Just a few seemingly random thoughts, as I checked that my heart was still beating
, after Niitty made that highlight reel right pad save on Ilya Kovalchuk. Pure magic.
#22 - Mike Knuble owes Niitty a drink tonight for hanging him out to dry by leaving a 50 goal scorer alone in the slot with less than 10 seconds remaining on the clock. Mike, you almost won "Goat of the Night" going away.
Thank you Antero Niittymaki - I still don't know how you got across to make that save - and neither does Kovalchuk (who still might be lying on the Wachovia ice)
Thank god for the schedule makers who decided that Atlanta should play the Flyers on this given night - I love you all.
The Must List:
* Antero Niittymaki must
start the next game versus the Blueshirts on Friday night.
* The Flyers must
continue to put the puck on net - 49 shots goes a long way towards keeping the pressure on the opposition.
* Flyers must
have at least
a two goal lead heading into the final two minutes of any third period.
* Jeff Carter must
continue to fire the puck at the net from any and all angle - he is in a zone and seems to be in the right place at the right time.
* Mike Richards must
stay in the lineup at all costs - he is the unquestioned heart and soul of this team.
* Braydon Coburn is playing like a seasoned veteren and, as Brian Engblom correctly stated, he and Kimmo Timonen must
stay on the ice as much as possible. They are the key to the defense.
* Ryan Parent played a HUGE game tonight and must
continue to get more ice time as the sprint to the playoffs continues.
* Vinny Prospal must
try to be resigned by the Flyers. His give and go tonight was exactly what was lacking since the season ending injury to Simone Gagne. A huge pickup for Homer.
* On that note, Briere, Lupul and Prospal must
stay healthy and together - they have the chance to gain some chemistry in the next weeks and could be a very dangerous line in the playoffs.
* Joffrey Lupul (they still cannot keep from calling him "Jeffrey"
) had a huge game and showed us that he is really back, as he played a solid game and came up with two assists on the night. He must
play well on that first line if the Flyers can make a run at this thing.
* As mentioned in past blogs, the Flyers' forwards must
do a better, more conscious job at defensive coverage in their own zone. Mike Knuble almost cost them a point. 7 times out of 10, Kovalchuk scores that goal.
* The Flyers must
play with an edge. The Flyers play better when they take the body, play hard along the walls and wear teams down. If they can do this on a regular basis - they can exploit their transition game.
* The Flyers must find a way to beat the teams in the Atlantic that have given them fits - Rangers, Devils and Penguins. The Washington Capitals are the team breathing down the O&B's neck and this is no time to let up.
Hard Road Ahead:
The Caps' remaining schedule is as follows: Chicago, Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Florida.
The Flyers schedule is: NY Rangers, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Pittsburgh.
Definite advantage to Washington.
Think good thoughts for the Flyers/Rangers game...
Thanks for reading...