Orange & Black Breakdown
by Marc Siciliano on 03/15/12 at 08:30 PM ET
In their most recent successful contest versus the Devils the other night, the evening concluded with a complete team effort in all facets of the game. It was the type of game that a player doesn’t mind watching again in the film room, because he knows he left it all on the ice. The Flyers gave the Devils a taste of their own medicine, holding them to 17 shots all game and a mere THREE shots in the third period while playing arguably their best game all season. The situation dictated a need for success, and the Flyers came through in spades.
It was the perfect remedy to overcome a disheartening 4-1 defeat at the hands of the same Devils squad just a few nights prior. It was also the type of game that singlehandedly rejuvenates a home crowd that was in dire need of a lift. The result was a raucous atmosphere with it’s aggression focused on the enemy, a rare treat this season in Philadelphia.
Most importantly, it was a big game for the Flyers because they had said it would be a big game before the contest even begun, and they followed through on their mindset with a superior level of play. Rarely this season has it felt like this team has risen to the challenge, but Tuesday night the Flyers gave you no reason to believe they were going to go back on their word.
G: “I got my swagger back” | Lundy: “Truth.”
There was ample reason for each individual in the lineup to step up. Bryzgalov has his shutout streak. The defense is depleted, meaning those in the lineup are being watched with a much keener eye. The offense was (and still somewhat is) also in a funk, and the pressure was there for both the all-stars and secondary scorers to find the back of the net. This time, rather than one aspect of play bringing the other ones down, the adverse happened; a shutout streak of mythical proportions brought this team to a new level of play as they strived to achieve success for their goaltender.
When things aren’t going a goalies way, all eyes seem to be on him regardless of how bad the team is actually playing in front of him. I believe the same sometimes holds true on the opposite end of the spectrum as well.
Don’t get me wrong - this is by no means meant as a stab at Bryz’s superb play as of late. Those of you that read this blog often will know that this streak has been a long time coming, and that I believe his play has really been on the rise for a long time now. When he was taking the fall and the wheels were falling off through January and February, the team was doing him as few favors as he was doing for them. Now he is at the top of his game, and he deserves ample praise - but it has brought the best out of his team as well. By the end of the game on Tuesday, you could tell how important it was to the TEAM to get that shutout.
In my mind, the overall team attitude that resulted from such a win was the best part of the game, and something that can be lethal when built on and emphasized over a stretch of time. The longer they play with this streak, the longer they will be exposed to playing with a high level of confidence and talent, and the more they will be able to believe they are capable of sustaining that level of play versus other elite opponents in a playoff atmosphere.
Gus has looked great for the Flyers
Now, the Flyers are at Nassau Coliseum to take on the New York Islanders. While the Islanders have played them better this season, this still may have looked like a trap game with the Bruins and Penguins looming this weekend if not for Bryzgalov’s shutout streak. Instead, all eyes are surely focused on Long Island tonight.
While the Flyers made strides to get the offense back on track, they need to continue to win the forechecking battle and board battles if they want to continue to truly turn the corner. The Flyers defense has been suffocating as of late, so establishing an early lead would do wonders in maintaining that high level of play and getting right back into the winning flow. Danny Briere was able to break his goal drought with an empty netter and take the monkey off his shoulders on Tuesday, so hopefully he will continue to roll especially when paired with a healthy Jake Voracek.
A streaking goalie has brought out the best in the Flyers and revealed the type of talent that we’ve been catching glimpses of all season. These are unchartered waters for this Flyers team - now they must simply sink or swim.
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!