Philly appeared as disinterested as the Rangers did at Wachovia last week, and as disheartened as the Maple Leafs after the Blueshirts tied things at two on Saturday. It is remarkable how much of an impact Chris Pronger's injury has had on that franchise, as they clearly have not replaced the sheer will to win that that lumbering, wise cracking puck stealer brought. They didn't even bother to goon things up, apparently thinking the Rangers would screw things up enough for them.
And that, the Rangers nearly did.
They were sloppy, they were stupid and they tried to sit back on a lead. But still, the Flyers couldn't come out on top. They can't beat us, when we put in half an effort. So let's take the points and let this be the beginning of an even longer win streak against the City of Brotherly Thuggery.
*When I was a kid I was enamoured with the story of the Alamo - just something about holding down the fort against incredible odds (even with a certain, unfortunate outcome). That has translated into my passion for the penalty kill, and the Rangers were outstanding shorthanded on this evening. Loved it! Miserable about how dumb they were to take the poor penalties in the first place, but delighted at their ability during the disadvantage.
*Explain this to me: On a night when Rupp, Asham and Bickel manage not to do anything stupid, their captain take a page from their book. With his team up 2-0, Captain Cally picked a senseless fight in a post-whistle scum, and ended up busting his shoulder. It is one thing when he is cracking bones blocking shots, it is another when he goes out of his way to be stupid. Shocked and dismayed at his action decision to tussle to Talbot. Hope he spends his two weeks off recuperating realizing how dumb he was.
*Lucky shot by DZ on his goal but good work by him down low to bank the puck of Bryz to Cally ... yeah, that was what he was trying to do ... Said for a while that the kid might be a more capable winger than he is a defender (not saying much, I know), and with Cally out for a short span perhaps he could give it a shot. He'd be better than Bickel, I'm sure.
*Staying on the blueline, Marc Staal had perhaps his best all-around game of the season. Perhaps the points against the Leafs ignited something in him or perhaps he is just rounding into form, but Staal is getting back to being a top flight defender. Tomorrow will be quite a test ...
*Six games, three Too Many Men On The Ice penalties. Great work Torts.
*Another stumble by John Tortorella? Girardi skated for 28 minutes and McDonagh 30. In the sixth game of the season. Because the bench boss didn't learn from last season that he shouldn't wear those guys down before the real games get going ...
*The Flyers have Hartnell Down, where the player donates cash to charity for every time he falls to the ice. Perhaps it is time for Hagelin Down. Young Carl can't stay on his skates, which proved problematic when he was actually taken down late in the game. If the ref sees him falling on every shift, he is going to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt when there's a close call.
*Sure he was on the wrong team but it was nice to see Mike Knuble still out there. I'll never forget going to a Ranger/Ducks game in 1999 and sitting next to an grandmother-type who told me how she adored Knuble because he was a hard skater and he wore Mike Gartner's No.22, and Gartner was such a handsome man. She and I shared grapes in between periods. It was wonderful.
*Heard that Wayne Simmonds lost his mind after the final buzzer and started slamming sticks in the walkway to the locker room. Love the fire, hate that he is a Flyer.
*If Rick Nash stops showboating, he might actually end up being a good player for this team. He needs to learn that this isn't Columbus, we don't need to be impressed by fancy moves to buy tickets. We buy tickets no matter what, we need wins. Got one against a bad Philly team on Tuesday, need another against the Cup contenders Thursday.
3-Rick Nash - one assist.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 26 saves.
1-Michael Del Zotto - one goal and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Hank - Best penalty killer is your keeper, and Hank was ... except for that Kimmo shot. Wide open shot from the high slot on a telegraphed play, no excuse not to snag that.
2-Bryzgalov - The cosmonaut had little help all night and still made 26 saves, keeping the Flyers in a game they had no right being in with their level of effort. DZ's lucky shot sailed through traffic and the netminder had no chance on the Cally tally.
1-Super Jew Jeff - Halpern was on the ice for six minutes shorthanded. Six minutes of battling. Six minutes of sacrificing. His timing is slowly coming back but his hustle is definitely apparent. Outstanding work.