One would think that allowing an embarrassing seven goals in a single game already this season would be enough for the 2011-12 Ottawa Senators to start righting the ship. Unfortunately for the Sens, once was apparently not enough, as they dropped a 7-2 stinker against the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice.
My thoughts from tonight’s game:
- Every Flyers forward had a point tonight except for Danny Briere. Seriously.
- The Flyers scored three powerplay goals from Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk out of seven attempts for a 42% conversion rate.
- Matt Read scored his second goal of the year on a ridiculous sharp angle shot early in the first period. Goaltender Alex Auld “cheated” his positioning by crouching lower than he should have to collect a pass, giving Read a small window to fire over his shoulder. Read finished with a four-point night.
- Rookies Sean Couturier and Harry Zolnierczyk, who was recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms to replace a “banged up” Andreas Nodl, both scored their first NHL goals. The team was already winning 5-1 when each added their own tallies to the bloodbath. Zac Rinaldo also had an assist on Z’s goal, earning his first point in the NHL.
- Rinaldo followed his strong, if not attention-grabbing, performance on Saturday with a clean affair tonight. He boldly fought Zenon Konopka, an enforcer outside his class, in the first period. He may have been trying to prove a point to management- that he can keep Jody Shelley’s place on the roster- or he may have just been crazy old Rinaldo. In any event, he stayed out of the penalty box after his fight and played 7:08 of the game, a marked improvement.
- Who wants to bet Shelley gets waived tomorrow?
- Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek appear to be developing some chemistry together, but Briere continues to be the odd man out. If I were Peter Laviolette (keeping in mind that history has shown I’m a terrible armchair coach and general manager), I would switch Claude Giroux and Danny Briere during some practices to see if it could get Jagr and Briere going.
- Defenseman Matt Walker made his season debut in place of Andreas Lilja to stay in game shape. He did not play “poorly,” but he was out of position on the first Senators goal and penalized the Flyers with 6:00 of shorthanded time thanks to high-sticking penalties. He tried to make up for it by getting in two scraps- one with Konopka and one with Chris Neil- but he did not perform well enough to get another look as the 6th defenseman. I feel for the guy, but he already cleared waivers and is eating up $1.7 million. I can seriously envision the Flyers continuously waiving him every time 30 days passes until another team elects to take him or they need the cap space.
- Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 2 of 23 shots for the win. The Senators pressured much more heavily in the second period and the beginning of the third, but Bob was barely tested for half of the game, including three paltry shots in the first period. I’m amazed he didn’t fall asleep in the crease while the Flyers chased Auld.
- Regarding the Senators’ pressure mid-game, the Flyers looked way too complacent. If the Sens weren’t so bad of a hockey team, the score would have been much closer at the final buzzer. Many fans like to remark that last year’s team “played down to teams like Ottawa,” but this team almost fell into the same trap.
- Danny Briere killed it in the face-off circle, winning 77% of his draws. The rest of the team? Not so much. This will be an area the team still needs to address as the season continues.
Tonight’s game was fun to watch, but a more dangerous challenge awaits the Flyers on Thursday. The Washington Capitals are 5-0 this season and have looked as potent as usual. Ilya Bryzgalov will likely be back in net versus Tomas Vokoun.
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