The Hurricanes are 1-3-3 on home ice, with their only win coming against the Flyers on Oct. 6. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
Ray Emery is congratulated by Nick Grossmann after making 14 saves in a shutout win for the Flyers over the Devils. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
24 hours earlier, Ray Emery was viewed in a negative light. There weren't too many things the Flyers did on the positive side on Saturday. Emery was one of the positives.
The Flyers defense, with the presence of Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros in place of Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson, limited the New Jersey Devils to just 14 shots, all stopped by Emery in a 1-0 shutout win on Saturday night at Prudential Center.
All the Flyers needed offensively was a goal at 14:29 of the first period by Brayden Schenn, his third of the season. It was also his first career goal against the Devils.
The two teams combined for just 35 shots total, the Flyers leading the way with 21. Still, it was a defensive struggle and the Flyers won that war, allowing them to improve to 4-9-0 on the season.
It was also a cleaner game from the Flyers. For the first time in 2009, they did not have a recorded giveaway.
They also took just five minor penalties, contrary to the penalty-filled donnybrook against the Washington Capitals on Friday.
So there were the positives, strong goaltending, good defense and good puck control - managing to limit the Devils chances.
The negatives were glaring as well. Only one goal, again, was all the Flyers managed offensively. They have just 21 goals in 13 games this season.
The Flyers are on the road on Tuesday before heading home to face the Devils on Thursday night from Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux will be joined by Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell on the top line after injuries sustained in Friday's loss by Steve Downie and Vincent Lecavalier. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
Following the embarrassment that resulted in a 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals and the line brawl that furthered the embarrassment, the Flyers must return to the ice.
This time, they travel to New Jersey to face the Devils.
They do so short-handed, as Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie both suffered injuries as a result of the multiple altercations in Friday's loss.
The Flyers have called up Tye McGinn from the Phantoms and will likely use Jay Rosehill to replace another piece of the lineup.
With a total lack of scoring, the object is simple. Forget last night and forget the quotes. Somebody needs to step, regardless of whether or not the Flyers have a chance this season. It is for people like the captain Claude Giroux, veterans like Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds or defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit.
Play with some urgency and act like you actually want to be there, the opposite of last night. There is no real indication who will start in goal. Steve Mason was pulled early but still played a majority of the game after Ray Emery exited with a game misconduct.
The Devils are struggling as well to the tune of a 3-5-4 record. They will also be without Travis Zajac tonight. Former Flyer Jaromir Jagr joins Patrik Elias as well as highly touted draft pick Andrei Loktionov. Adam Henrique, Stephen Gionta and Dainius Zubrus are also key forwards.
Defensively, the Devils are led by Adam Larsson. The Devils also take a hit defensively with Bryce Salvador out with injury, as is backup goalie Cory Schneider.
In goal, the Devils will likely go with Martin Brodeur. Brodeur has a 2-2-2 record with a 2.94 GAA and .879 save percentage.
Flyers Scratches: Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson, Steve Downie, Vincent Lecavalier
Flyers Projected Lineup
Line 1: Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Michael Raffl-Brayden Schenn-Tye McGinn
Line 4: Zac Rinaldo-Adam Hall-Jay Rosehill
D-Pair 1: Kimmo Timonen-Andrej Meszaros
D-Pair 2: Braydon Coburn-Nick Grossmann
D-Pair 3: Mark Streit-Luke Schenn
Goalie: Ray Emery
Radio: 93.3 WMMR
Technorati Tags: Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson, Andrei Loktionov, Bryce Salvador, Claude Giroux, Cory Schneider, Dainius Zubrus, Jaromir Jagr, Jay Rosehill, Kimmo Timonen, Mark Streit, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Philadelphia Flyers, Ray Emery, Scott Hartnell, Stephen Gionta, Steve Downie, Steve Mason, Travis Zajac, Tye McGinn, Vincent Lecavalier, Wayne Simmonds
Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby as part of a line brawl during the Flyers 7-0 loss to the Capitals on Friday. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
The second period between the Flyers and Capitals seemed to be rock bottom for the struggling Flyers. A 1-0 deficit grew to a 6-0 in 20 minutes.
The entire franchise’s current state came to the forefront of the game from the second intermission through the final horn. During the second intermission, fans called for Paul Holmgren’s head, chanting “fire Holmgren!” Holmgren himself made an appearance in the Flyers locker room in between periods.
That is what likely sparked the events that showed the Flyers classic, worn-out playing style.
In the midst of Washington’s five-goal second period, the Flyers pulled Steve Mason for Ray Emery. When the game was now up to 7-0, with the scoring complete, an altercation between Wayne Simmonds and Tom Wilson broke out.
It seemed to be your traditional fight. Simmonds delivered a slightly late hit along the boards and Wilson took exception. In a matter of seconds, it was anything but normal.
Ray Emery charged down the ice and challenged Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. Holtby wouldn’t commit to a fight with Emery, but Emery persisted and grabbed hold of the goalie, throwing punches to the back of his head. While that happened, three more fights started in the line brawl. One between Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Oleksy ended with Lecavalier being assessed a game misconduct.
A second-period fight between Steve Downie and Aaron Volpatti ended with Downie suffering a concussion. The fight between Lecavalier and Oleksy ended with Lecavalier losing some teeth and also being ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Devils.
Before breaking down the brawl itself, it’s worth a look at what led to it in the first place.
How did the Capitals get a 7-0 lead and eventually win? The Flyers turned the puck over at will. After a fairly dominant first period that ended with Washington’s first goal, the Flyers lost all energy. If you didn’t know any better, Emery and Mason might as well have been the only players on the ice for the Flyers against five Capitals shooting at will.
The lack of energy led to a restless crowd. Many left between the second and third. The ones that stayed chanted for Holmgren’s release as Flyers GM. With frustration mounting in the stands and on the ice, the Flyers resorted to their culture.
The Flyers are honoring the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Stanley Cup Champions at the Flyers Wives Carnival this season. 40 years ago, the culture that Ed Snider defended after three games this season on the day Peter Laviolette was fired, helped the Flyers win a Stanley Cup.
40 years later, and 39 since the Flyers last Stanley Cup title, that culture is employed in the general manager, the head coach and a host of other positions within the franchise. It is the same philosophy on the ice too. If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up.
The Flyers have two things to be embarrassed about. The 7-0 loss was the worst shutout loss in franchise history since 1994. The response, fully approved by Holmgren, was also embarrassing.
There are line brawls that are fully warranted. When a team creates havoc on the ice, the way the Flyers did, teams like the Capitals have no choice but to respond. If you need a reference to a warranted line brawls, look at Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As Sidney Crosby, Craig Adams and James Neal enticed and instigated the Flyers, they had to respond. The Penguins response to a lopsided loss that day was the same as the Flyers was on Friday.
Fans will always cheer for it. In Friday’s case, it was probably the only moment in the game when the Flyers showed real energy and the only thing to get the crowd involved. But if that is the culture, that is embarrassing.
The response of the Flyers frustration completely encompasses what the culture is. Since 2004, when the NHL received a makeover in the wake of the lockout, the game has been about speed combined with skill. You can’t play a stationary game. You can’t out-hit and win the game on physicality alone, especially in Broad Street Bullies fashion. That’s old school.
The Flyers have always failed to adjust to the new school mentality. You can’t win by beating up the opponent. You have to be better in all aspects.
The NHL cracked down on the physical game in the NHL. You can still hit. You can still fight. But it still isn’t embraced, just as the NHL frowned upon the Flyers success in the 70s. And when things aren’t going your way, that response is no longer acceptable.
For the Flyers to resort to that because it’s their culture is asinine. It classifies the team as goons – but then again, when your GM and head coach played the same way, why would you expect things to change?
Moreso, Holmgren said that Downie was brought in to “stir the pot” while helping boost the offense. If stirring the pot meant causing mass riot, then the Flyers succeeded.
To make matters worse, by stirring the pot and resorting to such a response, two players are left injured and out for the foreseeable future at the very least. Downie ended up on a stretcher and en route to the hospital within a half hour of the game ending.
Forget about this season. That reaction shows immaturity, lack of heart and lack of class. At this point, talk is cheap. Ignore the quotes about how unacceptable it really is. It’s not going to change any time soon.
So as the Flyers re-enacted "Slapshot" on the ice and chants of “fire Holmgren” bellowed from the stands, the Flyers culture was on full display. It proved once and for all that the Flyers are not only the farthest thing from a contending team, they are a franchise in disarray because of what their culture dictates.
Technorati Tags: Aaron Volpatti. Sidney Crosby, Braden Holtby, Craig Adams, Ed Snider, James Neal, Paul Holmgren, Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia Flyers, Ray Emery, Steve Downie, Steve Mason, Steve Oleksy, Tom Wilson, Vincent Lecavalier, Washington Capitals, Wayne Simmonds
Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby in the third period of Friday's loss to Washington. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
Joel Ward scored a hat trick Friday, while five other Capitals recorded multiple points as the Capitals blanked the Flyers 7-0 in a game largely shadowed by a third-period line brawl.
The Orange and Black held control of the game throughout its first 15 minutes, holding Washington without a shot on goal. But with 2:31 on the clock in the first, a Nicklas Backstrom slap shot from the faceoff circle made it a 1-0 game -- Washington's second shot on net.
“We played a good first period, and then we just weren’t focused,” captain Claude Giroux said. “We just didn’t play our game.”
The Capitals carried the momentum into the second period, as Ward, Jason Chimera and Backstrom all scored within the period's first four minutes to make it a 4-0 game, chasing starter Steve Mason out of the net in favor of Ray Emery. Two more goals by Ward and Troy Brouwer put the game out of reach, with the Wells Fargo Center crowd expressing their thoughts of GM Paul Holmgren with chants of "Paul Must Go" and "Fire Holmgren."
“I can’t blame the fans – we’re as rustrated as they are,” Holmgren said. “If I was sitting in the stands, I’m not sure I’d be chanting, but I might be thinking the same thing.”
Holmgren addressed the team in the locker room during the second intermission; however, no comment was available as to what was said.
Ward sealed his hat trick 5:24 into the third period, and seven seconds later came the aforementioned brawl. Two hits by Wayne Simmonds on Steve Oleksy and Tom Wilson set the stage for the opening fight. Wilson, taking exception to Simmonds’ hits, dropped the gloves.
As Simmonds and Wilson tangled up, Ray Emery dashed down the length of the ice in pursuit of Braden Holtby, who was less-than-willing to go. That did not stop Emery from his first fight since 2007.
“He didn’t want to fight; I said basically ‘protect yourself,’” Emery said. “He didn’t have much of a choice.
Brayden Schenn tangled up with Alexander Urbom, and both received game misconduct penalties in addition to their five minute majors. Vinny Lecavalier and Oleksy were handed similar rulings, with Lecavalier suffering a facial injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s game.
“When you’re getting slapped around like that, it’s a response,” Holmgren said. “Do I have an issue with it? Probably not. It’s a response.”
Lecavalier was not the only Flyer to leave the game after a fight - Steve Downie left after sustaining a concussion against Aaron Volpatti in the second period, and was ambulanced to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to undergo further testing.
The loss drops the Flyers to 3-9 on the season, with their next game being Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J. Coach Craig Berube insists the team forget about Friday’s loss and take their frustration out on the Devils.
“Everybody’s been involved in these games before, they’re not fun obviously,” Berube said. “But you can’t sit there and dwell on it – you gotta go play a game tomorrow.”