Game Two: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Posted: April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
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The comeback kids have done it again. After setting a franchise record for most third period deficits overcome during the regular season, the Philadelphia 'Flyers evened up their best-of-seven series with the New York Rangers at one apiece after 4-2 victory on Sunday. Down 2-0 in the first period, the Flyers used a dominant second frame to overcome New York’s home ice advantage. The two teams will travel down I-95 to Philadelphia in anticipation for game three on Tuesday evening. Having regained home ice advantage in their favor, the Flyers will look to take the reigns of the series at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers were 2-0 against the Rangers at home this season, and have experienced much greater success against their division rivals at the Wells Fargo Center in recent years. Now, that doesn’t guarantee anything, as the Rangers had the best road record of any team in the league this season. One thing is for sure, this series is only beginning. Anyone who thought that the Rangers would cruise to victory is sorely mistaken. This one is likely going seven.

The Good

– Ray Emery was even better than his game one performance. The veteran netminder earned the first star of the game by stopping 31 of 33 shots, many of which were high quality chances late in the game. Today, the team named Emery as their starter for game three on Tuesday. It’s obvious that Steve Mason is not yet 100%. But, even more obvious is the fact that Emery has earned a start in front of the hometown faithful.

– The elder Schenn has emerged as a primetime playoff performer. While Brayden Schenn still remains relatively anonymous (though he did get credit with an assist), older brother Luke scored the game winning goal after pinching on a delayed penalty during the second period. Luke has always been known as a phenomenal hitter. But, his offensive game is relatively unrefined. The Flyers have now scored two of their five goals from the blue liners.

– Jason Akeson with retribution for his brutal game one penalty. The young winger scored the game-tying goal on the power play to give Philadelphia hope yet again. Not only is he solidifying his spot on the roster for the remainder of the playoffs. But, the former Kitchener Rangers star is quickly cementing a roster spot for next year, as well.

– Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek were again the best players on the ice. The latter scored the Flyers’ first goal on a beautiful backhand-fake to forehand snipe. The Captain, meanwhile, tallied an assist and a +2 rating despite still not recording a shot on goal. All in a days work for the two best offensive players in orange-and-black.

The Bad

– Still too many bad penalties taken early in the game that contributed to their 2-0 deficit. Granted, the Wayne Simmonds hooking call was probably the most egregious penalty in hockey history. But, the Flyers cannot afford to take stupid penalties early in games that lead to Rangers power plays.

– Sean Couturier continues to struggle in the faceoff circle. Granted, Couts had a phenomenal game and has been a plus player during the course of this series. But, his 36.8% face off winning percentage was near the bottom of the list. The only center worse was Brayden Schenn.

– Speaking of Brayden Schenn, the young center is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to head into restricted free agency with any sort of bargaining chips. The former top prospect looked better in game two, recording an assist as well as three hits. But, he disappears for long stretches, and it’s clear that Craig Berube doesn’t trust his line enough to put him out there in their own defensive zone.

The Ugly

– Zac Rinaldo is considered one of the Flyers’ energy players. Well, they didn’t get much use out of him on Sunday. Rinaldo played just 4:27 of ice time, fewest of any player on either team. He was also the Flyers’ only minus player, as he finished the afternoon -1.

– The Rangers’ penchant for embellishment is growing. I know that this series is coined “Broad Street vs. Broadway.” But, is New York trying for a Tony Award nomination with all the acting and diving they’re committing? New York was penalized for two dives, and it could have been much more. This is the NHL, not the Ice Capades. Clean it up, New York.

– Finally, the refereeing continues to be shaky at best. The Rangers once again doubled up the Flyers on power plays in game two. We’ll see whether or not those numbers even out when Philadelphia returns home on Tuesday.

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