Biggest Takeways from Start of Philadelphia Flyers' 1st-Round Playoff Matchup
After two spirited games, the first-round series between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers is tied at one apiece. There are a number of things to take away from the games in New York from the Flyers' standpoint.
Madison Square Garden had been a bad place for Philadelphia, as it had lost nine in a row to its division rivals before winning 4-2 in Game 2.
But the Flyers should feel pretty good coming back home with the series tied at one. Here are the four biggest takeaways from the start of the series.
Get Shots on the Net
The Flyers are a better team when they are controlling the pace of play and getting sustained offensive pressure. So far, that has not happened enough in this series.
They got off a measly 15 shots in Game 1, which is simply unacceptable. Clearly that was something they wanted to focus on, because they were better in Game 2.
But even though the Flyers got off 25 shots on goal, the Rangers still had 33, and those numbers need to be reversed when the series heads back to Philly.
Claude Giroux is a part of that. He somehow still has not gotten off a shot on goal yet this series. But point men Andrew MacDonald, Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit also all have just one shot on goal, and that needs to change starting in Game 3.
Stop Taking Penalties
After the Flyers essentially (Jason Akeson still played a great game) lost Game 1 on a high-sticking penalty that drew blood and was therefore a four-minute double-minor, penalties were obviously a focal point of Game 2.
But it seems like nobody told the Flyers players that they should probably stop taking so many dumb penalties. I can imagine all Philadelphia fans were screaming at their televisions multiple times throughout the game because of this, and I cannot imagine what Craig Berube said in the locker room.
The refs may have been a little too quick with the whistle, but a team can't take nine penalties in a game and expect to win too many times.
Discipline will be a major factor in the rest of the series for Philadelphia.
It Doesn't Matter Who's in Net
Philadelphia fans should have learned this after their 2010 run to the Stanley Cup, but goalies can be a tricky thing come playoff time.
Ray Emery has played the first two games in place of Steve Mason, and his performances have been nothing but solid. Three of the four goals in Game 1 were not his fault at all, and he came back with a vengeance in Game 2.
Emery was perhaps the Flyers' best player in the Game 2 win, stopping New York's last 29 shots after settling in.
Mason is talented and would be welcomed back with open arms but if Emery gets his share of time, that's fine too.
This Is a Very Winnable Series
All things considered, Philadelphia should be feeling pretty good right now. The Flyers certainly have not played their best hockey, yet they are coming back home tied 1-1 in the series.
Without the one stupid aforementioned penalty halfway through the third period of Game 1, the Flyers could have also won that game.
They've been outshot in both games, have taken awful penalties and are missing their starting goaltender. Yet they are in a good position going back to Philadelphia.
While the Rangers are an admirable foe, they do not seem to be an overly daunting one after the first two games of the series.