Richards and Nash who? The Flyers outplay, outrun and outgun the Rangers for their first victory of the season >

by Nick Arnold

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 -

All streaks have to begin and end somewhere. Tonight was that somewhere for the Flyers. They ended their winless streak against the Rangers at 8 games. They ended their winless streak in general since last year’s playoffs at 7 and their winless streak this season at 3. Suddenly it’s as if a great weight has been lifted from our hockey club. Tonight was something special. I've been to plenty of regular season games and a handful of playoff games. The atmosphere at the Well tonight was playoff atmosphere. And why shouldn’t it have been? In this shortened season, every game basically counts twice as much as normal in the standings. So let’s dive right in to how our boys dethroned King Henrik and his army of court jesters for those all-important 2 points.

1st Period

In usual Flyers fashion, the first few minutes were composed of a lackluster performance from our Orange and Black army. Sloppy passing and an inability to clear the puck led to a few early chances, but Bryz was up to the task. Then just 2:37 into the period, Stu Bickel took exception to a hit on Halpern via Tom Sestito and threw down the gloves for some retribution. Both got in some good hits, but ultimately Bickel won the bout.

Less than two minutes later the Flyers got their first power play chance of the game. Who wants to play "Guess how bad the Flyers power play was?" If you guessed "The bums couldn't keep it in the offensive zone and only got one shot on goal" you are correct. Your prize of stale Oreo cookies will be in the mail shortly.

Approximately 7 minutes into the first, the team and the sellout crowd finally woke up when Grossmann connected with a thunderous hit on Marian Gaborik. I found it interesting that no one took Grossmann to task for the hit in defense of their boy in Blue until I remembered that Grossmann looks like he could eat their souls if they tried.

From that point on the Flyers didn't let up. Most of the pressure was in the Rangers’ zone and the whole team looked more like a solid unit playing together than a group of players with sloppy passing and setups. Flyers wound up outshooting the Rangers 11-5 by the end of the first frame.

2nd Period

What would the Flyers be without early period turnovers and mistakes? Honestly, if they HADN'T turned the puck over and given up a couple chances in the first 4-5 minutes of the period, I would've been worried. Throughout the first half of the period, there wasn’t much action from either side. It was at this point in the game that I realized something: the 4th line that we at O&BP thought may just be the worst line in Flyers history – Shelley, Wellwood, and Sestito – was doing some serious work up to this point. 

They weren't giving the Rags many scoring chances, they were physical without taking penalties, and they even held the blue line a few times and had some decent scoring chances. I’m not trying to talk down on this trio like they aren't good at their roles, but I honestly didn't expect them to be as much of a presence as they wound up being. Even despite being out there for about 2 minutes straight after our d-men iced the puck a few times in a row, they played some impressive hockey.

And then it happened. Just over halfway into the period, the Flyers had their cycle game going and lots of pressure in the offensive zone. Matt Read sent the puck to the point where Grossmann – still hungry after devouring Gaborik's soul  and dignity earlier in the game – was waiting to send the puck to the net, off of Simmonds' skate and past Lundqvist for the first goal of the game. With the way Henrik had been playing to that point, it was going to take a tip-in goal like that to beat him.

The first goal was the beginning of the end for the Rangers. The Flyers never took their collective skate off of the gas from that point on. The tone was set, and what better way to amp up the electricity even more than to make one of the Rangers eat his own teeth? Enter Tye McGinn.

Ladies, you may want to change your panties after watching that. Gentlemen, it's perfectly okay to be sporting some wood. No need to hide it. McGinn stepped up in a big way, and it's safe to say no one will be forgetting the beating he laid on Newbury anytime soon – especially not Newbury. Sounds like a good way to end the 2nd period, right?


Let's play round two of “How bad was the Flyers power play?” If you guessed that it was crap-tastic, you owe me a box of Oreos for being wrong.  The Flyers quickly went to work this time, and with the efforts of Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier, the puck bounced right to the stick of Jakub Voracek in front of a gaping hole in the net for the club’s 2nd potted puck of the evening. My oh my, it looks like someone woke up and alerted the team that the lockout has ended and that the Flyers can play hockey again. The Flyers outshot the Rangers 17-8 in the 2nd period. Bryz stood tall once again, the offense clicked, and the defense tightened up in front of him for a solid period of play.

3rd Period

What’s that? The period started off bad? Well I never!

22 seconds into the third, the Flyers took a penalty for the Rangers first power play of the game. In the Flyers’ defense, the penalty kill didn’t look terrible. However, an unlucky bounce off of a Grossmann blocked shot resulted in Gaborik shoveling the puck unimpeded to a wide-open Pyatt for a wicked wrister top shelf past Bryzgalov. 

The Flyers got a powerplay chance 7:25 in but couldn't capitalize. Then it happened. Let me preface this next sentence with the fact that I hate people who incessantly blame referees for the outcome of their team’s games. Yes, bad calls happen. But if your team continues to take penalty after penalty, maybe they need to learn discipline, or at least figure out how to get away with playing borderline dirty. That being said, the Flyers played a pretty disciplined game against the Rangers, but the referees clearly weren't having it. One second before the Flyers powerplay ended, Tye McGinn was called for high-sticking. To make it worse, it was a double-minor.

Now I know that players have to control their sticks and not carelessly let them fly. However, when a player is board-playing an opposing player and winds up throwing him to the ice, and the result of that play is the defending player’s stick going up as they fall backwards to the ground, it’s hard for me to see how you can call a penalty on the player falling to the ice. Maybe I’m just biased, I don’t know. But Del Zotto took McGinn down and McGinn's stick clipped Del Zotto as a result and thus the 4 minute penalty.

Just fifteen seconds later, Grossmann gets called for a weak-at-best hooking infraction on Gaborik, and the Flyers abysmal PK was asked to kill off almost 2 full minutes of a 5-on-3 Rangers advantage, and then two more minutes of 5-on-4. I could sit here and describe to you what the next four minutes of play were like, but I feel like I could never do it justice. So please, do yourselves a favor and watch the beauty that is this huge PK for the Flyers.

The defense was perfect. The positioning was outstanding. Bryz stood tall and made a handful of stops including spectacular glove save on Rick Nash just seconds before the 5-on-3 ended. There were several standing ovations from the crowd during the PK. The Wells Fargo Center erupted as the Flyers killed off what may wind up being one of the most important man-advantages against us all season. 

The rest is history. Solid play, good puck movement and minimal mistakes led the Flyers to their first victory of the season and their first against the Rangers in nearly two years. The tides have turned. The winless skid has ended so that a winning streak has a chance to begin. After all, all streaks have to begin and end somewhere.

Until next time, kids. 

Good night. Spectacular hockey. 

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

Grossmann Gaborik Hit 01242013.jpg 

Follow Us
Copyright 2012 by WhiteGate Media LLC   |  Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use