Tuesday night was a harsh reminder for the Flyers and its fanbase how quickly the hockey world can come crashing down. The Flyers dropped a dud to the cross-state rivals 5-2 in game one of the three game mini-series.
To get the full storylines from Tuesday night’s loss, pop some Prozac and check out The Pod Street Postgame.
Flyers and Penguins are back at it Thursday night, here are 3 storylines to watch:
“What are we paying for exactly?” – PECO
One of the great longstanding sponsorships in the Flyers in-game experience is the PECO Powerplay with Lou Nolan’s rallying cry typically cause for excitement. (side note, I found a PECO Power Play Button on E-bay for $100…)
Currently the Flyers have the 17th ranked Power Play in the NHL, but against the Penguins on Tuesday night, they were 0-5.
That is 0-5 against the 29th ranked Penalty Kill.
That was the difference in the game. One goal on the PP and this becomes a different contest. The slingshot was sniffed out with pressure, the zone time was choppy due to…pressure, shots and chances were one and done.
The Flyers had much-needed practice time on Wednesday, plus video sessions, and jumbling of the units to get the now fully stocked man-up unit associated with Power and not blackouts.
Shayne, Ivan – please step into my office…
What the heck was going on with the 1D on Tuesday night? Ghost and Provy were a combined -7 against the Crosby-less Penguins team. An errant pass leading to a breakaway and two forwards getting behind them on 5-on-5 both resulted in mental-error goals for the tandem.
They had been playing very well as of late, gaining some chemistry as the who can fill Niskanen debate feverishly continues. Ghost was showing semblance of his younger self and Provy continued to be the rock on the blueline. Then everything that went wrong…went wrong.
Watch for the updated pairings as the coaching staff will likely give Provy/Myers a look or possibly even Braun on that top pairing. Erik Gustafsson could also make an appearance to help with some puck movement on the 3rd pairing.
The Flyers defeat on Tuesday night was certainly aided by…the Flyers. Mistakes, miscues, weak powerplay, playing a garbage 2nd period, all self-inflicting and contributing factors to the defeat.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan also deserves a lot of credit. The Penguins were without Crosby which dinged an already aging and less-talented team than Pittsburgh is used to sending on the ice.
But they had a disciplined game plan, a structure, and one talented forward line. That limited combination beat a healthy and more talented Flyers team who likely let its guard down with the Crosby news.
Your move, Alain.
The Flyers coaching staff is full of experience, knowledge, and success, and Thursday nights rematch is when they need to make their structure, lineup, and “X & O” adjustments.
Watch for the Flyers breakouts through the neutral zone to get speed into the offensive zone.
Watch for heavier dumps and forechecking – especially with NAK coming back into the lineup.
Watch for powerplay updates.
Watch for a way to limit the Penguins top line.
All elements that didn’t work on Tuesday that the coaching experience can fix to maximize the talent within the Flyers system.
Photo Credit – Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire