The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins allegedly played tonight, although it was hard to tell behind a deluge of hilarious technical difficulties via NHL on TNT. To be honest, being largely unable to see what was happening on the screen might have been to fans’ benefit. What did we learn, who stood out, and what were the funniest live production gaffes of the night? Let’s dive in.
What went right?
Joel Farabee looked like his usually dazzling self, scoring two beautiful goals on the power play.
Whew. Muy caliente.
The special teams play for Philly with the man advantage looked quite promising on the evening, with some excellent playmaking coming out of Cam York, Farabee, and James van Riemsdyk. The preseason iterations of Michel Therrien’s units have been a bit unorthodox in personnel choices and deployment (Ristolainen on the half wall is an intriguing experiment), but have consistently generated scoring opportunities and pressure. That’s not to say that the power play is solved or anything, but it’s trending the right direction.
Nicolas Aubé-Kubel had one of his best games in a long time. NAK flirted with peak 2019-20 season form, tenaciously forechecking and drawing penalties while driving play and contributing in transition. For a Flyers team missing Wade Allison and Kevin Hayes (and therefore staring down the possibility of putting Giroux back at center), having some good signs from Aubé-Kubel is a nice confidence boost.
Lastly, Philadelphia as a team did an admirable enough job of understanding that this was going to be a tightly called game and took advantage of it, drawing six penalties. Probably not a replicable event, but definitely something worthy of praise. I’d also like to credit the team for playing harder and executing better as the game went on, even after a demoralizing first period. Solid show of character.
What went wrong?
A whole lot, and I’m not referring to the glitchy mess on my television. A young, non-NHL lineup looked wholly overmatched against David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. The Flyers looked out of sorts at all strengths, struggling to get the puck out of the defensive zone, establish any semblance of sustained offensive pressure, or do much of anything positive for much of the game after their initial power play goal.
Wyatte Wylie got burned badly on the second goal of the game, and Farabee couldn’t make it back in time to cover for him.
Most notably, however, Martin Jones didn’t look so hot. After allowing one that he probably would’ve liked to stop to open the scoring for Boston (not all on him given the iffy defense and moving screen present here), Jones coughed up a brutal tally for Boston’s third of the game on a shot he absolutely should have had. Not ideal!
The Flyers didn’t look particularly disciplined on the night, taking five penalties. While some of the calls were a bit soft, it wasn’t encouraging stuff; neither were the subsequent showings from the penalty kill, which looked iffy at best and demonstrably awful at worst. Again, too much standing around, not enough pressure on the opposing team. Boston entered and set up their attack with little resistance.
Three Big Things
- TNT. Baby. Not trying to put on my “I work in sports production and know everything there is to know” hat, but damn y’all, that was rough. What looked like a series of catastrophic issues with the fiber cable network tanked the show’s debut, particularly destroying any semblance of a watchable product during the second period. This should be laid squarely at the feet of the engineer(s) and/or producer for not repping everything enough, but everybody (shading, audio, graphics) made some painful mistakes tonight. Work it out and come back better, please. At least Rick Tocchet was pretty funny.
- The Flyers were essentially icing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms against the Perfection Line for half of this game. Let’s not overreact to the play of the skaters, even if some of the issues could be chalked up to the system rather than individuals. These guys are not NHLers yet for good reason.
- Martin Jones might be a mess, and that’s gonna be an issue sooner rather than later. The Flyers think they can fix him; they have four more preseason games to figure things out. Good luck with that.
Post Game Tunes
A banger from Oso Oso with a fantastic cover photo:
Good night, good hockey, and as always, go Flyers.