One to watch: Flyers vs Rangers Preview

claude

Tonight’s game at the Garden between the Flyers and the Rangers is a story of two teams that have rebounded from adversity to sit a point apart from a playoff place. It will be the first time the Flyers have been to the Garden this season.

Both teams have seven wins in there last ten (Philadelphia 7-3-0; New York 7-2-1) and will be looking to push on.

The Flyers have won 5 out of their past 6 road games but tend to struggle at the Garden. Nevertheless, the Flyers won the first meeting this season in a heated affair, beating the Rangers 2-1 Philly behind a stellar 30-save performance from Steve Mason.

With his two assists on Saturday, Claude Giroux now has 21 points in his past 15 games. He will need to fire up the Flyers for arguably their most important game of the season so far.

The Rangers powerplay is red hot at 6th in the NHL after a slow start. The Flyers on the other hand have killed off 22 consecutive penalties over the last seven games.

In a high stakes game The Flyers could move back into second place with a win of any kind against New York if the Capitals loss against Buffalo or if the Flyers take the game to OT

The Rangers could to rise from fourth to second and back into a playoff space.

Simmonds has recorded at least one point in 10 of his last 12 games and looked back to his best on the PP. He certainly was not happy with the Flyers defensive display against Tampa last night.

“I think we played like garbage defensively,” Simmonds said. “I thought we had all the chances in the world offensively, we were clicking. We just have to get that defensive game back tight. We have to get it tight going again.”

I am betting on a low scoring tight checking game tonight which could swing the momentum of the Metropolitan division. OT anyone?

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Flyers need consistency on six game road trip

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The Philadelphia Flyers will need to use their excellent home form as a catalyst to being more consistent on the road.

Nine straight home wins in a row has helped the Flyers into the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. In order to stay there they will have to be more consistent on the road, starting with Edmonton tonight.

Craig Berube understands the importance of the Flyers finding some consistency on the road. From NHL.COM;

“On the road we tend to not fall asleep but not push the issue enough at certain times,”

“And we end up letting our guard down a bit.”

“We need to be a .500-or-better team on the road,”

If we take a look at the six games the Flyers will play on this road trip they need to win three from six to meet Berube’s minimum expectation for the team.

Personally out of the six games Edmonton, Calgary and New Jersey seem the three to target, with Vancouver, Colorado and Phoenix also to play. I believe all six games are winnable and although it would be a big ask to win all six, the Flyers should win at least three.

No games will be easy and the Flyers need to find a way to make them hard to beat outside of the Wells Fargo. Edmonton have won their last two games against Winnipeg and Calgary, snapping a six game loosing streak.

If they can take the home form to the road then the Flyers can help establish themselves in a playoff spot.

What the fans would like to see is their team turn up for all three periods each game. A lack of concentration or effort on the road is not good enough to get you into the playoffs. Let’s hope that the Flyers have come to understand that too!

Trade Rumor: Isles & Flyers eye Pacioretty

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Pacioretty on his way out of Montreal?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post has mentioned a trade rumour that has certainly ruffled a few feathers.

“We’re told the Islanders and Flyers are taking serious runs at Pacioretty, who has a club-friendly contract worth $4.5 million per that runs through 2018-19, but Montreal GM Marc Bergevin isn’t prone to dealing him in the East — if he’s willing to deal him at all after the roster freeze melts after Friday night’s games.”

Pacioretty would obviously be a big asset on either team, which leads to the question why trade him? If Montreal is to trade him it will have to be for a significant return.

The Islanders don’t seem a great fit after trading their 1st rounder to acquire Thomas Vanek. I do not think the Islanders make this move unless it is a cheap option, which it won’t be!

The Flyers would want to build a deal around Hartnell or Simmonds. Montreal fans would be looking for either B.Schenn or Couturier in any return deal.

Pacioretty is the scoring winger the Flyers could do with on their top line with Giroux. However, the Flyers are not Pacioretty away from a Stanley Cup. They should be looking to keep their young players and rebuild through the draft.

This trade is not a good fit and I can not see it happening.

A Krug powerplay

The answer to the Bruins power play woes?

The answer to the Bruins power play woes?

The last four years of the Bruins power play have been frustrating to watch. It has been nearly as frustrating as opening up your favorite hockey blog to see what is going on, only to be bombarded with story after story about Sidney Crosby…

But now it seems that an unlikely face is about to shake up one of the worst power play units in the NHL. Torey Krug has been playing the quarterback role on the first unit with David Kreji who in a video for NHL.COM said

“Every decision is the right decision. He shoots the puck when he has to, he passes the puck when he has to and it’s just fun to play with him.”

Hearing such high praise from such an influential player in Boston must just add to the confidence of Krug, who looks like he has been skating in the NHL for years.

Krug himself added that he is having an amazing time and is enjoying every aspect of the power play

“We have a lot of different skill sets on the power play. Whether it’s Krej with vision and his skill, Iggy’s one-timer, Looch’s ability to shoot the puck and to battle down low, and obviously Z can do all of that. There are a lot of different players on the power play but we’re having a lot of fun with it, moving the puck around and always trying to get better.”

Krug has been tipped for a possible Calder Trophy but with the likes of Seth Jones and Thomas Hertl stepping up Krug will have a battle on his hands. The Bruins have made two Stanley Cup Finals in the last three years with a lackluster power play. With a power play firing on all cylinders with a rookie defenseman who has taken to ice like a polar bear, the Bruins might be on their way to another Stanley Cup Final!

 

Monahan staking his claim as Flames sink Habs 3-2

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Jarome Iginla who? Calgary have been impressive as a team.

18 year old Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames beat the Montreal Canadians 3-2 last night.

Monahan is staking his claim not to go back to the OHL past his 9 game limit. He certainly improved his chances of sticking around last night.

Speaking to NHL.COM Monahan has a very mature and proffesional approach that has not gone unnoticed by his coach Bob Hartley.

“I think just to continue to be a good pro, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now, the little things on the ice and off the ice and just be an everyday pro,” Monahan said.

He has the confidence of coach Bob Hartley.

“I just, sometimes, pinch myself wondering if I need to check his birth certificate,” Hartley said. “The poise that he’s showing for an 18-year-old kid … he’s having fun. He’s bringing passion, he’s bringing excitement and he’s learning. He’s a pretty special kid.”

It’s great to see a young player come straight into the team and have a significant impact, especially when they are an exciting playmaker. I for one will be watching his progress and see whether he can maintain the form needed to stay with the Flames.

The Habs will bounce back and cut out the mistakes from last nights game. A few defensive errors cost them which will be worked on in practice. It’s a long season and only just underway, but it’s great to see some young talent shinning through already.

Mason gets Berube’s Flyers off to a winning start

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Steve Mason made 33 saves to lead the Flyers to victory

Steve Mason made 33 stops to help secure the Flyers first win of the season against the Florida Panthers 2-1.

It wasn’t the prettiest of games and neither of the Flyers goals are going to win goal of the season, but a win is a win!

The main reason for that win was the seller play of Steve Mason in net for the Flyers and the unfortunate play of Tim Thomas in the Florida net.

Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn scored the goals for the Flyers that were virtually carbon copies of each other. Schenn tapped in a rebound from a wide shot that cannoned off the boards and back into the slot. This appeared to injure Thomas who was unable to prevent the tamest of wrist shots from Braydon Coburn on another odd bounce off the boards.

From a Flyers perspective it was nice to see a bit of luck when things aren’t going your way. This is especially true against Thomas who has dominated in Philly, previously going 8-0.

Claude Giroux continued his dry spell without a point all season and in all honestly didn’t look like scoring, I am still skeptical about playing Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell on the first line with Giroux, who needs a more “technical” linemate to compliment his play. (I will save that for another article)

It’s nice to see Flyers net getting some positive praise rather than the other way around.

So well done Steve Mason!

Cody Franson finally signs; is a one-year contract enough Leafs fans?

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One more year? Franson led all Maple Leafs’ defensemen last season with 29 points.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman Cody Franson have reached agreement in terms for a one-year contract, according to NHL.COM

The deal, is reported to be worth $2 million.

This very much looks like a stop gap contract to me, but it’s better for Franson to be signed up to a one-year contract then no contract. With the salary cap looking to go up next year Franson will be hoping for another good year to earn an improved deal.

What do you think Leafs fans? Chuffed?