• August 8, 2022

Roster Adjustments Key for Game Three Success

Aside from Peter Laviolette screaming at his players that they need more “jam,” the Philadelphia Flyers need to address their lack of offensive effort in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils before the puck drops for Game Three.

The team found themselves pressed in the defensive zone for nearly the entirety of the second period in Game Two, and were unable to generate much offense as a result.

I wish I could say that I did research to solve the conundrum of how to address this issue, but Eric T. of Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey raised several points via twitter that would suggest which adjustments could be made to better prepare the team for success in Game Three.

For starters, the top two defensive pairings need to be broken up.

Braydon Coburn had been paired with Kimmo Timonen on the blue line since the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, but Laviolette opted to pair Coburn, a shutdown defenseman, with fellow shutdown defenseman Nicklas Grossman for the 2012 playoffs. The pair worked well against Pittsburgh (before Grossmann received a head injury), but combining the two limits the offense that can be generated from the blue line.

Matt Carle, as many have figured out to this point, is not an elite “shutdown” defenseman, but he is “elite” at moving the play forward. As Eric T. pointed out today, the Flyers were 14-13 in shots at even strength when Carle was on the ice. They were 6-29 in shots at even strength when Coburn was on the ice.

Since the Devils don’t pack as concentrated of an offensive threat as Pittsburgh, there is less need to concentrate specific skill sets at specific lines. Instead, the Flyers should try to balance their blue line usage by reverting back to their former pairing of Coburn and Timonen, another elite puck moving defenseman.

The other adjustment that could be made is moving Eric Wellwood up to Danny Briere’s line. I like the idea of having either James van Riemsdyk or Wayne Simmonds on Danny’s line to provide a big body in front of the net, but the defensive liability of this line was exposed on Tuesday. Wellwood played the least amount of minutes among all forwards, but was phenomenal on the ice at forechecking and applying pressure in the Devils’ zone.

As a defensive-minded forward, Wellwood also provides some added coverage to help make up for any of Briere’s shortcomings.

If Wellwood moved up, JVR would move down to the shutdown line with Max Talbot and Sean Couturier. Simmonds would remain on the “fourth line” with Brayden Schenn and Matt Read.

Laviolette may choose to give his players the benefit of the doubt tomorrow by relying on them to just play better, but the Flyers can’t afford to lose in Newark. In spite of the main stream media unanimously predicting the Devils will lose, they are very capable of winning this series and need to be matched properly if the Flyers are to move on.

For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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  • Good points Josh about the Defensman, but bottom line, this Series is going to be won the play of the Forwards of the Flyers, they are going to have to collectively show up and play better than they did the other evening.. Devils Defense, Goaltending and System of Play are not going to allow a lot of opportunites, so when they get them, they have to cash in..

  • And to add, watching the Rangers & Capitols games, the grind it out, working hard for their opportunites will have to remain as those teams have a similar style as the Devils do Defensively so the Flyers will need to win the battels along the boards, in the corners and out front of the net to be succesfull against either of these Teams too… The Penquins/Flyers Series was one of those up and down types of style of play that we won’t see for the remainder of the Playoffs.. This is now Playoff Hockey that will have to be played for the remainder of the playoffs in order to win the Cup for any Team..

  • I wouldn’t be worried about one game. The Penguins blew us out in game 4 Then grinded us down in game 5. We are going to lose games. This is not a cake walk. I wouldn’t move too much right now. You keep what works. One bad game doesn’t mean break up the team. Maybe move Jager to Danny’s line and Let V play with G. V is like a little smaller but faster version of Jager. Keep the blueline intact. Wait to see how the game is tonight before we cry.

  • No need to panic. That has been the success of the flyers all year. Go flyers.

  • So much for roster changes. Same DF pairings, same heartless effort, same result. LOSS! What do they think, that they just show up & NJ is going to lay down for them? They are sitting back timidly, getting out-worked, out-hussled, out-skated & made to look like a soft team. They are getting cycled to death. Hartnell, Simmonds & Jagr, have been MIA, most of the playoffs, & are virtually useless. If I see Hartnell & Simmonds fall, lose their sticks, or try to handle the puck, through 3 guys, one more time, I’m going to rip the hair out of my freaking head! Laviolette needs to get Lilja the f^#@ out of here! At this point, I’d rather see one of the kids play. I don’t know who is a bigger, slower, lumbering, bag of dung, Coburn, Lilja, Kubina, or Grossman? At least Grossman is competent, hits, & blocks shots. Coburn, is waaay overrated, & the other 2 blow. Kubina hasn’t played, THANK GOD! Get Bourdon in there for Lilja. JJ, any word on Meszaros? Is he still done for the year, or is him skating at practice, a good sign of him possibly being back this series?

  • @ DCar. Agreed Coburn stinks. He is way overrated. Jagr is to slow and looks old and Hartnell looks lost. The Flyers look like they have no idea how to defend the cycle. They look like they have never seen the cycle in thier lives. The Flyers keep the puck in NJ zone for 30 sec and NJ has the puck in the Flyers zone for 30 min. NJ looks like they are on a constant power play. Its almost embarrassing. Dumping it in to NJ zone and chasing isnt working. If it wasnt for Wellwoods speed taking the puck into NJ zone I dont think we would have a shot on goal. IMO.

  • Coburn drives me insane! I still can’t believe Homer resigned him to the contract that he did. He is a big PUSS, who isn’t nearly physical enough for his size, who gives ZERO on the offensive end, & is a horrific decision maker & TO machine. He MUST GO in the off-season, in the inevitable DF rebuild. Homer needs to do a complete overhaul, with the DF core, that he did with our forwards. Lilja, Kubina, Carle & Coburn, all need to go. We have Timonen, Grossman & Meszaros are under contract & Pronger is done & will be LTIR, once the season starts. So in my book, that’s 3 available DF roster spots. If you include Gustaffson, that’s 2. Sign/Trade for Shea Weber. Trade JVR for Schenn. Problem solved.

  • The Flyers had their opportunites in Overtime with 2 Power Play situations and failed to cash in… Jagr is exhausted and SImmons has been very disappointing to me, he can’t win any one on one battles in the corners and behind the net, he can’t stay on his skates and is always falling, just doesn’t do much for me …
    This Series will come down to the Forwards winning it and right now , Hartnell,Talbot,Simmonds,Jagr are just not getting it done .. Briere,Giroux, JVR, Voracheck,Senn are carrying this Team offensively.
    The Flyers were caught 3 Times with sloppy and late line changes late in overtime and the final one finally caught up to them and cost them the game and perhaps the Series.. Bryz made an nice initial save, but like all evening, was not able to control the rebound close to him giving the shooter another wack at it..

  • Paul, Hartnell falls more than Simmonds. Both are oafs. Also, for the life of me, WTF are Hartnell & Simmonds doing on the same PP unit? We already don’t have a offensive DF maning the points, & we have 2 PF basically standing still in front of the net. Put Simmonds on the 2nd unit & Briere with Giroux & Hartnell. Laviotte needs to break up the defensive pairings too.
    Grossman- Carle
    Timonen- Gustaffson
    Bourdon- Coburn

  • I think the Defense is playing as well as it can, the Flyers Forwards have to win this Series for them and right now, they are coming up short and it’s really the Veterans who have been quiet so far (Jagr,Talbot,Hartnell have not really done much) and they will need to step up if Flyers are going to advance in the Playoffs

  • Pman, I think you are right. The forwards are not possessing the puck enough which is putting all of the pressure on the defense. The Devils were living in their offensive zone for the majority of game 2 and huge chunks of game 3. They are winning every battle.

  • Anyone notice who choppy the ice surface was in Jersey last evening, It rarely seemed like the puck was flat all game long and both Goallies were having a difficult time keeping rebounds close to them.. It just appears to be a more bouncy surface with the puck bouncing around on it’s sides quite often… I saw very few crisp passing and receiving by either team as puck always seemed to be rolling on it’s side.. Maybe with the heat of the building, the ICe becomes softer causing a bouncy surface for the puck ..

  • It was bad and it was so bad in the first round series that the coach of the Panthers complained about it. It

  • I hear you Bugsy and I am not making any excuses since all the players on both teams are playing on the same surface,but it just makes playing more of a hit of miss with the bouncing puck instead of the fully utilizing the talents and the skills of the players.. I found much of the game difficult to watch for the passing and shooting was all over the place and pretty shaky on both sides..

  • The Flyers have 1 last Period to change this Series around or it’s all over..
    The Defensive group as a unit has played poorly again (like the Penquins series) Coburn/Carlye have really strggles tonight… Forward Simmons is not an NHL Player, He can’t pass, can’t control the puck and he can’t stay on his Skates and is an embarrasment to watch.. Why he’s even out on the Power Play is a joke… If it wasn’t from Bryz, this Game could be 6-2 after 2 Periods..
    The better all around Team is clearly showing as this Series goes deeper and it’s the NJ Devils by far,,,

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