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Flyers vs. Lightning 12/2/2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pregame.
There are three questions that should guide your viewing this evening:

1. How will Steve Downie perform in his first NHL game since being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning? Downie went from Philadelphia to the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, received a suspension, and then was placed on the NHL roster for this evening’s game. A lot of the press are focusing on the “tough guy” element of Downie’s game—Tim Panaccio, Ed Moran, and Sam Cachidi all sought out Riley Cote for comments on potential rough stuff tonight.

I would focus more on Downie’s actual performance tonight. Because of the suspensions, people forget just how talented and tenacious he can be on the ice. It will be interesting to see how he responds to playing since his first trade, especially against his former club.

2. How will Danny Briere perform in his first game after suffering a groin injury? Danny Briere returns to the lineup between rookie Andreas Nodl and sniper Joffrey Lupul. Briere and Lupul showed some chemistry together last season after Simon Gagne was lost to injury. I expect that Nodl is included on this line to give some defensive responsibility—not often you see a rookie forward held up to lend defense alongside a veteran and a solid NHLer. We’ll see whether this line can match the intensity of Knuble-Richards-Gagne and Hartnell-Carter-Upshall.

3. How will the Flyers rebound from their two-game losing streak? The Flyers started out slow with a 6-game losing streak, rebounded slightly with a win-one-lose-one streak, and then hit a strong patch in mid-November. Sounds a lot like last year’s roller coaster, doesn’t it? Scott Hartnell mentioned on Monday Night Live last night that the best teams are consistent. Well, tonight is the Flyers’ chance to show that they know how to produce that consistency.

POSTGAME. Flyers 4 – Lightning 3.
The special teams battle ended in favor of the Flyers in overtime on – what else – a power play goal. Let’s take a look at our three big questions.

1. How will Steve Downie perform in his first NHL game since being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning? Downie produced a fairly solid effort for Rick Tocchet this evening—a goal, a plus-one rating, two hits, and a scrum early in the game. Come to think of it, Downie and Tocchet seem to have a lot in common in terms of style. His response to playing against his former team was actually rather mature, especially for a player of Downie’s youth and history of immature decision-making. From what I saw tonight, Downie definitely deserves at least one more game in the Lightning uniform.

2. How will Danny Briere perform in his first game after suffering a groin injury? By getting another injury.

Briere left the game midway through the second period. He registered one penalty, a missed shot, a blocked shot, a giveaway, and a 25% faceoff percentage. Oh, and he had one hit. Although I’m not sure how much a hit from a guy of Briere’s size and weight is actually worth. Looks like Glen Metropolit will be back on the third line on Thursday night.

3. How will the Flyers rebound from their two-game losing streak? The Flyers played a decent game this evening when they stayed out of the penalty box. Despite being assessed 32 penalty minutes, the Flyers still managed to stay within six shots of Tampa Bay. Despite losing two forwards and a defenseman—Scottie Upshall to a game misconduct, Briere and Matt Carle to injury—they maintained strong legs through the overtime.

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter continued their dominance with two goals apiece. (By the way, to those who only know Carter for his scoring prowess, the young center also blocked 3 shots this evening.) Joffrey Lupul picked up two assists and six shots. Ossi Vaananen played strong, earning a plus-one rating and delivering 3 hits. Braydon Coburn and Andrew Alberts also played well; each had 3 blocked shots.

To address the Scottie Upshall major penalty for boarding and his game misconduct: The League will certainly review this play tomorrow and probably dish out the obligatory two-game suspension for all Flyers involved in questionable hits.

Granted, I am a Flyers fan and carry a bias as bright orange as the Flyers’ third jerseys. But this was a poor call by the refs. Upshall deserved a penalty for boarding, and possibly even a major. However, the game misconduct was rather ridiculous. Artyukhin was admiring his pass, ceasing to pay attention to his surroudnings. While Upshall should have eased up on the play, he didn’t leave his feet nor did he aim for the head. He pushed Artyukhin from behind – that’s boarding, but not a game misconduct.

Special credit should go to all penalty killers for the Flyers. Despite long stretches of time short-handed in the second period, they hung in there and made it possible to keep the game tied at one. Later in the game, they saved rookie Luca Sbisa from having a very embarrassing penalty late in the game become a costly mistake. This game was won on the backs of the penalty killers; they deserved a standing ovation after killing the 5 minute major.

Now it’s up to the Flyers to convert this game into momentum for Thursday’s matchup against the hated New Jersey Devils.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 7:40 pm

    Carter strikes again! And what’s with those jerseys?! 🙂

  2. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 7:59 pm

    I LOVE THE ORANGE!!!

  3. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:00 pm

    Now the Flyers just need to go out and win. They’ve struggled against Tampa ever since the 2004 playoffs, and I really want to see a victory tonight.

  4. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:02 pm

    It’s not terrible, but they look like a bunch of pumpkins out there..

    What’d Avery do this time to get himself suspended? I missed that part of the intermission report.

  5. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:31 pm

    Gah! I’m trying to get through to a Devils fan that Todd Bertuzzi is worse than Avery, but I’m making absolutely no progress.. She apparently only follows the Devils and doesn’t care about other teams {Besides hating the Rangers}.

    Oh, and before I forget: Go Avs! 🙂

  6. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:54 pm

    They do kind of look like pumpkins on TV. In person, the orange is much brighter – think traffic cone. But after watching so many black-vs-white games, it’s kind of nice to see things in color.

    Avery decided to break his silence in the press: I’m really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada,” said Avery. “I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about, but enjoy the game tonight.” Too bad he can’t sue anyone for libel this time.

    Comparing Bertuzzi and Avery is like comparing apples to oranges. Bertuzzi is a power forward who got carried away one night. Avery is a loud-mouth hotdog who has a verbal diarrhea problem.

    I wouldn’t argue too hard. Her first problem is that she’s a Devils fan.

  7. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:57 pm

    I know, but come on, it’s like Bertuzzi doesn’t even register on her hate-o-meter! I haven’t even bothered to bring up Pronger yet.. 🙂

  8. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:00 pm

    Like I said – Devils fan. Has not seen true offense in 15+ years. Not worth arguing with.

    Pronger has a mean streak, for sure. The other one that always gets me is Alexei Kovalev. For a skilled guy, he pulls some down-and-dirty tricks that scare me. One of these days, he’s going to end someone’s career with that elbow.

  9. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:03 pm

    I almost forgot Chris Simon. I gained a new level of hate for Minnesota when they acquired him.

    I get the point about her being a Devils fan, but what does that have to do with Bertuzzi, Pronger, etc? 🙂

  10. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:05 pm

    Three special teams goals so far. Think we’ll see any at even strength?

  11. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:12 pm

    Another for Carter on the Power Play. But still no even strength goals! 🙂

  12. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:14 pm

    Another one?!

  13. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:21 pm

    Okay, there are some slight drawbacks to the new look. For example, it’s hard to differentiate between comments..

  14. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 9:33 pm

    It figures Downie would ruin the five goal streak. 🙂

  15. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:02 pm

    Come on, I filled up the comments section, now you have to write the recap! 🙂

  16. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:13 pm

    1) I need to get an internet connection in the same room as the TV.

    2) Yeah, comments do run together a bit.

    3) Working on the recap

  17. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:15 pm

    I was worried I might have to do my own recap! {Warning: I didn’t watch much of the game because I was arguing with a Devils fan} 🙂

  18. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:30 pm

    I’m still waiting.. Fair is fair FF. I filled out the comments, you have to do the blogging part! 🙂

  19. Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:41 pm

    It’s up!

    You should definitely check out the highlights – Timonen’s pass on the game-winner was absolutely sick!

    As to the Devils fan issue – I’m a Flyers fan. We hardly even acknowledge that Devils fans exist, let alone argue with them.

    Now Rangers fans, we’ll argue with to the death . . . .

  20. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:44 pm

    Um, apparently Briere is her second favorite player {Behind Parise}… A strange Devils fan if you ask me!

  21. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:53 pm

    Speaking of Briere, when do you think he’ll be 100% again? It seems every time he gets back on the ice, he proceeds to get hurt again..

  22. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:01 pm

    I’ll watch the highlights tomorrow FF, I’m heading to bed.

  23. John permalink
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008 5:34 pm

    A nice pass it was!

    But I wish NHL.com made better use of replays on their highlights.. 😉

  24. Thursday, December 4, 2008 12:06 am

    Yeah, the NHL could use some serious revamping of their marketing efforts.

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  1. Flyers vs. Lightning 12/2/2008 | FlyersFanCentral

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