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Greenberg: Playing with the scenarios

Flyers columnist on what the Flyers must do to have success against the Rangers

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 4:24 PM / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Greenberg: Playing with the scenarios
Flyers columnist looks at what the Flyers must do to be successful against the Rangers

Only two points separated the Flyers and Rangers during the 2013-14 regular season. Head-to-head in a playoff series, these factors will make one team superior.




  • They resolve to be more disciplined than during most of the regular season. The Flyers’ 357 minors were the second most in the NHL. The Rangers power play is a middle-of-the-pack 18.2% but the strength of the Flyers is their four-line attack. And too many players sit for too long when the penalties pile up.
  • They execute a relentless plan to throw the puck past Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi and make them play along the back wall. McDonagh and Girardi will draw most of the duty against Claude Giroux, the most talented player in the series, but there won’t be enough zone time for him to do his thing if he, Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell don’t get the puck deep. New York will score off counters.
  • They trust the system that turned around their season from a 1-7 start. Playoff games are won with structure, sometimes a lesson learned the hard way by young teams. The only playoff success most of the Flyers have had – twelve of them played in 2012 -- was in an untypically wide-open Pittsburgh series. They couldn’t get the puck back in the next round against the more disciplined Devils and went down easily in five.
  • Turn the key standard to most series: Frustrate the opposition’s most talented offensive player, Martin St. Louis, who is coming in already frustrated with just one goal after being acquired at the trade deadline. Score on the power play. Win at least 50% of the faceoffs.




  • They try to pick corners on Henrik Lundqvist. Rather than hitting under the crossbar or just inside the post, the percentages are much greater hitting Lundqvist and getting to the rebounds. Missing the net and having the puck rim out is a recipe for disaster. The Flyers just shot on Marc-Andre Fleury with the belief they can score on him. They have to feel the same about Lundqvist.
  • They aren’t stronger along the walls in third periods. Flyers had 11 third-period comebacks for victories but a Stanley Cup winner is lucky to get two of those over the course of four rounds. Most playoff games are won by getting ahead and staying ahead and in Pittsburgh last weekend, the Flyers twice gave up a one-goal lead in the final minutes. The puck has to get out of the zone.
  • They can’t handle the size and speed of Rick Nash with...  Nick Grossmann? It will be interesting to see how Craig Berube plays it. Rangers have three defensemen better by reputation than any the Flyers have. Some of them have to show they are better than the league believes.
  • Madison Square Garden, where they have lost eight straight, proves in their heads along with Lundqvist. It’s the same building, albeit remodeled, where until this streak, Flyers teams never had had a problem winning.
  • There are bad goals, like too many bad goals in playoff years past. It is a dropoff from Steve Mason to Ray Emery, but the latter has more playoff experience and played just as well as the No. 1 guy down the stretch. Should he win Game One, there will be no hurry to rush back to Mason. Solid, not spectacular, will be required to keep the Flyers in the series.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 49 17 40 11 57
C. Giroux 48 16 36 6 52
M. Streit 49 7 28 -2 35
W. Simmonds 49 17 12 -5 29
B. Schenn 49 10 19 -3 29
S. Couturier 49 10 12 -1 22
M. Read 49 3 15 -9 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
M. Del Zotto 37 4 11 -7 15
V. Lecavalier 35 7 7 -10 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 9 12 6 .921 2.41
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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