Um, about my prediction.
So usually this is the place after a playoff game – the first in this city in nearly two years! – where we regale with tales of lore and ridiculousness. But, when I sat down to write this this morning, I realized Game 1 last night was maybe one of the most listless Flyers playoff games, especially on the offensive end, since 1995-2000 Devils series.
The Flyers were flat, which runs counter to how we thought they would be after essentially being forced to play playoff games for two months now. The Capitals’ intensity wasn’t much better. Sure, at times their offensive firepower and depth showed flashes of dominance, but there was nothing that the Flyers and Steve Mason couldn’t or can’t overcome. The Flyers “advantage” in this series is that they come into it playing their best hockey, while the Caps stumble in after two months of questions about maintaining their once-high level of play. I saw no difference between the two last night. More troublesome, however, was the Caps’ defense, especially on the penalty kill. The Flyers can slow their firepower, but if they can’t get legitimate scoring chances with a man-advantage, then this series is over in 5 alright.
What made their lame showing even worse is that you fully expected them to come out in some sort of fervor in honor of Mr. Snider. Ironically (or not), the most fitting tribute or hat tip to Ed was in a series of typical Flyers goonishness that decreased their chances to win late in the game.
At least the Canadian broadcast recognized the foolishness of this.
I think most on Twitter were in agreement that Wayne Simmonds fighting Tom Wilson after Wilson committed yet another boarding crime – which would’ve given the Flyers a power play, down one, with 6:51 to play – was dumb. Well, most except the Flyers…
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 15, 2016
… and Jordie over at Barstool, who unbelievably is defending the fight like a neanderthal:
Yes, I understand that the timing of this fight was pretty shitty. But do people not understand that this is a 7-game series? Do people not understand that the Flyers only need to win 1 game in Washington to have a fighting chance in this series? If this was game 7 then yes, I would be incredibly pissed at Simmonds for taking this fight with Wilson. But it’s Game 1 and again, that was a dirt bag hit. I will never have any issue with a player sticking up for a teammate in that situation. Is it going to make Wilson think twice about landing another hit like that later in the series? Probably not, because he’s a gigantic cock sucker. But it’s the mentality of “us against the world” that Wayne Simmonds has completely bought into and the rest of the guys in that locker room respect the hell out of. Simmonds isn’t going to let one of his guys get buried right in the numbers like that without punching somebody’s face for it.
Yeah I disagree. Just 1 game out of 7 is not like some excusable throwaway. You can do this in an 82-game season. But 1 game out of 7, especially going up against a heavy favorite, is the sort of thing that, quite literally, loses you series. The guys respect Simmonds… but they would’ve respected him more if he scored the tying goal on the power play.
Simmonds’ decision, while admirable in that rah-rah OB sort of way we’ve all come to love or whatever, removed one of the team’s best goal scorers from the ice, essentially a 1-0 trade costing the Flyers a power play. This is precisely the sort of play that has defined Flyers hockey over the last 40 years, and whether or not they would have won had Simmonds not dropped the gloves, there’s no argument that the fight decreased their chances to do so. It’s that simple.
Brayden Schenn, charging machine
I’m not sure what got into Brayden Schenn, but I counted no less than four monster hits in the second half of the game in which he LAUNCHED himself into opponents. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three, including this one which may have left Mike Richards in search of something to manage the pain…
Brayden delivers the BOOM on Richards pic.twitter.com/gJhlgLDhph
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) April 15, 2016
… but after the last one, a second after the final whistle…
Schenn hit at the very end of the game pic.twitter.com/DshNP3PFLi
— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 15, 2016
… which inspired an end-game scrum, I couldn’t help but to sit there and shake my head as, yet again, the Flyers devolved into “toughness” after yet another playoff game where they were clearly lacking some offensive firepower.
Keep in mind: This is not an indictment on the state of the team or Dave Hakstol. The Flyers are headed in the right direction. This is strictly my reaction to one playoff game, or series, where yet again they look the toughest but, you know, don’t win.
the hit that gave Couturier an upper body injury pic.twitter.com/C6KwehYgFH
— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 15, 2016
Is out for the series with a sprained AC joint. That hurts.