For those of you not familiar with the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania, PECO is the local, faceless electric company owned by a larger, faceless conglomerate known as EXELON. Now that this is clear (?), PECO also happens to be the sponsor of the powerplay at the Wachovia Center. Yes, the powerplay has a sponsor...just work with me.
I apologize for not being able to find a sound clip, but it goes kind of like this: "And now it's time for the Pecooooooooooooooooo Poweplay!" Get it...PECO, Power generation and distribution, powerplay? Someone got a corner office in Marketing for that one.
So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China??
Pull up a chair.
PECO got their advertising money's worth as the Flyers scored on all four goals on powerplay chances. Timonen, Knuble, Lupul and Briere
all connected on special teams, so PECO must be rather pleased with themselves right about now. If you add in the fact that Sergei Gonchar also scored on the PP, then PECO had an obtuse hand in 5 of the 7 goals scored. That ought to be good for a rise in stock prices. Seriously though, the Flyers have not put up 4 powerplay goals since December of 2003. That is pretty powerful...PECO or not.
Interestingly enough, the vaunted Penguins power play is currently ranked no better than 10th in the league. Conversely, the "rebuilding through acquisition and could not have possibly jelled yet" Flyers are ranked 4th best in the NHL at a 23.6% efficiency.
What is even more interesting, is that the 3rd best powerplay is owned by, none other than, the new-look, New York Islanders. The Fishsticks come into town tomorrow night for a first place showdown - Flyers with 20 points and leading the Atlantic and the Isles with 18 points in 3rd place one point behind the Rangers. The Isles have won 7 out of their last 10 contests and come fresh off a 2-1 victory against Marty Brodeur and the Devils.
Not only did the Flyers score all four of their goals on the PECO Powerplay but the Orange and Black remained perfect on home ice. They upped their home winning streak to 5 games and are the only team in hockey without a loss in their own building. Nice to see the Flyers' rink being seen as a tough place to play in once again. Broad Street Bullies? Nah. Bullied at Broad Street? Hell yeah!
As mentioned, the Islanders come to town with a mean streak, skill and solid goaltending. Mr. Satan (Miroslov) has played devilishly recently by scoring three game winners in as many games. The Flyers will be tested and so will their home unbeaten streak. I am excited for this one - I grew up watching the Flyers and Islanders beat the snot out of each other and it is great to see that old rivalry alive and well.
- 4 point night - a goal and three assists. He has been a leader on-ice and it was only a matter of time that his offense came around. Great to see. Nice to see point shots low and in traffic - I am sorry for Nashville, they loss a class act.
- 3 point night with his first goal at the Bank Building. Hope to see this as the reemergence of the player that dominated the first 7 games.
- has gotten off the schnide recently scoring two goals in as many games. I could probably score with Mike Richards centering the line - ok wait...maybe not.
- the Captain has played like one all year. Played in every game, has 22 penalty minutes, 55 blocked shots and 22 hits. He plays the PK, is a monster in the corners and is a solid leader. The Flyers could not have done better.
- won his 9th game vs the Pens and is 2nd in the league in wins. He had only 6 wins all of last year. Marty Biron can backstop my team anytime...where are those doubters who said he was not #1 material? Anyone? Bueller? How's Ryan Miller looking right now? Think Buffalo wants a mulligan on that one? If Mike Richards is #1 MVP, then Biron is 1a and even that is too close to call. He has singlehandedly kept the Flyers in games that allowed the scorers to go out and win the contest.
- Mr. Everything. Tied for the team lead in scoring with 19 points (9g 10a), hasn't missed a game, potted 3 powerplay, 2 shorthanded and 2 game winning goals, leads the team in shots, has two fighting majors and has come a long way to becoming the shutdown center and leader so many had predicted. Mike Richards is playing like a Captain should and has the skills, desire and grit to singlehandedly take over games. Looks like Mr. Richards is no longer trying to do algebra while out there on the ice.
Interesting week ahead...Islanders, Rangers and Devils. All three games with potential playoff implications - yes playoff. These are all 4 point games. Wins against these teams now, might be the difference between playing in the post-season or looking in from the outside with our noses pressed against the glass. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all time...it's gonna be a doosie.
Thanks for reading...