Friday, April 9, 2010
Friday's game was nothing short of a disappointment. The Flyers played their typical inconsistent hockey, starting strong early in the first period with a goal by Mike Richards before a Dan Carcillo high sticking double minor put the Rangers on the power play and in control of the game. The Rangers would ride the momentum to three straight goals before the Flyers finally woke up midway through the second period and scored two of their own to tie game up at 3. One lazy play by Chris Pronger and a weird floating shot by Marian Gaborik later and the Flyers found themselves in a one goal deficit they never came out of.
It's hard to have too much faith in the Flyers in a do-or-die game since we never know which team will show up. Will it be the Flyers team that jumped on the Rangers early and showed a ton of energy as they clawed back into the game? Or, will it be the Flyers team that played tentatively and allowed an offensively-challenged Rangers team to dictate the play for long stretches of time? While we all complain about the goaltending, all season long, regardless of who was in net, the Flyers have been unable to find any kind of consistency on offense or defense. When the team needs a big play, who makes it? Chris Pronger? Jeff Carter? Often the answer is Mike Richards but even the Captain has been known to vanish at times.
While there are still several scenarios where the Flyers could finish as high as 6th in the Eastern Conference, we know that, with a win on Sunday, they clinch the playoffs. What happens after they clinch and have to play an elite team in the East notwithstanding, the Flyers better be playing with every ounce of urgency and energy they can muster. After 81 games, it all comes down to 60 minutes on the ice. If the right Flyers show up, we will get a few more weeks of hockey in Philadelphia. If the wrong Flyers show up, expect some major changes to happen this offseason.