re unimportant trash. Entering the game, however, the Flyers occupied the final wild card spot while the Rangers cling madly to their third place position in the hotly contested Metropolitan division. Somehow. Still trash, but more important trash than I previously thought.
New York had the better of play in the first half of the first period, able to use their quick transitions and incredibly tenacious forecheck game to push the Flyers back into their own zone for a majority of the time. That, of course, yields to penalties taken for the slow team (i.e.: The Flyers) (it was Shayne Gostisbehere, so I won’t complain. Otherwise, God might smite us). Thankfully, the Flyers have what some might call a “good penalty kill”. Wayne Simmonds took advantage of a turnover and powered his way to a short-handed opportunity against Lundqvist. He even drew a penalty while he did it. God bless him. God bless his whole family, and god bless his dogs too.
Shocking to exactly zero humans on the planet, the Flyers created almost the entirety of their chances on the power play. While it didn’t tally, it was...Jesus Christ, it was beautiful. It was the best point of the game. When that top unit is on, they feel unstoppable. (Henrik Lundqvist did stop them, but that’s beside the point.)
It felt lucky to get into the first intermission scoreless. Sure, the shots were almost even, but watching sustained pressure against this team is so unsettling. The Flyers are like lightning when they get their chances (no, not that Lightning), and that’s fun to watch, but it’s stressful too.
Moving into the second, I’m sure we were all hoping to see a bit more crispness in clearing attempts and in passing, better dealing with the forecheck that was causing them strife, and as usual, less breakaways.
Haha. Nice hopes, idiot. After a nice sequence that saw the Flyers in the Rangers end, Kevin Hayes poked one past Manning at the blue line and skated it in on Mason, 2-on-1. Hayes is not on the team that I’m a fan of, so I don’t have to be nice. It was a shitty move and resulted in a shitty goal because I make the truth and you have no possible way of refuting this. 1-0 Rangers. How awful, but also who cares?
The Flyers had another chance at the power play about halfway through the second, and it resulted in me getting increasingly frustrated. We’re getting good chances! Sure we’re making a couple mistakes, but that’s par for the course here! Why aren’t any good things happening? Imagine a world where Lundqvist just let in six really ugly bad goals. Don’t you want to live in that world? I do too.
Walking into the third period down by a goal is not the end of the world, especially for this incarnation of the Flyers. This is what you tell yourself, even when you have bad feelings about what is about to transpire. You crush those feelings with blind optimism.
Chris Kreider scored early in the third, coming off excellent feeds from Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan, putting the Rangers up 2-0. Still not insurmountable. The Rangers continued to add to that lead, though, because hope is an illusion. Michael Grabner, who is apparently a scoring machine (?), got a great pass from J.T. Miller as Radko Gudas watched in horror. Me too, Radko. Me too.
The Flyers scored on the power play, making the score 3-1 and providing a glimmer of hope that was easily squashed. I was all “hey, the Flyers! perhaps you will maybe do the thing?” They responded quickly: “No, Allison, Kevin Hayes is going to score again and then Jake will score again so we’re within two, but at the end of the day, we will disappoint you and the Rangers will score an empty netter that stings like a slap to the face.” So then I said thank you and apologized for bothering them.
- Brandon Manning had a Not Great™ game tonight. He made a couple good plays, but when you’re on the hook for goals, those little things don’t matter much to me or to anyone else. Anyway, God is dead.
- I have opinions about Travis Konecny. The Flyers should be focusing on getting him opportunities to skate in open ice, chances to be creative and make plays. Instead, they, are, uh, barely letting him skate. Konecny’s ice time was pretty abysmal at just 11:35. When you combine that with his recent benching, you have to worry. I know his defense hasn’t been great and I know he is learning as time goes on, but look critically at the message coaching is sending to players. Either play creatively but make no mistakes, or play conservatively. That’s a dangerous dichotomy. I don’t care how much you trust your penalty-killing, energy-having fourth liners. Travis Konecny should not be skating less time.
- There isn’t an argument to be had here: Dave Hakstol’s best coaching decision this season has been playing Wayne Simmonds on the penalty kill. He has been an absolute force to be reckoned with, and not just because he is somehow always getting breakaways. Ultimately, his play has been a game-changer for this penalty kill. Good work here, David. And good work, Wayne.
- Simmonds skated a little on the first line late in the game. Whether or not this will follow in games to come, who can be sure? Regardless, he’s playing very well at the moment, so maybe that’s something Hakstol will revisit if the Flyers continue to slump.
- Steve Mason made 23 saves on 27 shots. I don’t want to get into arguments on the internet, so I’ll leave it at that.
- Speaking of goaltenders, how annoying is Henrik Lundqvist? Seriously, he is the only thing that truly angers me about this team. Why aren’t we doing more to break him down? Emotionally and otherwise?
- Has anyone ever considered luring him away from his net with a very tasteful Buckley-Base Mesh-Print tuxedo jacket from Tom Ford? We need to start thinking outside of the box with our distraction techniques.
- What we need to do is get scientists studying what goes on with that beautifully coiffed Swedish silk he calls hair and in his big goalie brain.
- Finally, I have the Rangers blocked on twitter because I don’t like seeing their content, but can we please discuss what’s going on here with their twitter avatar:
- Surely that isn’t what they’re going with? Surely that is just a placeholder that was never supposed to see the light of day, right? If not, I am...delighted.
All in all, you can never make me care about the Rangers. I don’t care if they beat the Flyers ∞ to -∞ . I still won’t acknowledge them enough to hate them. Who even are they? I am simply not familiar.
Flyers look to extend the losing streak on Saturday against the Lightning (see, that Lightning joke had purpose! Foreshadowing! We’re getting all kinds of literary up in this bitch.)