Sunday, March 15, 2009

Penalties, Sean Avery are downfall of Flyers

After playing an inspiring game of hockey in a playoff-like atmosphere at the Wachovia Center Saturday, the Flyers let their emotions get the best of them in a rematch against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. The Flyers lost 4-1 and couldn't stay out of the penalty box all game. They finished with 34 minutes of penalties, including 15 of them when Braydon Coburn was tossed from the game for high sticking Nik Antropov in the face. While Coburn was retaliating for an earlier cheap shot by Antropov, it was dumb penalties like that that gave the Rangers a string of power play chances and all four of their goals came on the man advantage.

The Flyers march to the penalty box was aided by the antics of Sean Avery, who is back to his usual tricks to get under opponents skin. Avery also added two goals in the game, so needless to say, the Flyers saw more of Avery than they wanted to. The Madison Square Garden loved his every move, however.

It also now appears that the Flyers goaltender battle is over. Antero Niittymaki started in net for the Flyers and gave up 4 goals, and even though they were all on the powerplay, his performance paled in comparison to what Martin Biron did yesterday against the Rangers. The Flyers would be wise to ride out Biron for the rest of the season and hope he gots hot like he was in the playoffs last year.

So, the Flyers end up splitting the home and home series with the Rangers. While things could have been worse, if the Flyers had stopped their parade to the penalty box, they might have actually has a chance to sweep the series. With a game against the Red Wings looming on Tuesday, it would have been nice to leave New York with a little more confidence and a little less Sean Avery.

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