Saturday's 1 - 0 shutout win over Toronto was an incredible feat. Regardless of the outrageous injury our roster is currently suffering from, the Flyers went on a five game winning streak against some pretty hefty opponents who were either desperate for points, or look to make an argument for a valid Stanley Cup contender.
Not to mention we got to witness Claude Giroux's shootout goal that was pure sex on ice, if I've ever seen it --
Gustavsson got beat so bad it made Chris Brown's knuckles itch.
But last night in Newark, New Jersey was anything but sweet.
Heading into the match, we were of course plagued by injuries. We're missing Pavel Kubina, Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen on the blue line. Three essential defensive pieces our Club needs if we're going to go deep in the big dance.
Jakub Voracek has never been missed more than he is now. He's a big body, a fast skater and a great puck handler. Against very tight defensive teams like New Jersey, his services were needed to penetrate the Devils' zone and set up a hearty scoring chance rather than the bubbling stew of shit we saw last night.
Jaromir Jagr is a forward of ours capable of gliding that puck into the offensive zone to set something up, but he's one man.
Sergei Bobrovsky got his first nod since February 18th, and tallied 27-saves on 31-shots.
The .871 save-percentage wasn't all Bob's cursed play between the pipes. There were enormous amounts of defensive meltdowns -- a bunch of which came while fill-in Andreas Lilja was on the ice. He was paired with the Adirondack call-up Brandon Manning, and together they easily looked out of their element. Miraculously though, each ended the night with an even plus/minus rating at 0.
I dunno, I was very surprised to read that stat.
But I don't want to solely beat up on those two. The entire backcheck played like a group of headless chickens.
To worsen the kick to the crotch, last night's New Jersey victory was Martin Brodeur's 650th career win. A large amount of Marty's milestones have come against our Broad Street Bullies over his tenure in the NHL, so it's neither no surprise or a rarity.
The tilt was a one-goal deficit leading into the 3rd period where Claude Giroux lit the Flyers one and only lamp 16-seconds into the frame --
But not even 3-minutes later Anton Volchenkov beat Bobrovsky on a wrist shot, and it was all downhill from there.
Ilya Kovalchuk had assisted on the first two goals before depositing one of his own, and then Zach Parise shoveled a power-play puck home on Bob's gloveside to give the Devils a 4 - 1 final decision.
Though the loss did not reduce our spot in the Conference standings, New Jersey is now tied in points with the Flyers and threaten to set us back to 6th seed. This can be avoided if Philly snaps the Home&Home with a victory against the Devils on Tuesday night.
I know a bunch of you are thinking, "Hey, let them have that 5th spot. We'll take the 6th and battle the Florida Panthers in the QuarterFinal round!"
Yes, the Cats are the better choice of match-up in the first round of the Playoffs than the white hot Pittsburgh Penguins (who as of yesterday have won nine straight games), but you just can't think that way. Our boys need points to further secure themselves in contention, and we need wins to build momentum heading into the second-season.
All of which will need a healthy Timonen, Kubina, Meszaros, Voracek and (hopefully) van Riemsdyk.
There aren't any valid sources to back this up, but there may be some skaters returning from injury come Tuesday night. There's no doubt they'll be welcomed back with open arms.
Many fans fear this team of ours is in a scoring slump.
That may be the case, but the abundant amount of scoring chances are manipulated off of the defensive executions. Once our blue liners return, so will the offensive attack.
A special shoutout goes to my buddy Greg Hawzen for providing me a ticket to the game last night. It was my first time at the Prudential Center, and I must admit -- though I can talk smack on the Devils all day, they play in one magnificent arena.
The Rock is state of the art, and I'd have no problems going to see more Flyers/Devils contests there again.
I can't speak much for the crowd, however. Maybe 70% of the building was filled, and it was 60/40 : Devils/Flyers fans. Yet, the energy was still electric. What I found ironically hilarious was a New Jersey fanatic behind me, screaming out every homosexual slur towards our players, but then called a Flyers fan a scumbag.
I just HAD to turn and see what this guy looked like. Little surprise, he had a biker's fu-manchu, long salt & pepper hair which may have last been washed in the '70s, and he was overweight.
Our fanbase has its fair share of second class citizens, but this missing link looked like the result from a couple of humping, inbred monkeys. He certainly did not shy away from participating in the building's chant, "RANGERS SUCK! FLYERS SWALLOW!"
Perhaps you knew that was a chant at the Prudential Center already, but if you didn't, the Devils fans scream that about three or four times per period.
How on God's green earth are you supposed to explain that to a child fan?
"Hey dad? What do they mean 'Flyers swallow'?"
"Don't worry about that now, son. But just know, had your mother done so, we wouldn't be having this discussion."
Good night. Lousy hockey.
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