Game Three: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
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looking for answers

Heading home, the Philadelphia Flyers appeared to have the upper hand. They had just regained home ice advantage by upending the New York Rangers in game two, 4-2. But, everything reverted back to the way it was previously with their 4-1 loss to New York on Tuesday. If Philadelphia is going to once again tie the series, they’ll need to improve in a variety of ways. The good news is that they’ll have until Friday night to do so. The bad news is that they now need to win 3 of the next 4 games to keep their season alive.

The Good

– The home crowd was electric as usual. Philadelphia has made this routine come playoff time. It’s unfortunate that the Flyers fell behind so early, as that took a little bit of the charge out of the sold out crowd. Including standing room only, the Wells Fargo Center was 103.1% full. Expect a similar scenario on Friday, when the Rangers visit Philly for game 4.

– The blue line continues to put the pedal to the metal offensively. Mark Streit scored the Flyers’ only goal of the game on a redirection of a beautiful one-time feed from Jakub Voracek. The Flyers’ defensemen have now scored 3 of the team’s 6 goals this postseason.

The Bad

– The Flyers’ power play was just atrocious. They finally got a majority of the calls from the referees, and Philadelphia’s man-advantage went a pathetic 0-5. To make matters worse, the team only managed 4 shots combined in 5 PP opportunities.

– Compounding the Flyers’ issues was the Rangers’ shot blocking prowess. But, Philadelphia made little effort to alter the game plan from what they’ve been doing all season. That is, pass the puck from point to point and fire away from the blue line. That may have worked in February and March. But, it’s not going to work against a Rangers team that is familiar with this strategy and has always been dominant in the realm of blocking shots.

– Scott Hartnell might be the most overpaid player on the team. The formerly gifted power forward is now little more than a bad penalty waiting to happen. Hartnell was called for boarding in the first, and missed on numerous chances on the power play over the course of the game. It’s time Craig Berube finally made an adjustment and took Hartnell off of Giroux’s line. He does nothing but devalue the unit when Voracek and Giroux are playing 110% and Hartnell is out there falling down and turning the puck over. Move Raffl or Akeson up and banish Sideshow Scott to the bottom-six.

– While Luke Schenn has been a pleasant surprise this postseason, there’s no reason why the defensively oriented d-man should lead your team in shots. Schenn recorded 5 shots on Tuesday. No one else had more than 3.

The Ugly

– Or, maybe Vincent Lecavalier is the most overpaid player on the Flyers. Last year’s big acquisition has become nothing but a major liability this postseason. Another -2 day for Lecavalier came on the heels of his promotion back to the team’s second line. Along with Brayden Schenn (another liability) and Wayne Simmonds, this formerly potent unit has been thoroughly neutered by the Rangers’ blue line.

– It may be time to say goodbye to Kimmo Timonen following this season. The 39-year old defenseman, who has been a rock for years on the Flyers’ blue line, has looked slow and weak this postseason. I get that he’s probably playing with an injury. But, it’s unlikely that Timonen becomes any less injury prone once he hits his 40th birthday. The Flyers cannot afford to waste another $6 million on a 40-year old defenseman who can’t score or play defense. It’s also time for Berube to grow a spine and remove Timonen from the first powerplay unit. Moving Streit to the first unit would give them a bonafide offensive threat at the point.

– Well, Ray, it was fun while it lasted. Ray Emery looked solid in game two. But, this Cinderella story turned back into a pumpkin on Tuesday. It’s unfortunate that Berube went with Emery instead of a seemingly healthy Steve Mason. Now, Mason returns for game 4, knowing that he needs to win 3 out of the next 4 to keep this team’s season alive.

– What’s up with Craig Berube’s atrocious handling of the time on ice? Jakub Voracek has probably been Philadelphia’s best forward. Yet, he played only 13:51 on Tuesday. Claude Giroux similarly played just 17 minutes. Meanwhile, both Sean Couturier and Matt Read played 20 minutes or more. I understand that Couturier’s line is the best defensive unit and plays significant shorthanded minutes. But, you’re at home. Now’s the time to take advantage of last change and get your best playmakers out there. It’s a shame that Berube hasn’t adjusted at all.

– Finally, Daniel Carcillo was once again the center of attention on Tuesday. The former Flyers’ grinder/scumbag proved that, regardless of the jersey that he wears, he’s just as much a piece of garbage whenever and wherever he plays. Philadelphia (and the leaky five-hole of Emery) allowed “Carbomb” to score the Rangers’ fourth goal of the game, moments after the ECHL talent left the penalty box. One can only hope that Zac Rinaldo grows a pair and sends Carcillo back to New York with a few sore muscles and a jersey redder than the rose.

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