By: Dave “Mad at the Flyers” Wallace; Find me at Twitter.com @davewallace94
Nolan Patrick is an NHL Goal Scorer!
I want to start off on a positive note because there is going to be some ugly, unprofessional slander coming up. On his best play of the young season, Dale Weise showed some great control, vision and passing to set up Nolan Patrick for his first NHL goal over Pekka Rinne. Congrats, Rook. Let’s go get some more.
Dr. Brian and Mr. Elliot
Is that my worst section title to date? Could be. Let’s break this down, shall we? I freakin’ love rhyming. Nashville was absolutely rocking last night with the adrenaline of their home opener, banner raising and usual atmosphere that Nashville takes pride in. Brian Elliot continued a season of strong play in the first period. While the Flyers got thoroughly outplayed for the first 10 minutes, Elliot bailed them out. This began with a breakaway by Viktor Arvidsson and was soon followed by a slashing penalty by Claude Giroux. Craig Smith put Nashville on the board after firing a shot home while Elliot was screened by two Flyers. Besides the goal, Elliot looked solid in the first. Then the next 40 minutes happened. Brian Elliot allowed 5 goals on 22 shots (.773), and while two were allowed during 5 on 3 opportunities for Nashville, he’s going to want a couple of them back. It’s not all Elliot’s fault but he looked bad. I’m expecting Neuvirth in the home opener.
Fire Andrew MacDonald Into the Sun
After last game, where I was forced to change this segment due to some okay play by Andy Mac, I said it was sure to be back. Well here we f**king are, folks!!! I will control myself to the best of my ability but it seemed like every time the Predators went on an odd man rush or there was a breakdown in the defensive zone, I would look around like “Who messed this one u…. OF COURSE.” Less than a minute into the game it was MacDonald’s inability to skate faster than an infant with an ice walker that led to a short breakaway by Viktor Arvidsson (ultimately saved my Elliot). MacDonald DID score a goal earlier in the game on a nice feed by Scott Laughton that started a run of three goals in 4:46 and honestly, if it weren’t for the tripping call in the third, I probably wouldn’t be this mad at Mac but you’ve gotta call a spade a spade. So here I am calling Andrew MacDonald a piece of hot garbage. Also, how dare he speak the words “Trust the Process.” Scummy ass.
Just Hear Me Out… The Flyers are a Complete Team
Yes, the Flyers pissed everyone off last night. Yes, the usual culprits were at the center of our rage (shouts out Weise, Mac Daddy and Hak Daddy). No, this is not the same team we’ve watched for years on end now. I think I’m going to write a full article on this but for now, let’s just acknowledge that the reason the Flyers came back (and should have at least gotten a point in this game) was due to very strong play by the bottom 6 forwards. Outside of the power plays, it was Laughton, Leier, Raffl, Weise, Konecny and Nolan Patrick that drove play and netted two huge goals to give the Flyers life. MacDonald opened the scoring on a beautiful feed from Laughton and we already discussed Patrick’s goal. Maybe it’s just a fluke but the Flyers look confident and competent running four lines throughout the game and that is going to be a major key to running with the top dogs in the Eastern Conference.
Sanheim Continues to Grow
There is no denying that Sanheim’s debut in Los Angeles was a rocky one. Since that game, however, it has been all forward progression from the rook. Subtle, heads up plays tend to get lost in high scoring games but there were a few moments were Sanheim made some great passes and strong plays, especially in the first period. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some tweaks to the lineup (even though I actually the lines as they are), but I pray that it doesn’t include benching Yung Travis.
What to Make of the Special Teams
An 0–16 power play drought was snapped by a Flipadelphia to tie the game with five minutes left in the second period. Like Hartnell and Schenn before him, Valtteri Filppula has become the lucky fifth man on the first power play unit. Stay in your spot, let the rest of the guys do their thing, find the back of the net. That’s all it takes and Flip got it done twice last night. On the other side of the advantage, it’s hard to fault guys during a 5 on 3 but everyone looked way too passive on the opening goal by Smith and while it doesn’t technically count, on the 4 on 4 in the second period. At the end of the day, Nashville scored on 3 of 4 power play opportunities and that’s just shit.
Good Guys Exploit Weaknesses (Again)
I touched on this after the Anaheim game and it has become relevant yet again. In order to win games (or lose like assholes up 2 with under 2 minutes left), you need to take advantage of what the opposition gives you. With Anaheim, four key players were out with injuries and the flyers took advantage of this by driving play and making the Ducks really miss the possession skills of Getzlaf & Kessler and the defensive stability of Lindholm & Vatanen. Nashville faced similar woes with key defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi out and the Flyers capitalized to the tune of 5 goals against the weakened core and shaky Pekka Rinne. Let’s just win the damn thing next time.
Every forward not named Michael Raffl now has a point this season: cool. Voracek leads the team with six points (all assists): keep it up. Couts leads the team in shots and +/-: score more. Raffl didn’t register any stats and was the only player with under 10 minutes of ice time: do something? I don’t want to write anymore. There were positives but you can’t lose a god damn game like that. Not when you’re a fringe playoff team. Let’s go home.
Bring on the Caps
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