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Flyers vs. Islanders 12/9/2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pregame.
If you’ve caught any of the news articles or pieces on the Flyers’ website, you already know the main issues: Flyers weak at 5-on-5 play, Matt Carle still out with back spasms, and Joffrey Lupul elevated to second line status. So I won’t rehash here.

What I will say is that Joffrey Lupul has a lot yet to prove to me. He has looked rather okay to me of late, and okay just doesn’t cut it in the NHL. Now maybe that’s because he requires more ice time to get his legs going; there are players like that who improve the more they play. LupulΒ will have all the time and accompanying talent he should require on Jeff Carter’s wing. It’s crunch time for the young winger.

First intermission. Islanders 2 – Flyers 0.
The Islanders arrived in Philadelphia late last night, but at least they came ready to play. The Flyers sat on the heels for a period, watched the Islanders walk towards the net, and took sloppy penalties along the boards. Two points tonight would tie them with the Penguins in the standings, and they won’t get those points with lazy play.

God bless the fourth liners! They have consistently been the best puck possession unit of the bunch lately, and they were rewarded with a much deserved goal tonight. Riley Cote set the stage by drawing a penalty earlier in the period. Then, he threw a huge hit on Jon Sim and directed the puck out between the hash marks. Arron Asham snatched that puck and put it past Yann Denis. It was a crisp play that resembled what I expected to see from our top three units.

This team needs to adopt the attitude demonstrated by Cote, Asham and Darroll Powe. The game has started; don’t get left behind!

Second intermission. Islanders 2 – Flyers 3.
FINALLY! It took almost half the game, but the Flyers’ top nine forwards found their stride. Mike Richards, as always, led the way with his shot blocking and terrific playmaking. His excellent sense of timing created the play that resulted in Darroll Powe’s first NHL tally. Scottie Upshall is just a ball of energy, and that energy contributedΒ to Carter’s go-ahead goal.

The Flyers aren’t out of the woods quite yet, though. From the puck that clanged off the post to Doug Weight’s near miss on a deflection to the penalty killers who forced Marty Biron to show his stuff, this Islanders squad does not go down without a fight. It’s going to require another period of sustained intensity for the Flyers to get out of the Wachovia Center with two points.

End of game. Islanders 3 – Flyers 4.
Riley Cote earned one of tonight’s three stars of the game, and there couldn’t be a better guy to see receive the honor. Cote was never drafted and played in pratically every North American minor hockey league in existence. He spent multiple years with the Philadelphia Phantoms, won a Calder Cup with the team in 2005, and waited some more before finally gaining a roster spot with the big club.

I will never forget watching him skate quietly after the ice following his first NHL goal against the Montreal Canadiens. When asked why he didn’t celebrate, Cote pointed out that the team was losing by quite a bit. If the team wasn’t winning, then there wasn’t a reason to celebrate. The guy has character, and it’s great to see him earn a bit of recognition for his hockey club.

A few stat notes:
1. The broadcast guys spent significant time discussing Mike Sillinger’s faceoff prowess – 64% success rate for the evening. On the Flyers’ side, Jeff Carter pulled out a 63% effort, unusually successful for the high-scoring forward.
2. Kimmo Timonen led the Flyers with a plus-three rating for the night. Even for Timonen, that’s pretty good.
3. I talked about Joffrey Lupul in the pregame. In 18:53 of ice time, he was a minus-one with three attempts blocked and 2 giveaways. Not Lupul’s best outing, especially considering that he had enough minutes to get going. Perhaps he was trying too hard?

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:24 pm

    Hmm.. two fourth liners have scored for Philly. Now if the other guys would just chip in. πŸ™‚

  2. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:33 pm

    Does Carter count as one of “the other guys”?

  3. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:49 pm

    Yeah, I’d say he qualifies as non-fourth line

  4. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:54 pm

    Okay then, we have a winner!

  5. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:57 pm

    It all goes back to that Lupul question. He makes some nice passes, but it’s like he’s not trying hard enough or something. There was a play sometime in the first period, I believe, where Carter took the puck to the net. Denis let out a huge rebound. If Lupul had actually follow Carter to the net, Lupul might have had a goal there. Instead, he hung out at the blueline and ended up chasing the Islanders back into the Flyers zone.

    But only a shift or two after Stevens decides to put Upshall back on that line, Carter scores. Coincidence? I think not.

  6. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 9:02 pm

    I’d have to agree with you there. I believe I saw the play in question, and I was wondering why Lupul was hanging back.

  7. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 9:51 pm

    A nice start for the Avs, up 2-0 less than 5 minutes in.

  8. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 9:53 pm

    There’s some offense for you!

  9. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:00 pm

    When did I complain about offense?! I said our /defense/ needs work. πŸ™‚

  10. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:00 pm

    3-0!

  11. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:02 pm

    Okay, I know you haven’t complained. But you have to admit that, for an offensive team, Colorado hasn’t been lighting it up as much as they could.

    Except tonight, of course.

  12. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:04 pm

    Yeah, well that’s one of the problems with being an offensive-minded Western Conference squad. πŸ˜‰

  13. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 10:59 pm

    6-1, barring some miracle, they should win this one easily. I’m calling it a night. See you around FF!

  14. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:04 pm

    Famous last words . . . πŸ™‚

  15. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:19 pm

    That’s why I’m still on here! I knew as soon as I posted it that something would go wrong, so I’ve got RealTime up while I check for anything new in the sports world.

  16. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:35 pm

    Also, I forgot to mention: When are the excuses going to run out for Lupul? You said it was crunch time for him in the pre-game notes, but then wondered if he was trying to hard in the post-game report.
    Or were you being sarcastic with that last sentence?

  17. Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:46 pm

    I’m not excusing him. That last question was definitely tongue-in-cheek.

    It was crunch time. And he got crunched tonight. He got the opportunity he’s been waiting for against a struggling team. He couldn’t make it happen, so what makes anyone think he’ll step up against a bigger club?

    The Flyers are so deep at forward, and there are plenty of guys in our system right now who would kill for that top nine spot. If demotion to the fourth line and promotion to the second doesn’t work, I think it’s time to try the healthy scratch route.

    And speaking of sarcastic, I thought you were out. πŸ™‚

  18. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:55 pm

    Only 2-3 minutes left and then I’m /really/ out! They’re still holding the 6-1 lead, so things look good.

  19. John permalink
    Tuesday, December 9, 2008 11:59 pm

    Game!

    Side note: I hate Murphy’s Law. πŸ™‚

  20. John permalink
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:01 am

    It’s midnight EST, and I’m finally out!

  21. John permalink
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:01 am

    Okay, so it was 00:01, big deal. πŸ™‚

  22. Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:03 am

    I don’t get the Murphy’s Law comment. Did something happen in the game? I saw 6-1 was the final score. So confused . . .

  23. John permalink
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:21 am

    Without Murphy’s Law I wouldn’t have been worried about going to bed at 11:00. Instead I had to stay up past midnight to make sure things went smoothly.

  24. Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4:41 pm

    Oh, that must have been sooo difficult for you. Would you like a cookie? πŸ™‚

    And on that note, I am out for the evening. Have to do some work to pay the bills.

  25. John permalink
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:56 pm

    No, I don’t want a cookie. Rather, I want one cookie for each finger Sakic broke, plus one for each goal the Avs scored last night! πŸ™‚

  26. Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:15 am

    Just be careful when you’re handling those cookies. Wouldn’t want to see any other “household accidents” this week.

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