Flyers vs. Penguins 12/13/2008
In hockey, they often say that winning requires your best players to be your best players. The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins both demonstrated the validity of that idiom this afternoon.
Breaking down the numbers
Pittsburgh Penguins with 20+ minutes ice time
Evgeni Malkin – 0G, 1A, +1, 1 shot, 1 missed shot, 18% FW, TOI 22:26
Philippe Boucher – 0G, 0A, E, 0 shots, 2 blocked shots, TOI 22:17
Rob Scuderi – 0G, 0A, -1, 2 giveaways, 3 blocked shots, TOI 21:47
Sidney Crosby – 0G, 0A, -1, 4 shots, 1 blocked shot, 2 giveaways, TOI 21:37 minutes
Jordan Staal – 1G, 0A, E, 2 missed shots, 43% FW, TOI 21:20
Brooks Orpik – 0G, 0A, -2, 4 hits, TOI 21:13
Alex Goligoski – 0G, 1A, +1, 2 shots, 2 giveaways, TOI 20:28
Philadelphia Flyers with 20+ minutes ice time
Kimmo Timonen – 0G, 4A, E, 2 hits, TOI 26:00
Jeff Carter – 1G, 2A, 4 shots, 3 hits, 63% FW, TOI 23:09
Braydon Coburn – 0G, 0A, E, 2 shots, 2 hits, TOI 22:36
Mike Knuble – 2G, 0A, +2, 7 shots, TOI 21:47
Matt Carle – 0G, 2A, E, 3 giveaways, 2 blocked shots, TOI 21:00
Simon Gagne – 0G, 0A, +1, 2 shots, 1 blocked shot, TOI 20:11
*Mike Richards – 1G, 2A, +1, 4 shots, 2 hits, 53% FW, TOI 19:40
I was quite shocked at Sidney Crosby’s performance. This guy never takes shifts off, let alone entire games – particularly against the Philadelphia Flyers. (If you’re looking for the reason why, I’d suggest reading The Kid for a great account of Crosby’s first rookie welcome to Broad Street. Using a borrowed book from your local library, of course.) I’m not even sure how to react to his disappearing act this afternoon. Thought the Flyers fans at the Wachovia Center certainly brought their loudest cheering voices, just for him.
Mike Richards may not have reached the 20-minute mark today, but he played an excellent game across the board. He excels at knowing when to do just about everything on the ice, from passing the puck to dropping the gloves in defense of a teammate. Each of those skills were on full display as he completely shut down Sidney Crosby.
Also notable are Kimmo Timonen’s four assists today. Timonen is such a quiet defenseman that his contributions to the hockey club are sometimes overlooked. Whether he’s covering the point on a power play or deftly deflecting shots and passes around Marty Biron’s crease, Timonen is the glue holding the Flyers’ blueline together. He’s definitely among the ranks of Howe and Desjardins for best Flyer defenseman to wear the uniform.
The Flyers’ go-to-guys were involved in the offense, defensively responsible, and good in the faceoff circle. Pittsburgh wasn’t, and that made the difference in this hockey game.
Activating the depth players
More importantly, the Flyers managed to activate their depth plays. Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell each played less than 20 minutes this afternoon, but both contributed goals to their club. Luca Sbisa and Ossi Vaananen each had quiet, solid games on the back end.
For the Penguins, only Kris Letang (plus-2 rating) had a worthwhile performance. Dany Sabourin was average in goal. Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, and Miroslav Satan failed to register points on the scoresheet. You can’t win games with these types of numbers.
In summary, the Flyers won the first faceoff and never looked back. They won battles in every important area: along the boards, in the crease, at the circle, and on the scoreboard. As a Flyer fan, it was a joy to watch the Orangemen dominate the Pens so handily. This year’s Battle of Pennsylvania has been incredibly competitive, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.