“The morning after” is a review of the previous night’s Flyers’ game which, in theory, provides a more objective perspective on the game.
Given how the ’11 season started, there were many abnormalities to last night’s victory over the Buffalo Sabres: The power play potted three goals, equaling the total of PP goals they scored coming into last night’s game. The offense was potent. The enigma wrapped in a jersey hidden behind a tinted visor that is Nikolay Zherdev scored his second goal of the season. The Flyers came out flying in the second period. The snakebitten energy generators, Darroll Powe and Andreas Nodl both scored. It was Powe’s second goal of the season and the second of Nodl’s career. Also, the Flyers remained disciplined, taking only four penalties on the night.
Minutes after Jody Shelley took a lazy slashing penalty early in the first period that lead to a Sabres’ power play goal, Sean O’Donnell stepped up and did Shelley’s job. He dropped the gloves with Cody McCormick and it proved to be the catalyst the team needed. The Flyers scored five straight goals in a 6-3 win over the struggling Sabres.
It was an entertaining game, a huge relief, and a much-needed win. However, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
Danny Briere and Claude Giroux carried the team on their backs through most of the game. Nodl’s goal was merely an empty-netter, handed to him as a gift from Blair Betts. Zherdev shot his goal into a basically empty net, as Danny Briere pulled Ryan Miller out of position. Powe took yet another bad penalty. Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk were invisible.
The Flyers got comfortable and took their foot off the gas in the third period. The Sabres rallied back but were hindered by a waved-off goal and a couple of fortuitously hit posts. While the Flyers could have easily won this game 7-1, they were merely a miscue or two away from letting another game slip through their fingers.
Although the Flyers did not put in a 60 minute effort last night, the good news is that they worked hard and created their own luck, including Claude Giroux’s goal which was directed in off of Mike Grier’s skate. They put in a significantly better effort into last night’s game than they did against Columbus on Monday night. This is still a work in progress, though, and the team needs to focus on learning lessons from the mistakes they made last night rather than celebrating the victory.
- The Flyers power play jumped from 8.6% to 15% last night. They are now 18th in the league.
- Carter now has six points on the season, which places him third on the team behind Briere and Giroux. His three goals add up to the third best too, once again behind Briere and Giroux.
- If Briere can stay healthy, he is currently on pace for a 55 goal season, which would be the second best of his career, behind the 63 goals he scored as a Sabre in ’07.
- Though the defense has been a stabling force for this team, no defenders have scored yet. This is likely because of all of the time spent on the penalty kill. Matt Carle leads the team with three points.
- Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen are the only minus defenders, both at -3 on the season.
- James van Riemsdyk, who played like a man on a mission in the preseason and through the first couple of games of the regular season, appears frustrated by his lack of production and has been invisible recently. It might be time to give him a night off just so he can hit the reset button.
- Carter aside, the team continues to struggle with face offs. Briere has improved to a lowly 41.7%. The team is 25th in the league, at 47.4% in the dot.
- Andreas Nodl actually saw some time on the penalty kill, playing 1:30 shorthanded. Finally!