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Orange & Black Breakdown

Game 41: PHI @ CAR

I said the final stretch of games in 2011 that finished up against the Blackhawks would define this Flyers team.  But rather, the true testament was the home-and-home series with the Senators.  I will explain after the jump…

Carolina Hurricanes (14-22-7 | 35 pts | 14th in East) vs Philadelphia Flyers (24-12-4 | 52 pts | 4th in East)

Instead of picking up an easy two points against the Sens, they are left searching for a true identity of their team as coughing up 2 goal leads in the 3rd period has become the norm.  Since my last write-up, the Flyers are 4-4.  Not a surprise since they have struggled to put a complete 60 minutes of hockey in the books on a consistent basis.  Main reason why:

This is a young team who are growing into veterans over the first half of the season.  As they continue to traverse this long 82 game season while trying to avoid getting seriously injured, they have found short-cuts (for lack of a better term) along the way to preserve themselves for the long haul.  These things we did not see in the outset of the season because most of the players were simply happy to be in the league and were willing to give 100% on a nightly basis without the worries of the repercussions.  Now with the “new car smell” gone, we are seeing an inconsistent group of players looking to get by at times with barely enough effort to earn the 2 points.  Yes, team defense has been a glaring weakness as of late.  Yes, goaltending is at fault as well, but if you minimize chances, then it removes the possibilities for the goalie to screw up (ala Leighton syndrome).  Here’s to hoping Lavvy pushes the right buttons and has them avoid the period by period lulls that we have recently seen from this team.

Lastly, I have one last plea.  Continue with the rookie renaissance and bring up young Gus.  Lilja is an awful defenseman who can’t skate, defend, shoot, pass, or even provide a Shelley-like locker room presence.  Please do what’s right Homer. I’d rather deal with growing pains over complete ineptitude. 

’No-goal Nodl’ had a rather disgustingly awesome mustache

What to expect from the Canes:

No-goal NODL: Our beloved Austrian had a one game upgrade recently to play with Staal.  But much like all his other failed attempts in Philly, they quickly realized he is a FLFL (4th Liner For Life) with his bricks for hands.  Loved his energy, but will love even more if he is shutout against his old team.  (sorry, I’m pining for Bob to get his 1st career shutout tonight)

Brandon Sutter: I’m not going to lie.  I don’t know that much about this team.  It doesn’t help that they don’t have too many standout performers (Skinner and Pitkanen on the shelf).  But he is one of the bright spots that the Flyers will have to look out for because he plays better at home than on the road. He has 12 of his 18 points on the season in the RBC Center.  He is on a 3 game point streak, and has a shocking 4 goals in his past 7 games.  Reason why I say shocking is because he doesn’t shoot all too often as he shoots less than twice a game (1.79 s/game).

Eric Staal: He seems to be shaking off the early season doldrums right as his brother comes back to action for the Rangers.  Coincidence, I think not.  He has 9 points in his last 5 games since the good news circulated through the family.  It also helps that he is now playing with 2 offensive minded players in Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu (each tied for 3rd on team with 23 points on the season) on his line.  He is shaping into a formidable force that could alter the landscape of any game in a flash.

Eric Staal = Silent, but deadly

Keys for the FLYERS tonight:

COOTER: Are we seeing glimpses into Cooter’s brilliance on the offensive side of the ice?  He has started to demonstrate the on-ice awareness to slow the game down in the offensive zone.  It is scary awesome to watch.  Here’s to hoping that something starts to click and he goes on a mini-tear with Read on his wing.  I love his overall awareness on the ice.  He is a threat to pickpocket anyone in the neutral zone because of his huge wingspan as we have seen of late which has turned into offensive zone chances aplenty. 

Giroux:  Are his teammates starting to weigh him down?  This may be a bit early, but it seems like Jagr is struggling to stay healthy and Hartnell is starting to wear down after his string of 3 strong games where he hit everything in sight.  Hartnell’s defense was nowhere to be found in Ottawa leading to the game winning tally.  It may be early, just a think to look out for in the near future.

JvR-Brayden-Wayne (Just Bring the Wood): Could this line take over a game in the near future?  Pure speculation, but I love the makeup of this line.  It screams awesomeness if they find that ever-elusive chemistry with each other.  They all bring a grittiness that is hard to match in a 60 minute match.  They all feed off each other and could provide a constant force for the Flyers in the 2nd half of this season.  This would mean great things for Schenner, who hasn’t had a consistent role on this team all year.

Schenn-sational things to come

My BOLD predictions for tonight:

3-0 Flyers **Knock Knock**
-Giroux retakes the league lead in points with 2 helpers
-Briere scores on his patented wraparound slammer
-Lilja retires


Continue the discussion with us on twitter (@marcs797 and @thevintern), email (theobbreakdown@gmail.com), or in the comments below

Lets Go Flyers!


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About Orange & Black Breakdown

The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.

The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).

So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.

This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!

I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (theobbreakdown@gmail.com) and let’s talk hockey.

Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!