There is only one way to describe the first two periods of Game 5 between the Flyers and Rangers: it was a game between boys and men. If you watched, it was clear that the Flyers were the boys. The Flyers played a solid third period, but it was too little too late. A number of reasons lead to the Flyers’ loss, including poor fundamentals, poor effort, and a lack of integrity to their system. While they certainly had an impressive rally towards the end of the game, these fundamental weaknesses that were glaring in the first two periods could not be compensated for.
The Flyers’ poor fundamentals and lack of effort were apparent right from the start and on the power play. Poor passes, lack of movement, and a lack of competition plagued the Flyers constantly. The power play could not get set up due to poor zone entries and weak and easily contestable passes. When they were set up, there was no movement and no desire to get into the dirty areas and win puck battles. Kimmo Timonen looked especially slow on the power play, Giroux couldn’t complete passes, and Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds were too slow and too late when getting towards the boards to contest pucks. The referees quite frankly gave the Flyers some gifts with their calls. The goal that was waved off should have been good, Carl Hagelin should have only been penalized once instead of three times, and the Flyers couldn’t build momentum or capitalize on any of these opportunities or fortunate events.
The Flyers were also not true to their system. The layered, aggressive forecheck was nowhere to be found. The few pucks that were dumped in on McDonagh and Girardi were ill-timed and did not have the necessary support. The Flyers were not physical and were not aggressive. I thought Luke Schenn, Jason Akeson, and Jakub Voracek had solid games, but that was it. The Flyers did not compete until they pulled their goalie with three minutes left, and they were not true to their system.
If the Flyers hope to turn this series around and win two games in a row, they need to compete. It is unbelievable that in the playoffs, the level of competition is the issue. If Lundqvist had an incredible game, or if the Rangers had played great match ups, this would be a whole different discussion. But the effort needs to change. Without the effort, the Flyers cannot hope to making the playoff run that the fans in Philadelphia so desperately desire.
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers