Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 11/13/2008
I posted some pregame thoughts on the Flyers earlier today. You can catch those here.
Otherwise, you might try checking out some thoughts on the big rivalry from bloggers on both sides of the Keystone state. Despite their affiliation with my team’s archrival, I thoroughly enjoy the output over at The Pensblog. They’re hands-down the best photoshoppers commenting on the NHL.
And apparently yours truly has not done a terrific job covering the Flyers, since I don’t warrant a mention from PensBurgh. I’m graciously linking over there anyway. See, Flyers fans do have class.
One Penguins blogger who does acknowledge my existence is the Wicked Wrister. While I don’t agree that Mike Richards is a diver or that Danny Briere is actually a woman, I admire the passion.
Now on to the true hockey fans. Eager to go psycho brings her unique brand of humor to the rivalry. We all know how she loves that Crybaby Crosby. Flyers Goal Scored By . . . is hoping for a November miracle to grant victory to the guys in Orange and Black. And the Flying P pulled out all the stops for the grudge match—I love the animation!
Hopefully I will have some fantastic Flyers hockey to discuss later this evening. Until then, enjoy the game!
What I loved:
- John Stevens did an outstanding job handling his bench tonight. The timeout, complete with a stern lecture, was perfectly executed. His team picked up the pace from that moment on, and they never looked back.
- Simon Gagne is back with a vengeance and hungry for more. Okay, cheesy taglines aside, the speedy forward looked exactly like the Gagne who made headlines when Peter Forsberg was his center. His burst of power on the first short-handed goal showed every skill that makes Gagne potent. Getting his stick into the passing lane on the defensive end started the play. A little speed sent him racing past two Penguins and forced Malkin to consider a restraining move. Then Gagne protected the puck while driving towards the net, wrapping up the rush with a patient, skillfully executed shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Luca Sbisa continued to steamroll through another game. Normally, we talk about taking advantage of young defensemen, attacking their confidence and their weaker judgment. Sbisa appeared fully in control of himself throughout the game, even when faced with brilliant moves from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The kid from Switzerland is downright scary, and I’m excited to see how he’s going to develop over the next few years.
- Martin Biron proved that it’s going to take more than a slow start to keep a good man down. He put up big saves when he needed to, finding ways to stop some of the best players in the National Hockey League. What most impressed me was his quiet patience during the shootout. Rarely do you see a goaltender remain that still when facing a shot from players like Crosby, Malkin, and Jordan Staal. It’s a shame the team couldn’t put one in at the other end to give Biron the win.
What I disliked:
- The Flyers got behind early and started to wither on defense. This team needs to find confidence somewhere. They did a great job on defensive coverage during the first five minutes of the game and probably would have started to generate good plays if they had hung in there. Instead, they allowed themselves to become cautious and allowed the Penguins too much room to move.
- This game was lost on lack of momentum in the third period. Much as they did in the first, the Flyers came out pouring energy onto the Penguins. The offense held sway, controlling the puck and dictating momentum. Then, for whatever reason, the guys decided to go into shutdown mode. The Flyers are not the New Jersey Devils, and they need to remember to continue heaping on the offense at all times if they want to win games.