17 April 2014
Tonight the Flyers embark on a quest to win their third Stanley Cup. Their first task in accomplishing that goal is to beat their long time rival the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts are a very hard team to draw in the Quarters and this matchup does not particuarly bode well for the Flyers. New York has the advantage in Goal and on the Blueline, however the ice tilts in Philly's favor on the offensive side. In order for Philly to overcome New York they need to be a disciplined, patient team. That…that usually doesn't happen.
New York is a very quality hockey team. They are capable of going on a deep run in this new playoff format, and are one of the only Eastern Conference teams that matches up well with the Boston Bruins. They have a defensive core that all Flyers fans should be jealous of. They have excellent wingers but not great centers. Rick Nash is an explosive forward who can change the game with his bullheaded rushes and silky hands. The Rangers have a lot of good things, things all Stanley Cup contenders need. They are missing one thing. They do not have the best player on the ice in this series. Not by a long shot.
This series can be summed up nicely: It begins with Giroux. It will end with Giroux.
Those are Philly's chances in this series. As X goes, so goes Philly's offense. He is the main force on special teams and at even strength. The Flyers may need him to steal home ice away with some late game magic. He is certainly capable of doing so. We saw Giroux carry a similar team against he Penguins in 2011. We saw Giroux take a 1-7 hockey team and turn them into a playoff dark horse. We saw Giroux become a top 3 scorer in the league after starting the season what felt like 100 games without a point. This series is a collection of conundrums for the Flyers. To be opportunistic but don't try to force "it". To be careful but not passive. To be aggressive but not take penalties. How Berube arranges his chess pieces and his game by game strategy are a huge item to watch. Via, Frank Seravalli, Berube has already stated that they Flyers will attack NYR defenseman Ryan McDonagh in a peculiar way. We can only wait and see what other type of tactics the Chief has cooked up for this series. I worry about not about the tactic of trying to neutralize the Rangers best defenseman like this, I worry about staying committed to the tactic. If the Rangers score early does this type of strategy get abandoned prematurely?
This will be a Patrick Division battle. I fully expect this series to go 6 or 7 games . If the Flyers can capitalize on special teams and keep their system simple, they will take a huge Penn Station homeless man on the 2 train dump on the Rangers. If the Rangers frustrate the Flyers with stellar goaltending and a tight counter attack, then the Rangers will take a huge Penn Station homeless man on the C train dump on the Flyers.
It''ll be Claude Giroux and the Flyers moving on after this battle is over. I have no doubt. Let's turn this bolg R-rated for a real quick second and give the Rangers a massive Sbarro-loving, MTA riding, booger eating tax riding, no good music venue in the city anymore having, too many Starbucks and wheres the local coffee needing, gentrification all over the place for rich europeans to invest in needing, all the girls never talk to me at bars they are dummies, big dumb overrated city with a terrible hockey team. Fuck the Rangers.
Feels good to be back baby. Let's Go Flyers.
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