Thoughts following Game 1April 18, 2014, by
• I’ll admit, it was really disappointing to see the Flyers strike first after such a dominant chance/possession showing in the first period by the Rangers. Hartnell’s hit on McDonagh that directly lead to McDonald’s goal was the stuff nightmares are made of. Fortunately, the Flyers abandoned the hard, forechecking physicality in favor of stupid stick penalties.
• Philly looked to have a bit of whiplash from the Rangers’ three scoring lines. Clearly, their priority pre-game was to shut down the St. Louis-Stepan-Nash line, but every time they turned their attention there, they got burned by Zuccarello or Richards or Hagelin.
• The first two periods were something of a microcosm of the Rangers season: tantalizing chances, high possession and yet no goals. Ray Emery made some half-decent saves, but it would have been really nice to be up 3-1 in the first or second.
• There really wasn’t a weak link the lineup last night. I thought all three defensive pairs acquitted themselves well, and the forward lines looked balanced and moved the puck exceedingly well.
• On Stepan’s power play goal, the Flyers penalty killers looked cemented in place. What a beauty.
• Man, I don’t know how a team can go so far off the discipline rails as the Flyers did last night. If they can’t get their house in order, this is going to be a short series.
• While not facing much work, Hank did what he had to do to ensure the Flyers didn’t take a cheap lead. You can look at the scoreline and see how few shots he faced and feel that he had an easy night. However, when your team should be leading by a wide margin, it takes a lot of concentration to go long spurts without work.
• That said, I think he has to have that McDonald shot. I understand it went off St. Louis, but the deflection happened almost at the blue line. Plenty of time to react.
• Richards should still be bought out despite his great game.
• Although he also played well, I think with the core of under contract defensemen, Stralman will find a more lucrative payday elsewhere this offseason. Klein has been tremendous.
• Although the shooting percentage normalized over the course of the game, I think the Rangers need to throw some different looks at Emery. He has many weaknesses, and trying some off angle shots and net front presence would help diversify the offense greatly.
• I was on the edge of my seat the last 5 minutes or so of the game hoping they would pot one more so my 5-1 prediction would be spot on.
After an unnaturally long layoff, the series resumes on Easter Sunday at Noon."Thoughts following Game 1",