With a fresh opportunity for new beginnings, the Philadelphia Flyers took the ice last night in Madison Square Garden. Although, they were already starting Game 1 playing their back-up goaltender, a hopeful team stood tall during an evenly matched first period. But that’s where the good news ends. After a tied first period they lost momentum in the second. The nail in the coffin came from a penalty taken by Jason Akeson, which gave the New York Rangers a perfect opening and go ahead to score 2 goals during their power play. The Rangers pulled away with the lead during the third period and the Flyers did not have the discipline nor the control to be able to catch them.
Game 1 for the Flyers was not too horrible. Minus the Akeson mishap, turn overs and lack of puck control, the Flyers showed some promise during the first period. In the coming games the Flyers will need to make a conscious effort to stay out of the penalty box. The Rangers’ power play may only be 15th in the league but there is a lot of talent out there on the ice and the Rangers were able to beat the Flyers last night. Serving a whopping 1,180 minutes in the penalty box during the regular season, the Flyers generally have a hard time staying out of the box, so when they are shorthanded they will be looking to Mason-Emery to come up big in net and the dynamic duo of Sean Couturier and Matt Read.
Claude Giroux is the backbone of the Flyers and there wasn’t much of a performance from him last night. Now that they have Game 1 under their belt G needs to come out big. As soon as he brings the energy and the momentum the team will do likewise.
One of the biggest challenges between the Flyers and a goal is the Gold medal goaltender blocking their shots: King Henrik, a consistent and confident goaltender who has gone 8-0-0 against the Flyers at Mason Square Garden. The Flyers will need to break that wall down and beat him in order to stay alive during the post-season. Lundquist is good and the Flyers will have to do their best to break down his confidence.
Last night, the goaltender in net would not have changed the outcome of the game for the Flyers. But, Steven Mason is magic and could have had a big influence. Mas has reclaimed his career this season, with a team that has been known as “where goaltenders come to die” I have complete confidence in Mas and it is unfortunate that he is out right now, but we have a veteran backup who brings playoff experience and all hope is with him now until Mas is healthy.
Now that everyone is off to the races, the Flyers will need to come back in a big was during Game 2. If the Flyers can’t perform better and they revisit their start from the regular season, they are in for a short post-season. Cross your fingers!! See you on Sunday!