Three O&BP Writers Attend Flyers Win Over the Caps, Three Separate Period Reviews -- Let's Have Some Fun

Period 1, by Joe Bogle

Period 2, by Michael DeNicola

Period 3, by Nick Arnold

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 --

You may not have guessed, but when the majority of the Orange & Black Pack writers attend a Flyers game, it's a pretty rare occurrence. Last night Joe Bogle, Nick Arnold and I were three of 19,904 fans in the Wells Fargo Center watching our boys in Orange stomp the Capitals through the ice and into the arena's foundation. 

Unfortunately our fourth contributor, Timothy March, was unavailable to attend and had to catch the tilt from his television. SUCKEEEEEEEEEEERRRR.....

Nick Arnold came up with the idea that each of us take a period from the night's victory, and throw three reviews together. So, below is a compilation review, period-by-period-by-period, written by Joe, Nick and myself. Enjoy!

Pregame, 1st Period

A Tale of Two Pierre's, by Joe Bogle

Before the puck dropped, I had a chance to chat with everyone's favorite "Between the benches" correspondent, Pierre McGuire. 

I asked him a few questions; "Will he ever become a general manager of an NHL Club?" (Only if the right job opens up, like in Montreal or Minnesota), but I asked him the question everyone wants to know (No, not about the love fest with Crosby) ---

"What do you think of fans who dislike you because you try too hard to simplify the game?" This tends to anger most hockey diehards, which feeds their rage they feel for the guy. But Pierre gaffed, leaned back and said, "Fuck! People have no idea what the fuck I'm saying anyway!" as he chuckled and disappeared behind the benches.

I must admit, I now have a new-found liking for the baldheaded analyst, and I ALMOST feel bad about mocking him in a photo of the both of us --


Anyway, on to the first!

The Flyers welcomed back one of the most beloved Flyers in their history, #12 (sorry, not Tim Kerr) Simon Gagne. Just seeing him on the ice gave me chills. 

The game started out normally, the Flyers scoring 23 seconds in (What??) on a sexy dish from Hartnell to Captain G. This is usually where the Flyers fall back and let the opposing team turn the tables on the pressure and tie it immediately on a bad bounce, but that didn't happen. The Flyers kept the pressure on, and less than 4 minutes later, Wayne Simmonds scored off a deflection for a PECOOOOOOOOOOO power play goal!

"Here Wayne is auditioning for the next Electric Boogaloo movie." Toot Toot. Flyers lead, 2 zip.

A fantastic tribute to Simon and his days with the Flyers was shown, a simple wave of the glove and like a magic wand, Gagne turned a lot of Flyers fans into blubbering fools (I was not one of them, I simply had a piece of relish stuck in my eye.. it was, honest!)

2nd Period

Welcome Home Simon, by Michael DeNicola

Starting out hot was huge, but the question was, could the Flyers hang on to the lead? Getting in front of the Caps, a squad who averages 28-shots per match, is exactly what our boys needed. But we had to keep the intensity going. 

The defense was solid, clearing Bryzgalov's crease and blocking shots like animals. The backchecking was effective against Washington's attack, and the Flyers managed to skate the puck through neutral ice and penetrate the offensive zone beautifully. As our possession continued to dominate the tempo, Washington responded with a boarding penalty which sent Philadelphia on the power play once again.

As the 2-minutes dwindled down to its final seconds, the puck made its way behind Holtby's cage. There, Briere scraped the rubber to Holtby's flank where Brayden Schenn attempted to chip it home nearside. Instead, the shot rebounded left and settled between Simon Gagne and a wide open net --

The house erupted like Pompeii! Simon Gagne, his first game back as a Flyer, and his first goal of the season, lights the tilt's third lamp to put the Bullies up 3 - 0.

You couldn't make this stuff up. It had barely been 24-hours since Paul Holmgren squeezed #12 out of the grips of Los Angeles, and already Gagne's tallying the scoresheet like he never left the Wells Fargo Center. The Orange & Black attendance stood on their feet, clapping and hollering in jubilation. 

Regardless of where you stand on just how much Gagne is going to help this inconsistent team, if you're a Flyers fan, the goosebumps came in bunches like fleas on a hobo. 

Simon celebrated like Ivan Drago; no expression on his face, just a simple lift of the mitts and a wink to the bunnies.

"I got this."

Gagne had been skating with Couturier and Talbot all evening, and I believe his veteran, two-way presence will be able to spark Coots offensively. The 20-year old centerman has spent a majority of his ice time lifting heavy minutes in the defensive zone, but with Simon taking his wing, we immediately saw some strong chances in Washington's end involving Gagne feeding Couturier just outside the slot. 

My opinion? Keep Gagne with #14. There's already good chemistry there, and we perhaps could see an offensive evolution similar to -- but obviously not as supreme as -- how Jagr aided Giroux to stardom in 2011-12.  

Speaking of breaking out -- late in the middle frame, Luke Schenn transmitted the puck to Talbot who brought it into Washington territory. Skating in uncontested, Max decided to rip one from the top of the slot --

Max puts the puck on a rope tighter than the lid on a pickle-jar, and beats Braden Holtby for the fourth, and last, unanswered time that night. Capitals bench boss Adam Oates had seen enough of his twinesitter, and decided to send AHL call-up Philipp Grubauer to replace Holtby in net. 

3rd Period

Alexander "The Shamed", by Nick Arnold

With the Flyers up 4-0 and outshooting the Capitals 22-12, I didn't expect to see much more than good, defensive hockey for the last twenty minutes of the tilt, and our boys didn't disappoint to start off the third. The first three minutes of play was dominated by orange sweaters. Most of the puck possession was held by the Flyers in the Capitals' zone, and every time Washington cleared and tried to get their offense going, they were stood up at the Flyers' blue line and sent back into a defensive formation.

Just over four minutes in, that pressure almost paid off in the form of a fifth Flyers goal, but Grubauer – getting his first taste of NHL action after Holtby was pulled late in the second period – kept it at 'only' a 4-0 lead with three great back-to-back-to-back saves. At the end of the play the Flyers were granted another power play as Ribiero was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct and given a 10-minute misconduct on top of that.

The resulting man advantage spawned a few solid scoring chances in the first minute, including a huge glove save on a shot from Brayden Schenn. After that, however, lackluster passing and effort lead to one of the easier penalty kills of the night for Washington, who had already given up a few power play goals.

During the 2nd intermission, Mike Milbury ripped Alexander Ovechkin a new one for his dramatics and below-average play so far in the game. I watched it on my way home from the game and I must say, it is hysterical and very, very accurate. In the third period, Alexander “The Great” showed more of the same skill he had been entertaining us with all game when he tried to deke around a Flyer in the offensive zone, lost the puck, then seemingly lost all motor functions as he toppled to the ice untouched. The Well erupted into cheers and laughter.

Don't get me wrong: Ovechkin was, is, and will still be one of the better players to ever play the game of hockey. That being said, tonight's displays of little effort and diving were an embarrassment to him and to his team which, of course, delighted the Flyers Faithful in attendance.

A little more than halfway through the period, a slew of Flyers' turnovers led to some chances to give the Caps a little bit of life in this lopsided game, but good backchecking and blocked shots and passes took away any opportunity to score. And when a play did get set up, Bryzgalov remained solid, making routine saves and a few real solid stops on deflections and tricky pucks.

And then it happened. 

Let me first say that I am not really that superstitious. Even though the Flyers are now 3-0-0 this season when I attend the game and 5-0-0 when I am assigned to write a game review (or in this instance, co-write the game review), I don't honestly think they are winning because of me. The same principle goes for saying the word “shut out” and it being a jinx. I don't buy into that. However, I almost choked the man out behind me in the stands at 2:09 left in the game.

Besides the fact that the guy was annoying the entire game and had no idea what was going on half the time judging by his commentary to his obnoxious family, he decided to blurt out with 2:26 left in the game “Bryz is going to get a shutout”. 

Less than 20 seconds later, Joel Ward deposited the puck into the First National Bank of NOPE! The lone goal meant nothing except to steal away the shutout that Bryzgalov had within his reach. The Caps celebrated. I tried my best not to spin my head around and fire lasers from my eyes through the face of the man who had clearly just jinxed the Flyers. 


A last note of concern: with only 24.6 seconds left in the game, Harry Z. delivered a huge hit on Mathieu Perreault. In real time it happened too fast for me to see, but Zolnierczyk was kicked out of the game as it became apparent that the contact was a knee-on-knee hit. I can't be sure if it was intentional or not, but it was a careless and reckless play by Harry Z. and we will have to wait and see whether or not he is given a suspension for it. I wouldn't be surprised if he is, nor will I disagree with the decision.

At 10-11-1, the Flyers sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points and are once again just under .500. They played an excellent game for an entire sixty minutes and completely dominated the Washington Capitals. In a crucial situation where another loss to a struggling team was completely out of the question, the boys came up big and finished strong for a 4-1 win. Let's hope this train can finally keep rolling in the right direction.

Good Night, and Good Hockey!

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