SB Nation - Philadelphia Flyers http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers Stories From Around SB Nation About Philadelphia Flyers Game Day Thread: Holy Day of Hockey http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2014/4/20/5633560/game-day-thread-holy-day-of-hockey HappyCaraT http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2014/4/20/5633560/game-day-thread-holy-day-of-hockey Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:54:58 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://www.sbnation.com/chorus_images/31894611/standard/rss_large/1398009272" /> <p>All day hockey on Easter. Starting at 11:00 and going to 9:00, all you need is hockey.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers" class="sbn-auto-link">New York Rangers</a> vs <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Philadelphia Flyers</a></p> <p><i>Rangers lead the series 1-0</i></p> <p><b>TSN 11:00am CST</b></p> <p>Expected Starters: <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54202/henrik-lundqvist" class="sbn-auto-link">Henrik Lundqvist</a> (NYR), <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71777/ray-emery" class="sbn-auto-link">Ray Emery</a> (PHI)</p> <p>NYR Scratches: <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/244600/ryan-haggerty" class="sbn-auto-link">Ryan Haggerty</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71824/chris-kreider" class="sbn-auto-link">Chris Kreider</a> (hand), <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54740/justin-falk" class="sbn-auto-link">Justin Falk</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/131687/raphael-diaz" class="sbn-auto-link">Raphael Diaz</a></p> <p>PHI Scratches: <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54909/steve-mason" class="sbn-auto-link">Steve Mason</a> (LBI), <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/88646/jay-rosehill" class="sbn-auto-link">Jay Rosehill</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/79442/zac-rinaldo" class="sbn-auto-link">Zac Rinaldo</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55014/steve-downie" class="sbn-auto-link">Steve Downie</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55393/hal-gill" class="sbn-auto-link">Hal Gill</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/157738/erik-gustafsson" class="sbn-auto-link">Erik Gustafsson</a></p> <p>Thread will be updated later.</p> Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 2 preview: Let's try and do literally everything better http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/20/5630796/flyers-vs-rangers-game-2-preview Kurt R. http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/20/5630796/flyers-vs-rangers-game-2-preview Sun, 20 Apr 2014 08:30:01 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31888233/485399431.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The Flyers were close for a while in Game 1, but they really didn't play a very good game and will probably need to be a lot better today to get in the win column.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> have had three nights and two days to think about the complete turd that they spent sixty minutes dropping on the Madison Square Garden ice last Thursday, and while a Game 1 loss isn't the end of the world or anything, there's something to be said about the resiliency of your team (or lack thereof) in seeing how they can respond after getting humiliated in the first game.</p> <p>But let's also make something clear: if the Flyers have any ambitions at all of heading back to Philadelphia tonight with the series knotted up at one, they're gonna have to do a hell of a lot more than "being resilient" and "trying harder". Sure, those will help. But there's obviously a biiiiiiiit more to it than that.</p> <p align="center"><img alt="Flyers_orange_medium" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/65878/flyers_orange_medium.gif"><img alt="Rangers_blue_medium" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/69236/rangers_blue_medium.gif"></p> <h5 align="center">Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers</h5> <div style="text-align: center;"><b>Game 2, Eastern Conference First Round | Rangers lead, 1-0</b></div> <div style="text-align: center;">12 p.m. ET | Madison Square Garden | Manhattan, New York</div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div> <b>TV </b>on NBC (US) | TSN, RDS (Canada)</div> <div> <b>Live online stream</b> at <a href="http://www.nbcsports.com/" target="_blank" style="background-color: #ffffff;">NBCSports.com</a> (US) and <a href="http://www.tsn.ca/" target="_blank" style="background-color: #ffffff;">TSN.ca</a> (Canada)</div> </div> <p>In the immediate and further-separated aftermath of Game 1, the biggest storylines seemed to revolve around how costly <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/129784/jason-akeson" class="sbn-auto-link">Jason Akeson's</a> third-period penalty is and how much trouble the Flyers are in if <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54909/steve-mason" class="sbn-auto-link">Steve Mason</a> doesn't recover from his, uh, upper-body injury. But Akeson's dumb penalty came after he spent most of the game being the Flyers' best forward (as we discussed on Friday). And as far as the goaltending goes, it probably wouldn't have mattered if the Flyers' goalie on Thursday was <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71777/ray-emery" class="sbn-auto-link">Ray Emery</a>, Dominik Hasek in his prime, or any of us reading this paragraph -- the Flyers weren't winning that game with the way that just about all of their skaters were playing.</p> <p>Regardless, Berube and the Flyers sounded hopeful that Mason would be ready to go today, but we found out yesterday that Mason still hasn't fully recovered and <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlyers/status/457575879552430080">we'll have Emery in net again today</a>. Not the best news, but Emery was perfectly fine until it all fell apart in the third period on Thursday, so this isn't the end of the world.</p> <p>Anywho. We've heard a lot of things from the Flyers about their Game 1 failures and their planned Game 2 approach, from "<a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/BroadStBull/status/457193064285884416">we're going to carry it in more</a>" to "<a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/DNFlyers/status/457628026294272000">our gameplan wasn't the problem in Game 1</a>" to "<a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/davegisaac/status/457570511879671808">we need to play a puck possession-oriented game</a>". You'll likely recall that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624740/flyers-rangers-playoffs-claude-giroux-matchups">the Flyers point-blank said</a> that their gameplan was to play a dump-and-chase game, so this would, indeed, signify a shift in mindset if it's the case. Let's hope it's the truth.</p> <p>But whether it's a change of gameplan, better execution, better effort, or something else (I'm sure there's more), there isn't much that <i>doesn't</i> need to get better from Game 1. I've seen so many different storylines brought up in Game 1 -- <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55015/claude-giroux" class="sbn-auto-link">Claude Giroux</a> (zero shots on goal in his last three games against the Rangers!) needs to be better, the defense needs to be better, the special teams need to be better, the discipline needs to be better, the matchups need to be better ... you get the point. There's really no one thing that needs to improve today; it's everything.</p> <p>And truthfully, I do think we're gonna see something better today. How much better, I'm not sure. Good enough to win in MSG for the first time in three years, I'm certainly not convinced. But (a) tie-game-for-2.5-periods be damned, things were so bad on Thursday night that I can't see them being this bad again, and (b) this team has generally tended to follow up stinker efforts this year with better ones.</p> <p>Still, though, even if a lot of that stuff mentioned above <i>does</i> improve, there's a lot up in the air today. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54202/henrik-lundqvist" class="sbn-auto-link">Henrik Lundqvist</a> was hardly tested in Game 1, and assuming the Flyers spend to get more than 15 pucks on him today, you know he'll be up to the task. Both special teams units, as mentioned above, will need to be better, and it seems like there may be some panic on those fronts -- Jason Akeson was <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/tpanotchCSN/status/457565050900070400">apparently practicing with the top power play unit yesterday</a>, and while I like the kid a lot and am very happy he's in the lineup still, disrupting a top power play unit that's mostly been good all season seems a bit desperate.</p> <p>Maybe desperate can work, though. The Rangers are, no doubt, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/18/5628204/new-york-rangers-nhl-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-flyers-game-1">quite confident in themselves right now</a>, and they've earned the right to feel that way with how they rolled the Flyers up on Thursday (which is to say, the way they have in basically every game in the Big Apple since March 2011). There's gonna need to be a sense of urgency here. In a smart way, of course -- we saw the Flyers get stupid when the situation called for urgency in the third period on Thursday, and more of that is just going to make this all even more painful.</p> <p>Urgency telegraphed in the right way, though? Y'know, in a way that leads to more than one shot in the third period of a tied Game 1 in the playoffs against your second-biggest rival? Urgency from the initial puck drop -- in a way such that you won't sleep through the first seven minutes of <i>all three periods</i>, the way the Flyers did? Maybe it'd help.</p> <p>We'll see. No word on possible lineup changes as of Saturday night, so chances are we'll see the same crew we did on Thursday. Go big or go home down 2-0. Game at noon on NBC, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/16/5621750/rangers-vs-flyers-game-2-announcers">brought to you by the Rangers' announcers</a> so that's fun. See you then. Go Flyers. (And happy Easter to those of you celebrating.)</p> New York Rangers news: Ray Emery to start for the Flyers in Game 2 http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/19/5631688/new-york-rangers-nhl-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-flyers-goalie-steve-mason-update Evan Sporer http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/19/5631688/new-york-rangers-nhl-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-flyers-goalie-steve-mason-update Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:18:09 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31866367/20140417_pjc_sh4_110.jpg.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Steve Mason practiced on Saturday, but still will be unavailable when the Rangers and Flyers meet on Easter Sunday.</p> <p>He took a few more steps toward making his first appearance in the playoffs, but we learned on Saturday that <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54909/steve-mason">Steve Mason</a> will again be out when the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers">Rangers</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers">Flyers</a> meet up for Game 2 of their first round series on Sunday.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NYR&src=hash">#NYR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23PHI&src=hash">#PHI</a> Steve Mason just declared himself out for Game 2. Will not be available to back up either</p> &mdash; Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) <a href="https://twitter.com/KatieStrangESPN/statuses/457573560794771456">April 19, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> Mason has been out since April 12, missing the last two Flyers games following a collision&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/16/5621046/new-york-rangers-nhl-news-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-lineups-injury-info">that forced him out of a game against Pittsburgh</a>. Mason did not make the initial trip to New York with the Flyers for Thursday's Game 1, but traveled to New York and practiced Saturday, hoping to get his first crack at the series.</p> <p>This, from Katie Strang's&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/story/_/id/10808059/nhl-playoffs-steve-mason-philadelphia-flyers-game-2-vs-new-york-rangers">report</a> on Mason's situation:</p> <blockquote> <p>Berube said previously that Mason's health remains the top priority.</p> <p>"We talked it over as an organization and he's not ready," Berube said in his post-practice press briefing.</p> <p>Mason said he is still hoping to be back at some point in the series, with Game 3 his next target. Following Sunday's matinee, the series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 3 at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's interesting to note that <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71777/ray-emery">Ray Emery</a> will not only start Sunday's Game 2, but Mason again will not dress, making rookie Carl Heeter again Philadelhpia's backup. In two games against the Rangers this season, Emery is now 0-2 with eight goals allowed.</p> <p>In Rangers news... there's not much to report. Alain Vigneault was mum on whether or not he'd make any adjustments to the lineup, but considering Thursday's result, it's hard to imagine he'd feel the need to.</p> Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 1: Don't make Jason Akeson the scapegoat http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/18/5628156/jason-akeson-scapegoat-flyers-rangers Travis Hughes http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/18/5628156/jason-akeson-scapegoat-flyers-rangers Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:55:52 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31817463/485151707.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Jason Akeson made a very big mistake in Game 1, but he doesn't deserve to be the scapegoat. In fact, he was one of the only Flyers players who showed up.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/129784/jason-akeson" class="sbn-auto-link">Jason Akeson</a> made a huge mistake in Game 1. In a tied playoff game, on the road, with a golden opportunity for the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> to steal a win in a game they had no right winning, Akeson got a little too revved up at the end of a solid shift.</p> <p>He bumped <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/131255/carl-hagelin" class="sbn-auto-link">Carl Hagelin</a> off the puck, but didn't control his stick on the follow-through. It caught Hagelin in the face -- <i>hard</i> -- and Akeson went off for a four-minute high sticking double minor.</p> <p><img src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2154649/848884744.gif" class="photo" alt="848884744_medium"></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers" class="sbn-auto-link">Rangers</a> scored two goals on the ensuing power play en route to a 4-1 win.</p> <p>It was ugly, and really unfortunate for Akeson, who quickly became the scapegoat for, well .... an entire city.</p> <blockquote lang="en" class="twitter-tweet"> <p>Jason Akeson on the back page of tomorrow's Philadelphia Daily News: <a href="http://t.co/BBDaKDZgWG">pic.twitter.com/BBDaKDZgWG</a></p> &mdash; Frank Seravalli (@DNFlyers) <a href="https://twitter.com/DNFlyers/statuses/456992618061131776">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> are you shitting me? Stupid fucking penalty.</p> &mdash; Matt Weindel (@MattWeindel) <a href="https://twitter.com/MattWeindel/statuses/456964158169174016">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> I don't, he lost his team the game trying a little too hard</p> &mdash; Earl Cosner (@EarlCosner) <a href="https://twitter.com/EarlCosner/statuses/456964060483833856">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> he's the one who made the stupid play</p> &mdash; John Ryan (@JohnRyan2357) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnRyan2357/statuses/456964003672391680">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> he phucking sucks. Was a huge minus player all year. No playoff experience. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NeverDressHimAgain&src=hash">#NeverDressHimAgain</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ever&src=hash">#Ever</a></p> &mdash; M. A. Woods (@70markalexander) <a href="https://twitter.com/70markalexander/statuses/456968708024696832">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JoshJanet">@JoshJanet</a> a good game is nullified. Don't give a fuck how good he was. He should have played more this year with the flyers</p> &mdash; Nick Russo (@KiingCuzzo) <a href="https://twitter.com/KiingCuzzo/statuses/456967931629690880">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> if he is that good, why in minors all year? He isnt that good and this is a desperate and bonehead move playing him.</p> &mdash; Jim Kelly (@JimKelly66) <a href="https://twitter.com/JimKelly66/statuses/456965444352884736">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> Yea should be sent back to the phantoms</p> &mdash; Dave Macalino (@Macalino11) <a href="https://twitter.com/Macalino11/statuses/456964706201509889">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote lang="en" data-conversation="none" class="twitter-tweet"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/BroadStHockey">@BroadStHockey</a> fuck him man. Stupid penalty!!!</p> &mdash; Cristina Smith (@csmith1388) <a href="https://twitter.com/csmith1388/statuses/456964624047304705">April 18, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p> <script charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <p>Consider, however, the following:</p> <h5><b>Akeson was probably the Flyers best player in Game 1.</b></h5> <p><b></b>Aside from the penalty, of course. He played most of the game with <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/132266/sean-couturier" class="sbn-auto-link">Sean Couturier</a> and <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/130190/matt-read" class="sbn-auto-link">Matt Read</a> -- that's the Flyers tough-minutes defensive unit, by the way -- and he seemed to make an impact every time he hit the ice. He out-skated the Rangers pretty consistently and created some offense.</p> <p>While Akeson was on the ice last night, the Rangers&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/Drewski89/status/457195568280784896">didn't get a single scoring chance</a>. He was the only Flyer who didn't face a Rangers scoring chance while he was out there. In addition, the Flyers had two chances of their own while Akeson was on the ice, at least one of which was directly caused by him.</p> <p>Akeson did this without being given easy minutes. It's worth noting.</p> <div class="pullquote">Akeson was the only Flyers who finished as a plus player</div> <p>He had four shot attempts in the game -- three that hit the net and one that missed -- which was good for second-most among Flyers forwards. In terms of shot differential at even strength,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Kurt_BSH/status/456973804032380928" target="_blank" style="background-color: #ffffff;">Akeson was the <i>only</i> Flyer who finished as a plus player</a> in Game 1. The only damn one.</p> <h5>And Craig Berube noticed it.</h5> <p>When Ryan McDonagh took a high-sticking penalty early in the third period to put the Flyers on their first (and only) power play of the night, Akeson was rewarded with time on the second PP unit. Nothing came of the power play -- it was pretty ugly, to be honest -- but for a kid in his third-ever NHL game, getting power play minutes is a good sign that you're doing something right.</p> <p>Akeson had a really good game last night. That's not to absolve him for making a huge, game-costing mistake, because it's one of the first things you're taught as a hockey player: CONTROL YOUR STICK. But making him the scapegoat for this loss isn't fair, especially considering he's one of the only players who was a positive for the Flyers in Game 1. The entire team played like crap. This loss wasn't Akeson's fault.</p> <p>If the team puts the blame on him -- and by that we mean if Craig Berube sits him in Game 2 -- it'll be a pretty crippling blow to a young player who clearly has the skill to help the Flyers more than he hurts them. Let him rebound on Sunday, and if he plays anything like he did on Thursday, we'll be pretty happy.</p> New York Rangers highlights: Ryan McDonagh makes a nifty play at the blue line, leads to a goal (GIF) http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/18/5628106/new-york-rangers-nhl-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-highlights-ryan-mcondagh Evan Sporer http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2014/4/18/5628106/new-york-rangers-nhl-2014-stanley-cup-playoffs-highlights-ryan-mcondagh Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:46:46 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31813391/20140417_pjc_sh4_109.jpg.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Ryan McDonagh made a heady play at the blue line that led to the Rangers second power play goal last night.</p> <p>You may be familiar with <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71996/ryan-mcdonagh" class="sbn-auto-link">Ryan McDonagh</a>. The <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers" class="sbn-auto-link">Rangers</a> top defenseman missed the team's last five games of the season after going down with a shoulder injury. But McDonagh was healthy enough to return for Game 1 of Rangers-<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> Thursday night, although, after having not been in a game for over two weeks, McDonagh showed early signs of rust, including turning over a puck in the first that lad to Philadelphia's only goal of the night.</p> <p>But like most McDonagh games, the rest of the night was played consistently on defense, and included some important offensive moments.</p> <p>With the teams tied 1-all in the third period, the Rangers went on a double-minor midway through the frame, leaving the Blueshirts with an excellent opportunity to not just take the lead, but score twice and take a commanding edge.</p> <p>New York quickly scored the first, after a <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55065/martin-st-louis" class="sbn-auto-link">Martin St. Louis</a> shot took a fortuitous bounce of a Flyers' defenseman, and straight onto the stick of <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55200/brad-richards" class="sbn-auto-link">Brad Richards</a>.</p> <p>If the Rangers' first extra-man goal required a bit of puck luck, the second was certainly a no-doubter, and it was thanks in large to McDonagh.</p> <p>The Flyers were upping their pressure on the power play, but after a slick stick handle by McDonagh at the blue line, pressure turned into chasing, and the Rangers' puck movement did the rest of the work, before <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/111731/derek-stepan">Derek Stepan</a> buried it.</p> <p><a href="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4320563/McDonagh_Dangle.GIF" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_dangle_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4320563/McDonagh_Dangle.GIF"></a></p> <p>Here's another angle of the play, which really lets you see how it develops, and how slick a pass Richards makes on the primary assist.</p> <p><a href="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4320595/McDonagh_Birds-eye_Dangle.GIF" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_birds-eye_dangle_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4320595/McDonagh_Birds-eye_Dangle.GIF"></a> <br id="1397835684549"></p> <p><i>A big s/t to </i><a href="http://twitter.com/PeteBlackburn" target="_blank">@PeteBlackburn</a><i> for the GIFs</i></p> Friday Morning Fly By: Ugh boo. BOOOOOOOOOOO. http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/18/5625236/friday-morning-fly-by-ugh-boo-booooooooooo Kelly Hinkle http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/18/5625236/friday-morning-fly-by-ugh-boo-booooooooooo Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:00:02 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31798573/485399801.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...</p> <p>*The <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers">Flyers</a> lost, duh. It sucked. <a href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5626530/flyers-vs-rangers-game-1-recap-billy-ray-flyrus" target="_blank">Please to enjoy this Rothencap</a>.</p> <p>*<a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55015/claude-giroux">Claude Giroux</a> vs. <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71996/ryan-mcdonagh">Ryan McDonagh</a> is going to be a key matchup for the length of this series. [<a href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624274/claude-giroux-ryan-mcdonagh-matchup-rangers-flyers" target="_blank">BSH</a>]</p> <p>*Berube changed up his game plan to account for McDonagh's defensive prowess. [<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20140417_Berube_changing_up_game_plan_against_the_Rangers.html" target="_blank">Daily News</a>]</p> <p>*Dr. T looks at what the Flyers have done all year against the Rangers in light of Berube's pregame comments. [<a href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624740/flyers-rangers-playoffs-claude-giroux-matchups" target="_blank">BSH</a>]</p> <p>*Claude Giroux is probably going to make or break this series, if we're being honest. [<a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/claude-giroux-s-the-key-vs--ny-rangers-141209913.html" target="_blank">Puck Daddy</a>] [<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20140417_Giroux_the_leader_of_Flyers__resurgence.html" target="_blank">Inquirer</a>]</p> <p>*Mason is joining the team in NYC today. Which is fantastic news. [<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/flyers/Mason-doing-better-will-join-Flyers-Fri.html" target="_blank">Inquirer</a>]</p> <p>*Ginger Jesus is the only ginger left now that Jake and Hartsy have dyed their beards with hilarious result. [<a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/flyers-playoff-beards-prove-orange-is-the-new-dyed-black-171014120.html" target="_blank">PD</a>]</p> <p>*Craig Berube is keeping his cool entering the playoffs. [<a href="http://www.csnphilly.com/hockey-philadelphia-flyers/craig-berube-keeping-cool-flyers-open-playoffs" target="_blank">CSN Philly</a>]</p> <p>*Sunday's game two on NBCSN will be called by the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers">Rangers</a>' broadcast team, so get ready to feel lots of anger towards your television. [<a href="http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/16/5621750/rangers-vs-flyers-game-2-announcers" target="_blank">BSH</a>]</p> <p>*Mark Pavelich, of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team, is selling his gold medal. Which is kind of sad. [<a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/why-is-mark-pavelich-selling-his--miracle-on-ice--gold-medal-143836901.html" target="_blank">PD</a>]</p> <p>*The NHL is waiting for the players' association to sign off on their <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/world-cup-2014">World Cup</a> of Hockey idea. [<a href="http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/04/17/nhl-waiting-for-nhlpa-to-sign-off-on-world-cup-of-hockey/" target="_blank">ProHockeyTalk</a>]</p> Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 1 Recap: AKEY BREAKY FART http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5626530/flyers-vs-rangers-game-1-recap-billy-ray-flyrus Ben Rothenberg http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5626530/flyers-vs-rangers-game-1-recap-billy-ray-flyrus Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:34:09 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31791173/485394547.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>In which the Flyers were dominated and didn't look very good and lost. </p> <p><b><i>Rangers lead series 1-0</i></b></p> <p>Because I'm a pretty happy guy I'll start with the upside from tonight.</p> <p>The positives: the Flyers made it to the playoffs, which is better than not making it to the playoffs at all, like happened last year. Going to prom only to have the girl get sick and poop on her dress and spend the whole night crying about it is better than not getting to go to prom at all ... right? Maybe?</p> <p>The negatives: the Flyers looked completely overmatched and awful and teams that look completely overmatched and awful rarely win playoff series. The Rangers won 4-1 and it arguably wasn't even that that close. So yeah, it was awful, but here's hoping that what feels like rock-bottom proves only to be the lowest part of a trampoline, and that the Flyers soon go soaring upward toward the sky or something.</p> <p>Bullet time:</p> <ul> <li><span>Every way you slice it, the Flyers got completely julienned out there tonight. They got outscored 4-1. They got outshot 36-15. Overall shot attempts at 5-on-5 were 53-37. They didn't get a shot for the first seven minutes in the first period, for the first six minutes of the second, and then again for the first seven minutes of the third. The Flyers only got one shot in the third period, which was a completely terrible strategy for trying to come back to win the game. So they should learn from their mistakes for next time, I guess.</span></li> <li><span>Domination by the Rangers was so thorough that I'm honestly not sure if Henrik Lundqvist was mentioned during the broadcast. Do you remember any saves he made? I don't. If he had done anything, I'm sure McGuire would've mentioned how Henrik used to play in his junior days for the Thunder Bay ButtPlumbers or whatever. </span></li> <li><span>Which brings me to Pierre McGuire. I know the players like him, and the dude clearly knows a lot about hockey, but honestly ZOMG SHUT UP. During a high-stakes playoff game nobody needs to hear show-offy filler material about "Drummondville," "the Saskatoon Contacts, or "the Sudbury Wolves." That's not a way to grow the sport with casual fans; that's a way to give someone a detached retina from rolling his eye too hard.</span></li> <li><span>Across the net from Pierre McGuire, Jason Akeson sat in the penalty box and watched Game 1 slip away from his team after he received a double-minor for carelessly molesting Carl Hagelin's mouth with his stick. How did that happen? I won't blame Akeson for being completely inexperienced and dumb, but I will blame whoever decided that he was the Flyers' best option to play a fair number of minutes in this crucial playoff game. The guy wasn't good enough to play in the first 81 games of the regular season, so what is he doing in the third period of a playoff game? He played more minutes, by far, than Vincent Lecavalier, who is a studly veteran with a cup ring. In other words: fix your shit, Flyers.</span></li> <li><span>Ray Emery is not a playoff-caliber goaltender. He's not the reason why the Flyers lost tonight, but he also didn't win, so. The Flyers looked unsettled with him in net, understandably. With his hulking yet herky-jerky style, Emery is as calming a presence as a toddler on an airplane. If Steve Mason isn't back by Game 3, the Flyers don't have a prayer of winning this series.</span></li> <li><span>Despite my current pessimism, playoff hockey sure is swell, isn't it? It's nice to have a horse in the race, even if does break a leg down the stretch and get euthanized before you can even tear up your ticket.</span></li> <li><span>That anthem was awful. Just because you're singing about America doesn't mean that you shouldn't be held to the same standards as everybody else, buddy. </span></li> <li> <span>Earlier this week </span><span>I made a delightful surprise appearance on BSH Radio, and I picked Jake Voracek as the key player for Game 1 because I thought with his gingery beard he could be a great decoy for Claude Giroux and cause lots of confusion. Just for Men had other ideas, sadly. Poor strategy, boys (though ultimately Berube has to shoulder the blame for that sort of facial hair recklessness).</span> </li> <li><span>Also poor? Whatever the hell that "Random Red Couch" McDonald's commercial is. It builds up so much rage inside of me. I need it to go away immediately.</span></li> <li><span>CNBC is a weird network to watch playoff hockey on, not gonna lie. Case in point: when I was flying from California to Florida in March on United, the two planes we took had DirecTV-equipped TVs for each passenger. It was pretty neato! On the first leg of the flight, the TVs in coach defaulted to ESPN, which was a smart best guess as to what people wanted to watch. On the second leg of the trip, I randomly got bumped into first class for the first time in years, and the TVs there all defaulted to CNBC, because people who sit in first class don't care about sports and only want to know how their mutual funds and Nikkeis and shit are doing, I guess. I found it completely offensive and watched BET for the whole flight. Fight the power.</span></li> <li><span>History tells us that the team that wins Game 1 doesn't win the series, necessarily. This is a relief. What's less of a relief is having two whole days to marinate in sadness before Game 2 on Sunday afternoon. I need something to wash this taste out of my mouth. Maybe I should brush my teeth or floss or something.</span></li> </ul> <div>So, yeah. Go Flyers. Do better.</div> Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 1: The playoffs begin at MSG http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5625730/rangers-vs-flyers-game-1-coverage Travis Hughes http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5625730/rangers-vs-flyers-game-1-coverage Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:59:06 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31791189/485394639.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The playoffs begin tonight in New York. Get ready. </p> <p>It's been a while, guys. 709 days if we're being exact. But finally, the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers">Flyers</a> are back in the playoffs.</p> <p>The 2014 Eastern Conference First Round series against the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers">New York Rangers</a> kicks off Thursday night in New York, and ... well, I'm nervous. The Rangers are not only a hated rival but also a very strong opponent, and they probably have the edge over the Flyers in this series if we're being objective.</p> <p align="center"><img src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/65878/flyers_orange_medium.gif" alt="Flyers_orange_medium"><img src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/69236/rangers_blue_medium.gif" alt="Rangers_blue_medium"></p> <h5 align="center">Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers</h5> <div style="text-align: center;"><b>Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round | Series tied 0-0</b></div> <div style="text-align: center;">7 p.m. ET | Madison Square Garden | Manhattan, New York</div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div> <b>In Philly </b>on CSN and 97.5 The Fanatic</div> <div> <b>Elsewhere </b><span>on </span>CNBC (US) | TSN, RDS (Canada) | MSG (NY)</div> <div> <b>Live online stream</b> at <a style="background-color: #ffffff;" target="_blank" href="http://www.nbcsports.com/">NBCSports.com</a> (US) and <a style="background-color: #ffffff;" target="_blank" href="http://www.tsn.ca/">TSN.ca</a> (Canada)</div> </div> <p>That said, it's certainly a winnable series for the Flyers. There are just a few major aspects of the series that need to fall their way:</p> <div class="sidebar"> <h5>Flyers lineup</h5> <span> Hartnell - Giroux - Voracek<br> Raffl - B. Schenn - Simmonds<br> Read - Couturier - Akeson<br> Rinaldo - Lecavalier - Hall<br><br> Timonen - Coburn<br> Grossmann - Streit<br> MacDonald - L. Schenn<br><br><strong>Inj</strong>: Mason, Downie<br><strong>Healthy</strong>: Gill, Rosehill, McGinn, Gustafsson, VandeVelde</span> <h5>New York lineup</h5> <span>Nash - Stepan - St. Louis<br> Pouliot - Brassard - Zuccarello<br> Hagelin - Richards - Fast<br> Boyle - Moore - Dorsett<br><br> McDonagh - Girardi<br> Staal - Stralman<br> Moore - Klein<br><br><strong>Inj</strong>: Kreider<br><strong>Healthy</strong>: Diaz, Carcillo, Falk</span> </div> <ol> <li><span><b>Special teams.</b> The Flyers are a team that live and die with their special teams play, and they're going up against a Rangers teams that's pretty dang good on the penalty kill. The Flyers PKers should be able to handle New York's middle-of-the-pack PP (as always, staying out of the box is still important though too), but if the Flyers power play is clicking on all cylinders it could be what turns this series in Philly's favor. New York has the third best PK in the league, so this is going to be a tough battle all series long.</span></li> <li> <b>Depth.</b> Both teams are deep at forward, and while the top units might be able to cancel each other out, playoff series are often won by depth guys. The Flyers are deeper at forward (although NYR's depth is nothing to sneeze at). The Flyers bottom two lines <i>should</i> be able to out-perform those of the Rangers, but the Rangers are deeper on defense. Which team gets more out of the bottom of their roster?</li> <li> <b>Giroux's line vs. McDonagh and Girardi.</b> We touched on this earlier and will talk about it a lot more as the series goes on, but this matchup will be key. Can the Flyers' top line generate chances against the Rangers top defensive unit? Giroux, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54951/jakub-voracek">Jakub Voracek</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55009/scott-hartnell">Scott Hartnell</a> need to be the pace-setters for the Flyers. If the top line gets sealed up in the neutral zone all night, it's likely going to carry over to the rest of the team. </li> <li> <b>Stopping Nash-Stepan-MSL.</b> <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55065/martin-st-louis">Martin St. Louis</a> has only scored a goal since joining the Rangers at the deadline, but who cares. It's Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis on one line ... and oh, yeah, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/111731/derek-stepan">Derek Stepan</a> is pretty good too. The Flyers need to shut that line down. What's up, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/132266/sean-couturier">Sean Couturier</a>?</li> </ol> <p>Most importantly, the Flyers really just need to win a game at MSG. I'm sick of hearing about that nonsensical storyline, and it's on the verge of becoming The Thing of this series. It'll only get worse if the Flyers lose Game 1 tonight. But the whole ball game changes if the Flyers win tonight.</p> <p><a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71777/ray-emery">Ray Emery</a> grabs the start for the Flyers. Lots of people are freaking out about <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54909/steve-mason">Steve Mason</a> being out, but Emery has played really well down the stretch and is more than capable of winning a game tonight. The Flyers will have to beat <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54202/henrik-lundqvist">Henrik Lundqvist</a>, which of course is a tough task, but this Flyers team has the offensive capability to do it, especially if they get that power play rolling.</p> <p>It's the playoffs, guys. Get excited. Go Flyers.</p> Rangers vs. Flyers: Should Claude Giroux's line use the dump-and-chase? http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624740/flyers-rangers-playoffs-claude-giroux-matchups Eric T. http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624740/flyers-rangers-playoffs-claude-giroux-matchups Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:50:28 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31776485/185764006.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Craig Berube said the Flyers top line will dump the puck against the Rangers top defensive unit. What have they been doing all year against the Rangers, and was Berube lying?</p> <p>As many of you will know, I've written a lot about the dump and chase. Successful&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/Using%20Zone%20Entry%20Data%20To%20Separate%20Offensive,%20Neutral,%20And%20Defensive%20Zone%20Performance.pdf" target="_blank">carry-ins generate more than twice as many shots, scoring chances, and goals</a> as dump-and-chase plays do (even after controlling for things like odd-man rushes, dump-ins to get a line change, and the skill of the players on the ice).</p> <p>Moreover, I believe teams dramatically overestimate the risks of trying to carry the puck in. The time a turnover leads to an odd-man rush and a goal gets burned into your brain, but it just isn't that common -- at least the way teams play right now, failed entries lead (on average) to about the same number of chances against as a dump-and-change play.</p> <p>Undoubtedly, if a team started pressing harder at the blue line, they'd be taking on some more dangerous situations and we'd see them starting to give up more chances against as a result. But given how much better a carry-in is than a dump-in, I have to believe teams aren't as aggressive as they should be right now.</p> <h4>A change of strategy</h4> <p>Given that perspective, you can imagine how I might have raised an eyebrow at some of what I read in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20140417_Berube_changing_up_game_plan_against_the_Rangers.html" target="_blank">Frank Seravalli's article this morning</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>[Ryan] McDonagh's stout work at the blue line has forced <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> coach Craig Berube to alter his game plan. [...] Berube described the style he wants <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55015/claude-giroux" class="sbn-auto-link">Claude Giroux</a>, [Jakub] Voracek and <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55009/scott-hartnell" class="sbn-auto-link">Scott Hartnell</a> to play against McDonagh as "unfulfilling." Unless they have a clear break to carry it in the offensive zone, Berube has instructed his players to dump the puck in New York's end, particularly in McDonagh's direction.</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>"You can't let him force turnovers at the blue line, because he's just a killer," Berube said.</p> </blockquote> <p>A lot of what Berube said made sense, in fairness. He acknowledged that dump-and-chase isn't the preferred choice, but was noting that this particular matchup might be one that tilts the preferences a little the other way. That's all reasonable, but given my perception that teams are generally way too conservative, any talk of finding reasons to be more conservative makes me nervous.</p> <p>So I went back to this year's regular season games and looked at what happened on the entries where McDonagh was the defender.</p> <h4>Individual defensive stats</h4> <p>I posted an article last week about the&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/4/9/5592622/nhl-stats-zone-entries-defense">Flyers' individual zone entry defense</a>. For each defenseman, we looked at how often the opponents were able to carry the puck in against him, how often they decided to dump the puck in, and how often they tried to challenge him and he broke the play up. Here's what we found, for comparison's sake:</p> <table align="center" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="2" border="2" class="sbn-data-table" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; border-collapse: collapse; border-spacing: 0px; font-family: 'Gotham Narrow SSm A', 'Gotham Narrow SSm B', Arial, sans-serif; width: 703px; border: 6px solid #ccd1d5; text-align: center; line-height: 1.125em; margin-bottom: 1em; font-size: 13px; color: #292929;"><tbody style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <tr class="ui-state-even" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Player</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Target %</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Carry-against %</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Break-up %</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-odd" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Coburn</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">21.1%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">62.8%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">11.7%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-even" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">Gill</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">25.0%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">66.7%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">6.7%</td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-odd" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Meszaros</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">32.2%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">67.9%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">8.9%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-even" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Timonen</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">37.6%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">68.5%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">6.3%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-odd" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">LSchenn</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">36.5%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">70.7%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">5.0%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-even" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Streit</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">33.8%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">71.7%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">5.4%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-odd" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">Grossmann</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">39.5%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">74.0%</b></td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;"><b style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;">5.6%</b></td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-even" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">Gustafsson</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">33.0%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">75.6%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; color: #555555;">0.8%</td> </tr> <tr class="ui-state-odd" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box;"> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;">MacDonald</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;">47.6%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;">78.1%</td> <td style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; box-sizing: border-box; padding: 4px; font-size: 0.85em; border: 2px solid #ccd1d5; background-color: #e4e9ed; color: #555555;">4.7%</td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p>I did the same analysis for McDonagh in his four games against the Flyers. At 5-on-5, there were 35 occasions where he was defending the player who attempted a zone entry.</p> <p>23 of those plays resulted in carry-ins (66%). 10 of them resulted in dump-ins (29%). 2 of them were broken up (6%).</p> <p>Those are decent numbers, but they don't scream "stay the heck away from that guy" to me. I certainly didn't see anything that would make me tell guys like Giroux and Voracek to play it safe.</p> <p>There was a quote in Seravalli's article from Voracek, noting that McDonagh was particularly tough in their last game. In that game, he was the primary defender on eight entry attempts -- five carry-ins (63%) and one break-up. Giroux and Voracek were responsible for the five carry-ins and the failed entry. Again, it's a decent game by McDonagh, but nothing that really scares me.</p> <h4>The video</h4> <p>Of course, in a sample this size, the numbers might be deceiving. There are always going to be plays where a carry-in is automatic and plays where a dump-in is automatic; the question is how aggressive the team will be on the plays that fall in between. I'm assuming Berube isn't advocating a dump-in on a play like this:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315741/McDonagh_easy_carry_1.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_easy_carry_1_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315741/McDonagh_easy_carry_1_medium.png"></a> <br id="1397760400037"></p> <p>So I rewatched each carry-in attempt by Giroux or Voracek against McDonagh and looked at how much space they had as they approached the blue line, how risky a play it was, and how it turned out.</p> <p>I pulled screenshots of what was happening right at the blue line on the plays where some judgment was involved:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315757/McDonagh_challenge_1.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_1_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315757/McDonagh_challenge_1_medium.png"></a><br>Giroux receives pass just before blue line and instead of tipping it deep, cuts inside McDonagh, gains zone.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315765/McDonagh_challenge_2.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_2_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315765/McDonagh_challenge_2_medium.png"></a><br>McDonagh challenges in neutral zone, has good positioning, but Voracek presses play to outside and gains zone.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315773/McDonagh_challenge_3.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_3_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315773/McDonagh_challenge_3_medium.png"></a><br>McDonagh challenges in neutral zone, has good positioning, but Giroux presses play to outside and gains zone.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315781/McDonagh_challenge_4.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_4_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315781/McDonagh_challenge_4_medium.png"></a><br>McDonagh challenges in neutral zone, has good positioning, but Giroux presses play and loses puck. Play results in even-man rush for NYR.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315789/McDonagh_challenge_5.png" target="_blank"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_5_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315789/McDonagh_challenge_5_medium.png"></a><br>McDonagh has decent positioning but there is a lane to the outside and Giroux takes it, gains zone.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Mcdonagh_challenge_6_medium" class="photo" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4315797/McDonagh_challenge_6_medium.png"><br>McDonagh has decent positioning but there is a lane to the outside and Giroux takes it, gains zone.</p> <p>There are a few others where Giroux or Voracek beat McDonagh with a pass as he challenged in the neutral zone. Overall, the two of them combined for 14 entries with possession against McDonagh, three dump-ins, and one failed entry.</p> <h4>The takeaway</h4> <p>I can't see how anyone looks over that tape and concludes that McDonagh's blue line play was stifling their entry attempts and that Giroux and Voracek need to dump the puck in more. Instead, I see them consistently beating him wide and setting up an offensive zone possession.</p> <p>Let's return to the quotes from Seravalli's article.</p> <blockquote> <p>"To try to beat him wide with speed, other than Voracek, [McDonagh is] probably going to win that battle a lot of times," [Berube said]</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>Berube's reason for attacking McDonagh is twofold: to wear him down and also see whether the Flyers can aggravate his sore left shoulder.</p> </blockquote> <p>I'm starting to wonder if this was all a subterfuge. If they really were planning to change their strategy against him and dump the puck more, why would they share that before the game?</p> <p>An alternative hypothesis is that they know they've had success beating him wide and are planning to try to exploit that further. They make threats about his shoulder hoping to get him backing off more at the blue line, declare that driving wide on him is all but hopeless, and then...</p> <p>Well, there's no way to know for sure until we see tonight's game. It's definitely something to watch for though.</p> Prospects Snapshot: Winnipeg Jets CHL prospects after second round http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2014/4/17/5625104/winnipeg-jets-prospects-chl-second-round-guelph-kosmachuk-kelowna-olsen-portland-petan garret9 http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2014/4/17/5625104/winnipeg-jets-prospects-chl-second-round-guelph-kosmachuk-kelowna-olsen-portland-petan Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:22:48 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31775441/464897525.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Kosmachuk, Olsen, and Petan move on; Kostalek and Blomqvist eliminated.</p> <h3>QMJHL</h3> <h4> <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/198419/jan-kostalek">Jan Kostalek</a>; Rimouski Oceanic</h4> <p>Regular season: 55 GP, 5G 22A 27 PTS, 40 PIM, +10, 122 Shots, 4.1 Sh%</p> <p>Playoffs: 6GP, 0G 3A 3 PTS, 4 PIM, -2, 9 Shots, 0 Sh%</p> <p>Rimouski Oceanic lost their series against Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in what was a very close, exciting and evenly matched bought. The death blow was served in game seven in over time, the 3rd game of the series needing extra minutes. Kostalek returned from his upper-body injury he sustained in the first game of the post season. Despite missing five games, Kostalek came third on his team for defensive points in the post season.</p> <p>With overage player Jimmy Oligny finishing his junior career, Rimouski will look to Kostalek and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers">Philadelphia Flyers</a> 2013 1st round pick <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/198439/samuel-morin">Samuel Morin</a> to anchor the team's top pair together.</p> <h3>OHL</h3> <h4> <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/157799/scott-kosmachuk">Scott Kosmachuk</a>; Guelph Storm</h4> <p>Regular season: 68 GP, 49G 52A 101PTS, 83 PIM, +52</p> <p>Playoffs: 10GP, 6G 6A 12 PTS, 23 PIM, +12</p> <p>The offensively dominant Guelph Storm breezed by the London Knights, taking the series four games to one. Kosmachuk currently leads his team in penalty minutes and goals. Being over a point per game player while having that many penalty minutes eating into his ice time is a pretty big accomplishment, even if taking penalties is predominately ill advised.</p> <p>The Storm move on to face Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters for the OHL's Western Conference final.</p> <h3>WHL</h3> <h4> <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/157801/ryan-olsen">Ryan Olsen</a>; Kelowna Rockets</h4> <p>Regular season: 71 GP, 30G 34A 64 PTS, 73 PIM, +37</p> <p>Playoffs: 9GP, 3G 3A 6 PTS, 6 PIM, +0</p> <p>Kelowna Rockets swept the Seattle Thunderbirds in dominant fashion, with Seattle only taking the lead once in the entire four games. Normally Kelowna relies on puck possession and defensive play to beat it's opponents; in the regular season Kelowna only had one player post over point per game (in contrast the Portland Winterhawks and Guelph Storm each had six). However, the Rockets have found their offensive stride in the post-season with many players scoring over a point per game. Unfortunately not much of this offensive production has come from Olsen.</p> <p>Kelowna will face Nic Petan and the Portland Winterhawks for the WHL's Western Conference final.</p> <h4>Nic Petan; Portland Winterhawks</h4> <p>Regular season: 63 GP, 35G 78A 113PTS, 69 PIM, +47</p> <p>Playoffs: 9GP, 3G 3A 7 PTS, 26 PIM, +6</p> <p>Portland Winterhawks soundly eliminated Blomqvist's Victoria Royals. Not often would a 1.11 point per game be a "disappointing" production for a player, but for Nic Petan it may <i><b>seem</b></i> like it after pacing near 2 points per for most of the regular season. His scoring hasn't been for lack of creation, as he continues to amaze those who watch him with off-the-charts hockey IQ and dazzling puck skills. Lack of TOI with 26 PIMs could be part although most of it comes from "the game is over so let's have a brouhaha" moments.</p> <p>The Winterhawks will face Kelowna Rockets next series.</p> <h4> <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/224371/axel-blomqvist">Axel Blomqvist</a>; Victoria Royals</h4> <p>Regular season: 46 GP, 16G 27A 43PTS, 14 PIM, +24</p> <p>Playoffs: 9GP, 0G 1A 1 PTS, 6 PIM, +0</p> <p>As noted in Petan's section, the Winterhawks have ended the Royals post-season. Blomqvist hit a cold streak in the playoffs, but it would be advised to not put too much stock in small sample sizes.</p> <p>Although signed to an entry level contract, we will most likely see Blomqvist returning to the Victoria Royals next season.</p> Flyers vs. Rangers, Game 1 preview: The playoffs begin at MSG http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624722/rangers-vs-flyers-preview-game-1-nhl-playoffs-2014 Travis Hughes http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624722/rangers-vs-flyers-preview-game-1-nhl-playoffs-2014 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:22:01 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31768739/20140326_jcd_ag9_168.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The playoffs begin tonight in New York. Get ready. </p> <p>It's been a while, guys. 709 days if we're being exact. But finally, the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> are back in the playoffs.</p> <p>The 2014 Eastern Conference First Round series against the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers" class="sbn-auto-link">New York Rangers</a> kicks off Thursday night in New York, and ... well, I'm nervous. The Rangers are not only a hated rival but also a very strong opponent, and they probably have the edge over the Flyers in this series if we're being objective.</p> <p align="center"><img alt="Flyers_orange_medium" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/assets/65878/flyers_orange_medium.gif"><img alt="Rangers_blue_medium" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/69236/rangers_blue_medium.gif"></p> <h5 align="center">Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers</h5> <div style="text-align: center;"><b>Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round | Series tied 0-0</b></div> <div style="text-align: center;">7 p.m. ET | Madison Square Garden | Manhattan, New York</div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div> <b>In Philly </b>on CSN&nbsp;and 97.5 The Fanatic</div> <div> <b>Elsewhere </b><span>on </span>CNBC (US) | TSN, RDS (Canada) | MSG (NY)</div> <div> <b>Live online stream</b> at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcsports.com/" target="_blank" style="background-color: #ffffff;">NBCSports.com</a> (US) and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tsn.ca/" target="_blank" style="background-color: #ffffff;">TSN.ca</a> (Canada)</div> </div> <p>That said, it's certainly a winnable series for the Flyers. There are just a few major aspects of the series that need to fall their way:</p> <div class="sidebar"> <h5>Flyers lineup</h5> <span> Hartnell - Giroux - Voracek<br> Raffl - B. Schenn - Simmonds<br> Read - Couturier - Akeson<br> Rinaldo - Lecavalier - Hall<br><br> Timonen - Coburn<br> Grossmann - Streit<br> MacDonald - L. Schenn<br><br><strong>Inj</strong>: Mason, Downie<br><strong>Healthy</strong>: Gill, Rosehill, McGinn, Gustafsson, VandeVelde</span> <h5>New York lineup</h5> <span>Nash - Stepan - St. Louis<br> Pouliot - Brassard - Zuccarello<br> Hagelin - Richards - Fast<br> Boyle - Moore - Dorsett<br><br> McDonagh - Girardi<br> Staal - Stralman<br> Moore - Klein<br><br><strong>Inj</strong>: Kreider<br><strong>Healthy</strong>: Diaz, Carcillo, Falk</span> </div> <ol> <li><span><b>Special teams.</b> The Flyers are a team that live and die with their special teams play, and they're going up against a Rangers teams that's pretty dang good on the penalty kill. The Flyers PKers should be able to handle New York's middle-of-the-pack PP (as always, staying out of the box is still important though too), but if the Flyers power play is clicking on all cylinders it could be what turns this series in Philly's favor. New York has the third best PK in the league, so this is going to be a tough battle all series long.</span></li> <li> <b>Depth.</b> Both teams are deep at forward, and while the top units might be able to cancel each other out, playoff series are often won by depth guys. The Flyers are deeper at forward (although NYR's depth is nothing to sneeze at). The Flyers bottom two lines <i>should</i> be able to out-perform those of the Rangers, but the Rangers are deeper on defense. Which team gets more out of the bottom of their roster?</li> <li> <b>Giroux's line vs. McDonagh and Girardi.</b> We touched on this earlier and will talk about it a lot more as the series goes on, but this matchup will be key. Can the Flyers' top line generate chances against the Rangers top defensive unit? Giroux, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54951/jakub-voracek" class="sbn-auto-link">Jakub Voracek</a> and <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55009/scott-hartnell" class="sbn-auto-link">Scott Hartnell</a> need to be the pace-setters for the Flyers. If the top line gets sealed up in the neutral zone all night, it's likely going to carry over to the rest of the team. </li> <li> <b>Stopping Nash-Stepan-MSL.</b> <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55065/martin-st-louis" class="sbn-auto-link">Martin St. Louis</a> has only scored a goal since joining the Rangers at the deadline, but who cares. It's Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis on one line ... and oh, yeah, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/111731/derek-stepan" class="sbn-auto-link">Derek Stepan</a> is pretty good too. The Flyers need to shut that line down. What's up, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/132266/sean-couturier" class="sbn-auto-link">Sean Couturier</a>?</li> </ol> <p>Most importantly, the Flyers really just need to win a game at MSG. I'm sick of hearing about that nonsensical storyline, and it's on the verge of becoming The Thing of this series. It'll only get worse if the Flyers lose Game 1 tonight. But the whole ball game changes if the Flyers win tonight.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71777/ray-emery" class="sbn-auto-link">Ray Emery</a> grabs the start for the Flyers. Lots of people are freaking out about <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54909/steve-mason" class="sbn-auto-link">Steve Mason</a> being out, but Emery has played really well down the stretch and is more than capable of winning a game tonight. The Flyers will have to beat <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54202/henrik-lundqvist" class="sbn-auto-link">Henrik Lundqvist</a>, which of course is a tough task, but this Flyers team has the offensive capability to do it, especially if they get that power play rolling.</p> <p>It's the playoffs, guys. Get excited. Go Flyers.</p> Flyers vs. Rangers: Claude Giroux vs. Ryan McDonagh will be a key matchup http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624274/claude-giroux-ryan-mcdonagh-matchup-rangers-flyers Travis Hughes http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2014/4/17/5624274/claude-giroux-ryan-mcdonagh-matchup-rangers-flyers Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:32:34 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31761759/20140326_jcd_ag9_057.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Ryan McDonagh's pairing vs. Claude Giroux's line will be a major factor in this Flyers-Rangers first round playoff series.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/55015/claude-giroux" class="sbn-auto-link">Claude Giroux</a> had a goal against all but seven NHL teams in 2013-14. One of them was the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/new-york-rangers" class="sbn-auto-link">New York Rangers</a>.</p> <p>So for a team that relies heavily on their captain to pace them in the goal scoring category, this is a bit disconcerting. You know, since the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/teams/philadelphia-flyers" class="sbn-auto-link">Flyers</a> need to beat the Rangers four times in the next seven games to keep their season alive and all. How do Giroux and Craig Berube plan on winning?</p> <p>Frank Seravalli at the <i>Daily News</i> has&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20140417_Berube_changing_up_game_plan_against_the_Rangers.html">a great breakdown</a> of the Flyers plan of attack for the Giroux line, who will be matched up against New York's top defensive unit of <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/71996/ryan-mcdonagh" class="sbn-auto-link">Ryan McDonagh</a> and <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/players/54186/dan-girardi" class="sbn-auto-link">Dan Girardi</a> tonight and likely most of every night this series.</p> <blockquote> <p>Unless they have a clear break to carry it in the offensive zone, Berube has instructed his players to dump the puck in New York's end, particularly in McDonagh's direction, to see whether they can pin the should-be Norris Trophy candidate behind his net and create scoring opportunities that way.</p> <p>...</p> <p>"You can't let him force turnovers at the blue line, because he's just a killer," Berube said. "It's kind of an unfulfilling way for a player to play - because you don't want to give the puck up. I talked to our team today about grinding it out. Just wait for your opportunities.</p> <p>"To try to beat him wide with speed, other than Voracek, [McDonagh is] probably going to win that battle a lot of times."</p> </blockquote> <p>We have to consider how much of this is playoff gamesmanship on the part of Berube, but if he's being totally honest, it's not the best news to hear.</p> <p>Dumping and chasing just isn't all that effective, but if the Flyers are hitting the neutral zone against McDonagh's pairing, it seems they've determined that it's the best way to retrieve the puck and work them down. We'll see if it actually works, or if the Flyers can get creative in the neutral zone, targeting Girardi's side more frequently. Girardi doesn't have near the speed McDonagh does and that could be a better point of entry into the offensive zone.</p> <p>Alternatively, Berube has to look for every opportunity to get Giroux's line out there in more favorable situations. Put him out for more offensive zone faceoffs, thus negating the need to beat McDonagh and Girardi at the blue line. Or, even better, slipping the top line out there when McDonagh is off the ice -- surely a tough task at MSG where Alain Vigneault gets last change, and especially when McDonagh's unit is going to play close to 30 minutes a night no matter what.</p> <p>The other area the Flyers will target: McDonagh's injured shoulder. Unfortunately one of his biggest weapons is his speed, and shoulders aren't legs. But maybe that's part of the reason the Flyers feel they can have success grinding it out against him.</p> <p>This chess match will be one to watch throughout the series, and it's probably one that's going to have a huge impact on who wins this series. Keep an eye on it.</p>