GREENBERG: The Series Shifts to Philly
Flyers columnist examines the series thus far as they move between cities
- Not the Flyers goalie. Composed as Ray Emery looks. No reason to rush Steve Mason back in.
- With its team having come from behind to win the previous game, the home crowd will be all charged up, a scenario that did nothing for the Rangers in Game 2, even after jumping to a 2-0 lead.
- Craig Berube can get Sean Couturier out against Derek Stepan to his coaching heart’s desire, although with the Rangers needing a goal in the third period Sunday at Madison Square Garden, that’s pretty much what the Flyers coach did anyway. All due respect to Stepan, he had 57 points this season, six more than Brad Richards, the Rangers’ second-line center. So who is the priority to check?
- Berube can match whomever he wants against 6-4, 212 pound, Rick Nash, although with all due respect to Nash, a gentleman and an Olympian, he has two goals in 18 career playoff games and, at present, 5-7 Mats Zuccarello appears just as dangerous. “You know,” said Berube before the series. “the Rangers have almost seven 20-goal scorers, too.”
- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault won’t be able to get the Brian Boyle checking line or the defense pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi out against Claude Giroux- Jake Voracek-Scott Hartnell. That is, provided Berube really wants to fight the matchup by taking his best player off the ice. Not only can McDonagh and Girardi handle a ton of minutes, making them hard to avoid, are you that much better off having your best line against Marc Staal? Berube is not going to get away from the Flyers’ primary strength, a four-line attack.
- The popcorn deal is a lot better at Wells Fargo, if you buy at those carts selling bottomless bags.
Nope, other than the targets of the insults from the stands, this still will be the same series it was in the first two games, never mind the difference in their outcomes. When the Flyers play with composure their advantage at forward can overcome the Rangers’ strength on defense. If the Flyers play dumb, they can’t win.
- That was a beautiful third period they played on Sunday, at long last. Ever the comeback kings this season as they rallied to victory from eleven third-period deficits, the Flyers rarely showed the smarts and the cool to check away a lead like they did in Game Two.
- The Flyers took only one penalty in that third frame – and really it was a bad interference call considering Nash ran straight at Nick Grossmann – and made excellent decisions with the puck that limited the Rangers to just seven shots and no superior chances against Emery.
- Only once did the Flyers give an outnumbered break by a third forward getting caught. And not at all over the 20 minutes did they venture the puck into high-risk areas. Five Flyers giveaways for the game to 12 for the Rangers was pretty much the story until the Rangers screwed up the change while pulling Henrik Lundqvist and Wayne Simmonds fought his way to center ice and carefully hit the empty net.
The first shift (by the Giroux line) set the tone. We put some pucks in deep and had an attack mentality. The rest of the team fed off it. We didn’t sit back. - Craig Berube
- We haven’t needed two playoff games on top of 82 to show us that when the Flyers don’t just give up the puck at center, they are a good team. Regardless of the Dumping vs. Carrying nitpicking that filled two off days in the aftermath of Game One, puck possession really comes down to making good decisions at the bluelines and in plays off the half wall into the slot. The Flyers made more good choices in Game Two than the Rangers and won.
- The Flyers got one break when, just 22 seconds after going ahead, a Wayne Simmonds after-the-whistle crosscheck was ruled embellished by recipient Derek Dorsett, cancelling a power play. Thereafter Berube’s team was so clean, you could hear Ranger fans’ heels squeaking on the steps as they otherwise silently went to the exits.
After the Flyers didn’t let the two early goals rattle them, their nine-game Madison Square Garden schneid proved a media issue, not a confidence one. As we saw all season for the Flyers -- one of 22 NHL teams who had winning road records -- it doesn’t where they play but how. The same goes for Games Three and Four.