Philadelphia Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes 11/26/2008
First intermission. Flyers 1 – Hurricanes 0.
I spent most of last season blogging about the frustratingly slow starts from the Philadelphia Flyers. Not any more! These guys are leaving the starting blocks so quickly, generating offense and stifling the opposition from the very first second of the game. The Flyers drew the first penalties of the game, and then Simon Gagne capitalized on poor defensive coverage to put the puck in a gaping net. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch that type of hockey.
That said, Carolina picked up the pace in the latter half of the period, forcing the Flyers to take two penalties in the last 10 minutes. The Hurricanes remind me a lot of the Flyers squad we saw during the first six games of the season: oodles of offense, splotchy defense, and sporadic goaltending. Yes, the Flyers lost several contests in the early going; they were also quite dangerous in every single one of those games.
The Flyers need to continue delivering the one-two punch on offense while maintaining their discipline. That’s the key to extending a winning streak in Carolina. Because make no mistake, the Hurricanes will not sit still for another 40 minutes.
Second intermission. Flyers 1 – Hurricanes 1.
Was I just saying something about Keeping the pressure on the ‘Canes and staying out of the box? Why do I always have to be right? [note: sarcasm in play]
The Flyers spent the entire second period shooting themselves in the feet. You don’t win hockey games a man short. You don’t win hockey games standing on your heels. And you definitely don’t win hockey games with sloppy outlet passes.
Maybe the Flyers need to have their own team meeting during the intermission to develop their counter-attack . . .
As an aside, I’m not entirely sure what happened at the end of the period between Mike Richards and Rod Brind’amour. The camera angles at the RBC arena aren’t the most favorable for hockey games, which obscured the view of the original play. All I could catch was the ensuing scrum and verbal barrage. And let’s just say that anything that ends with Richards being escorted off the ice by a referee while the veteran Brind’amour continues to argue with the official probably won’t end well.
End of game. Flyers 3 – Hurricanes 1.
I remember an occasion when I was about 8 years old and attended a summertime picnic with my family. Someone had made the most amazing Sloppy Joes – warm meat in a savory sauce on the perfect, fresh roll with sesame seeds. It was positively the most glorious thing I had ever eaten. Of course, when I was finished, I noticed that half my sandwich had slopped on my shirt, leaving a nasty stain that my mother would hate.
That’s very smiliar to the experience of watching Flyers hockey lately. They start game so stronly and create such beautiful scoring chances that it’s easy to forget what occurred during the middle periods. But if you’re really honest, you look back and notice these massive stains spilled across the entire game. Those stains include weak defensive coverage, undisciplined play, and failed forechecking.
Tonight’s effort was enough to escape Carolina with a road victory. That is no guarantee, however, for the next few games on the schedule. The Flyers will play the Hurricanes 3 more times between now and December 11, and performances similar to this evening’s simply won’t bring equivalent results. The Hurricanes are too talented and have too much leadership to allow such losses to continue.