• July 6, 2022

Game Seven Loss a Microcosm for Flyers Season

Rinaldo_Mason_Game7The Philadelphia Flyers staved off elimination from the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals on Tuesday night, providing the home crowd one more opportunity to relish in the possibilities of what this roster could accomplish when they pulled together and played to their strengths.

The 2013-14 NHL season had to end at some point, though, and unsurprisingly the coffers of house money that the team was playing with since late November ran empty at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night in a frustrating 2-1 Game Seven loss to the New York Rangers.

The Flyers battled well with the Rangers in the first period in terms of puck possession, outshooting them until the final few minutes. The shot count belied the lack of urgency that the team played with, however, and Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a goalie you can rely on to chase from the net every night.

A disastrous second period unraveled the Flyers’ chances, as the team either turned the puck over, failed to clear the puck in the defensive zone, or just plain made awful decisions in the defensive zone on every other shift. Braydon Coburn had settled in as one of the more reliable of Flyers defensemen over the course of the regular season, but his play in this series is going to leave a bitter taste behind for many fans.

The timing of the Andrew MacDonald $30 million extension before the playoffs began is not going to win general manager Paul Holmgren much sympathy either.

Rookie Jason Akeson cut the deficit to one goal early in the third period on a somewhat fluky shot, but only his line with Matt Read and Sean Couturier and the top line of Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl really produced any offense during the game. As much fun as it is to cheer on the “Wayne Train,” Simmonds’ line with Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn was largely ineffective.

The fourth line wasn’t terrible, but Zac Rinaldo further cemented his reputation as dead weight for an unnecessary penalty in the first period and for missed coverage on the second Rangers goal. In his defense, Coburn and MacDonald were largely responsible for the poor decision-making that led to a turnover in the first place, but if the team is down a goal in an elimination game, you have to contribute something. If you can’t provide offense and aren’t defensively responsible, “character guy” only goes so far.

Game Seven was effectively a microcosm for the Flyers’ season. The offense was invisible for stretches of the game, the defense made unforgivable mistakes on what should be simple plays, and goaltender Steve Mason played out of his mind.

Mason was the star of this series, even with the Flyers’ loss. His performance between the pipes was nothing short of brilliance, and it’s a shame that the Flyers wasted it when you consider how volatile goaltending as a position can be in the long run. Mason silenced his critics (myself included) over the course of the regular season, and having this series played out on a bigger stage has finally brought to the national media’s attention that Mason isn’t the same punchline you can recycle every time you want to lazily draw conclusions about the Flyers.

The season that began with all the volatility that is associated with a head coach being fired three games in ended with discussions of a Jack Adams nomination for head coach Craig Berube, thrown under the bus by members of the Philadelphia media during his promotion press conference in October because the Flyers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1976.

In spite of what he accomplished during the regular season, though, Berube and the rest of the Flyers organization will have to look back at this series and Game Seven and hopefully learn from some of their coaching decisions.

For one thing, never question playing Erik Gustafsson over a 39 year-old semi-retired defenseman again. He isn’t the holy savior of the blue line, but he is just as reliable in his own end as some of the guys earning (or soon to be earning) five times as much.

Akeson is perhaps the biggest surprise of this series- not in the sense of what he brings to the table, but that he was even invited to the show at all. The Flyers waited until the playoffs essentially to see what he could do, and that is provide playmaking and offensive instincts. He may not be the best fit for the Flyers in the top six based on how he was muscled off the puck somewhat regularly, but he has the talent and intelligence to stick at the NHL level. It’s all about finding the role that fits best.

The Rangers were the better team during the regular season and this series. That the Flyers forced a Game Seven speaks a lot to the talent that is present on this team, but there are still holes to address before this team can bring back the Stanley Cup.

Game Seven, much like this season, left fans frustrated early and hopeful by the end. All one can hope is that the players that remain for next season after the inevitable offseason bloodletting don’t leave Madison Square Garden remotely satisfied.

Also, that the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers succumb to a massive sinkhole below the CONSOL Energy Center. Pick your favorite Western Conference team from here on out- it doesn’t matter which.

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.

Read Previous

Predraft Analysis: Calvin Pryor

Read Next

Predraft Analysis: Stanley Jean-Baptiste

24 Comments

  • “The timing of the Andrew MacDonald $30 million extension before the playoffs began is not going to win general manager Paul Holmgren much sympathy either.” Neither are the contracts given to Streit, & Vincent Lecavalier. Holmgren needs to be canned. There is a lot of dead weight, that need to go from this team. This team is slow, & in need of a deadly sniper. The defense corps, are overpaid, & full of Mastodons, that don’t hit, can’t get the puck to the net, & don’t point goals on the board. Getting rid of Hartnell, Vincent Lecavalier, Braydon Coburn, Grossman, & the Schenn Bros, would be a good way to start the purge. Holmgren needs to be fired for the NMC’s that he’s given alone, let alone the mess of a roster we have. The captaincy needs to be taken from Giroux also. The Flyers have to get out of this recent habit, of giving the best player the “C”. It didn’t work with Richards & Forsberg, & it isn’t working with Giroux. We have to find, a gritty, 2-way veteran, & give it to him, like Pronger, Smith, Hatcher, or Primeau type. They need to do all they can, to get Shea Weber, Yandle, or Pietriangello, this off-season. They also better pray to the Almighty, that Ghost, Moran, & Haag work out, or they’re F^#@ed! Unbelievable, that we finally get a very good young goalie, & the rest of the team stinks it up! Also, asinine, that a rookie in Akeson, that wasn’t even on your season roster, is your best player, all series! SMH……

    • Hate to say again, we will never win another cup, until Snyder either sells the team, or croaks.

      • Embarrassing effort by the flyers. For a good 30-40 minutes part of period 1 through period 2 they had no clue how to pass , it’s like they were 7th graders out there. Had mason not been in net rangers could’ve easily put up 5

    • Hilarious, the whole “take the C away from him” thing always cracks me up.
      Didn’t they do that to Lindros?

      I agree with most of what you said though.
      Hopefully a few of the defensemen the Flyers have drafted in the last few years turn into studs.
      At least we appear to have finally gotten a decent young goalie.

  • To be honest, I believe the Flyers overachieved this Season and had a pretty good Season considering how poorly the Season started out with the Coaching Changes, Question at Goalie and Defense.. I didn’t even think the flyers would make the Post-Season let alone get to a Game 7 in the First Round, so a lot of Positives and experience gained by many young Players… They have some Good Players, Good Team Chemistry and now need to add more Talent along the Blue Line and a Scorer or Two.. I beleive they finished with 6-7 Players with 20 Goals or more which is pretty darn good and shows a lot of balance… but they do need to address a couple of older Players who are on their last legs (Hartnell & LeCavilier, etc)
    On last night’s game, was one of the worst displays of Passing that I have ever seen by Professional NHL players in the 1st 2 Periods.. hell the Flyers couldn’t even enter the Rangers zone on so many occasions on a rush by poor passing,spacing and a lack of ice vision, how many times were they off-sides where they blew some set up opportunities, Power Play still stinks so they have a lot of work to do moving forward, but again I think COahc Berube did a pretty good job with what he had to work with early on and the Team got better and better as a the Season went along, which is all you can ask for as a Fan… and the best thing is that the Flyers appears to have found a solid Goalie in Mason to move forward with .. He made some unbelievable saves last evening and all Series and seems to have the perfect
    personality and attitude to play Goalie for the Flyers…
    How any Fan can really be upset is puzzling, for most had this Flyer Team not even making the Playoffs let along making a deep run, they are just not as talented as the Top Teams in the NHL at this time…
    It’s a bummer they lost, but a lot should be gained by the experience they had as a Team this Season ..

    • “how any fan can really be upset is puzzling”

      no its not paul

      as a fan you have to disgusted with this:

      “On last night’s game, was one of the worst displays of Passing that I have ever seen by Professional NHL players in the 1st 2 Periods.. hell the Flyers couldn’t even enter the Rangers zone on so many occasions on a rush by poor passing,spacing and a lack of ice vision, how many times were they off-sides where they blew some set up opportunities”

      that is elementary stuff that they couldnt execute bro. disgusting, embarrassing and i am pissed about it.

      oh and unfortunately lecavalier isnt going anywhere. he is signed through 2020 and scheduled to make 10 million the next 2 years and 8.5 3 years from now. he isnt movable until 2017-2018. which sucks because he is awful

      • FIRE HOMER

        • its unlikely we can get rid of hartnell either

          • I can say this easily Mhenski for I simply did not have high expectations for the 2014 Flyers Team as I stated all Year long..
            So no, I am not disappointed for they are what, I thought they would be, and they actually exceeded my expectations..
            But I am a realist when it comes to all my favorite Sport Teams..
            If a Team is not very Talented or doesn’t have any legitimate Post-Season chances based on their Competition,etc,etc
            then I have no problem stating so.. I will support them good or bad, but who on here really thought this 2014 Flyer Team was going to be a legitimate Stanly Cup Contender?? Can we be disappointed as Fans in the effort or quality of Play, sure we can..Can we say as Fans, that they suck and this season was a waste.. I guess some could feel that way, but to me, that’s not a very realistic take on where this Franchise is at this time..
            We’ll see what happens this Off-Season, I imagine it will be a pretty quiet one as the Self-Evaluation Process continues by the Flyers Brass, but why they keep signing older Players with Big Contract’s is beyond me and not the way to rebuild the Flyers

  • The make-up of the team is flawed with overrated, overpaid defenseman who can’t handle the puck and too many centers. The Vinny signing wasn’t needed at all and look what he produced? Nothing. MacDonald is a turnover machine. Streit is a decent player but not worth the money he is getting paid. Coburn, Schenn and Grossman are what they are. For those moves alone Homer should be fired, but since Mason has emerged, he will probably be saved.

    They have too many centers and they didn’t do Schenn any favors by continually moving him out to the wing. I liked the idea of moving Raffl up to the top line to make that a speed line. They need another scorer on that line and that is not Hartnell or Simmonds.

    What are they going to do with this team now that Homer has handcuffed them for years at a time by signing guys out of need. They need to make space for Laughton, they need to make a decision on Schenn.

    I agree with DCAR about Giroux. I honestly think that if they go the route of a vet to have the C, then that person is holding that title until Coots takes it in the future. He is the 2 way player that I think will make a very good captain someday.

    What a thing of beauty it was to watch Mason this series. Too bad they wasted it.

    • bugs, great post. I agree 100% Wasted efforts, by a very good young goalie. This crap, with having all these centers (Giroux, Schenn, Vinny, Couturier, Downie, Hall, & Hartnell, & Raffl has played Center in the past; Laughton, & Cousins in the AHL) in the lineup, is asinine. The defense is full of overpaid, untradeable Mastodons. Now, Grossman is getting operated on, & is worthless. I absolutely dread Coburn, & will drive him out of Philly! Streit, McDonald got ridiculous contracts. Not to mention most of the team has NMC’s. Homer needs to be fired, & Snider needs to retire, & sell the team. Eagles 1960, Flyers 1975, & the Sixers 1983. Phillies won’t win again anytime soon, but at least they’ve given us 2 WS in 1980 & 2008, & 3 other appearances in 1983, 1993, & 2009, in my lifetime. Only in Philly! SMH…

      • does nmc mean non movable contracts?

        • mh, means No movement clause.

  • Holmgren out: 15-20 years enough already.

    Berube not the answer either.

    Mason? Si, si, si.

    Simmonds? Si, El Capitano.

    • Simmonds as Captain? Never thought of that one. Kinda like it.

  • Vancouver Canucks Fired Coach John Torretella today after 1 Year on the Job..

  • I didn’t like the Vinny trade then, and I don’t like it now.
    I’ve been tired of Scott Hartnell for years.
    I think Brayden Schenn is an underachiever.

    I like Wayne Simmonds.
    I like Kimmo Timonen, but he’s getting old fast.
    I like Steve Mason and hope he’s the real-deal.

    I really miss Chris Pronger, I never saw a defensman single-handedly raise a team the way he did in 2010.

  • Tough loss yesterday –
    The Flyers played well under Berube, the teams talent wasn’t that good.
    Ed Snider destroyed the franchise with that Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James Van Riemsdyk cross roads choice. How long do the fans have to wait to return to the place they were when he dealt Richards and Carter.

    • Gimme a break with the Richards and Carter garbage. Richards had 1 point in that series. Carter played well, but he didn’t exactly dominate either. That Kings team won on the shoulders of Quick once again.

      I do agree with you on the JVR trade though. I would argue that the other moves that Homer has made has got them in this situation more than the Richards and Carter trades.

  • I hate Sean Couturier, he has no ambition to score a goal -none. He played 7 playoff games and didn’t even get a single point, not even an assist.

  • In regards to the series vs the Rangers I did not expect to win as the Rangers play tight defense and get in front of everything. This is the recipe to beat this Flyers team. I think for all you football first fans on here recognize matchups can sometimes be the end of you and to me this was one. Flyers are offence first and Rangers are pure shot blocking opportunist. I think they are one step up from the trapping Devils from the early 2000 seasons. Had they played Pittsburgh (which they would have under previous formats) I think it would have got their offence going an put the team on a roll, but who knows.
    I really don’t feel this team is not as far off as everyone thinks here. For every bad thing Homer has done he has done something good in my opinion and I think that is why he has survived as long as he has, or maybe he is really Snyder’s son. But I do think it is time to let Hextall take over and put his touch on things. Seems Homer hits a homerun (Carter for Vorchek and Couturier) and strikeout (sign Vinny) next at bat. The team is young and still has not reached its potential. Giroux is fine as the captain although I would have preferred Timonnen to have been the captain until he retires, be it this year or next. The team did have seven 20 goal scorers this year so there is talent. Not sure that we have too many centers as much as I think we don’t have enough guys who can play the wing with speed. The defense does need a stud, Timonnen was but is no longer, would be a great 2nd pairing.
    As some mentioned we are backed into a corner with Vinny (but an injury might explain a bit of frustration with him, i hope it were the case). Really not sure who is going to take him on without giving up the farm to get rid of him. Overall I would like to see Hextall get a crack. Find a stud dman to anchor the corps and find someone to play with Giroux and Vorchek. Also improve the 4th line with size and speed. Atkinson may have earned a spot on the 3rd line.

    The best thing about this off season is we are not really talking about bad goaltending for a change.

  • ****NHL News***
    Carolina Hurricanes Fired Coach Kirk Muller and all of his Coaching Staff, except for Rod Brind’ Amour, as new Hurricanes GM Ron Francis making changes..
    Could the Flyers be interested in the Kirk Muller who played 19 Years in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens & New Jersey Devils and is well respected and liked around the NHL ..

    • Carolina has made one bad decision after another since winning the cup. Giving Andrew Ladd away, over paying money and trade loot for Jordan Staal, disrespecting Cam Ward last season by sending him to the minors. Kirk Muller is lucky to get out of there. Jeff Skinner was a good selection in the draft but ia the whole ice dancing male figure skating the rest of the NHL fans give him and the Hurricanes worth it? With Ron Francis and Jeff Skinner as the faces of the franchise the Hurricanes are the Lady Byng team.

    • Muller for what position with Flyers? 2nd line center? Beurbe is going no where. I can Homer moving to a more senior position and Hextall as the GM, other than that I do not see any coaching/management moves

Comments are closed.