After an exciting win in Dallas to start off what was obviously going to be a difficult road trip, the Flyers hoped that they had some momentum going into the game against Chicago. Well it looked like the little bit of luck the Flyers had going into Tuesday nights game had faded fast just in time to face one of the most difficult teams to play against. It was almost as if every criticism that people had about the Flyers roster this season was magnified and thrown in our face.
If you only watched the first period I don’t think anyone would blame you. They struggled to get one shot on goal until almost 8 minutes into the period overall, the Flyers were out shot 19-9 in the first. After a Chicago goal that most fans would call questionable (Brandon Saad seemed to push Steve Mason off of the puck when it should have been blown dead) The Flyers immediately took a penalty which resulted in another goal. Less than 2 minutes later Chicago scored again giving them a quick 3 goal lead. 3 goals in 2:06. Brutal.
What we’re not used to is the low quality of special teams that contributed to the loss. Our only saving grace was supposed to be above average special teams; so what can we expect when they don’t show up? The Blackhawks powerplay coming into this game was in a slump a 1 for 12 slump which for any other team with out special teams reputation would mean an easy penalty killing night. The Chicago powerplay was 2 for 4 against the Flyers.
The Flyers power play wasn’t any more effective as they went 0 for 2. They started the second period with a power play that was killed and forgotten. They did manage to get a few good chances, but as luck would have it couldn’t manage to finish off any of those chances against the backup goalie Anti Raanta.
Now the Flyers head into territory where they’ve had better luck historically. Since the Consol Energy Center opened in 2010 the Flyers record in Pittsburgh’s home arena has been 11-2-1 (including playoffs) so we hope that tradition will continue.
Obviously the Defense needs to at least think about playing tonight since they decided not to show up on Tuesday. Tuesday the defense expected to have Braydon Coburn return from his lower body injury only for that decision to change at the very last second. Berube had talked about playing 7 defensemen so that Coburn could play low minutes to test himself before playing regularly. Coburn may not improve the defense much, but they need everything they can get. UPDATE: Still no Coburn for tonight’s game, Before last game Berube had said that Coburn was as good as he was gonna get so he must have done something in that short period before the game.
Since the penalty kill is dangerous for us, the Flyers need to stay away from dumb penalties which might be impossible with tonight’s referees. Wes McCauley and Marc Lemelin are the referees for tonight’s game, but the first name is the cause for concern. The Penguins have won six straight games when McCauley refs the game. You might think we’re being crazy or a little bit paranoid, but it’s the little things like that that hurt us and make the big problems problematic (like the penalty kill).
Shots on goal are a must; when the Flyers played the Stars they dominated shots on goal with 37 to Dallas’ 23 and were able to erase a deficite multiple times. Yes they had to come back multiple times, but they didn’t get shut out.