The Price of a Goal Is Too High
I realize how cheesy that title is, believe me, but it was the feeling I got throughout the whole 60 minutes last night.
Even though the Philadelphia Flyers managed to get off 41-shots, Montreal net tender Carey Price stopped them all. Each and every single one of them.
It was the Carey Price show all evening long.
The Canadiens blueline and Price worked together effectively stopping chances and shots when they mattered the most. No one in Orange had a bad game, per say, but Montreal just had a better night defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, 3 - 0.
It was the first time the Flyers were shutout this 2010-11 season.
* * *
If you watched last night's tilt, you were subjected to three unbearable things;
We had to watch the game on Versus.
When the NHL schedule is announced I immediately check for which of our games will be broadcasted by that abortion of a station. As the game went on and on, interrupted by the same boring commercials every two minutes, viewers had to deal with College Basketball ads that would pop up on the bottoms of their television screens and remain there for (what I counted at one point) fifteen or so seconds.
These ads were not only painstakingly humongous, but Versus has the knack for sliding them up there every time the play is directly behind them. There hasn't been ONE SINGLE game on Versus I haven't screamed, "GET THAT THE F*CK OFF THE SCREEN!!!!" And being down 1 - 0, then 2 - 0, then 3 - 0 certainly didn't help my blatant anger issue.
Aside from those nasty ads, we were compelled to listen to two schmuck sportscasters who - for 60 minutes - take turns verbally groping Carey Price's jock strap and the recent success of the Montreal Canadiens.
I cannot wait until the contract between the NHL and Versus is up and ESPN gets another try at broadcasting games.
Next, the Montreal attendance.
I actually gave the Canadiens fans their props. From the puck drop to the very end, they were loud. And that's an understatement.
Sitting from my couch I could tell it was difficult to perform under all the Boo Birds, the OLE chants, and the cheers that came in waves of eardrum melting unison every time a Flyer was hit.
It's great watching a hockey tilt where the fans get into it. But the sea of red in the stands wasn't what bothered me;
All season long I have complained about how embarrassingly quiet the Flyers hometown crowd has been. Not once have we even matched the intensity of The Belle Centre from last night. The noise from my speakers alone could wake a corpse.
The decibels from that arena made me furious. Not because I loathe Canadien fans, but because Philadelphia has a history of being one of the most ruthless hockey crowds in the league, and compared to the Habs attendance yesterday....Wells Fargo Center couldn't frighten a Cub Scout away from a box of unsold candy bars.
And lastly, Carey Price.
Price denied more shots than a Muslim in an Irish Pub. Again, all 41 of 'em.
When the Flyers went on the 5 on 3 Power Play midway through the 2nd - and considering their recent scoring success - I figured a bucketed Flyers goal was soon to come. Instead, Carey Price stopped hair-pulling shot after shot, every redirection, tip-in attempts, you name it!
Carey saved 20-shots in the 2nd period alone, which was the most he faced in all three periods.
He's a 23-year old man on a mission. A net tender who at one point was hated and booed by his Montreal fans, but now since Halak's gone and he's become a machine between the pipes, the city has nothing but love for him and he's playing to keep it that way.
* * *
It wasn't that the Flyers played sloppy, looked tired and sluggish from playing a night prior, or even failed to create decent scoring chances that lost them that game last night.
Our Orange Soldiers were able to fire the puck past the defense and at the Montreal goal 41 times and still got shut out -- an occurrence that hasn't happened "since January 26, 1989, when Clint Malarchuk of the Washington Capitals turned aside 42 Flyers shots in a 1-0 win at the Spectrum" ~ CSNPhilly.com
Despite not allowing more than two goals since November 7th, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 of 28 shots on his net and never seemed phased by the 11th exhausting consecutive start he got last night.
Like I said -- nobody had a bad game.
We were simply due for a loss. You cannot get at least a point in every single tilt like we have since October 25th. It's gotta end sometime, and it just SUUUUUUUUUUCKS it had to happen against Montreal.
You want the silver lining? We play them three more times this season. They got their Eastern Conference Finals vengeance by shutting us out in front of their hometown crowd. Good for them. It's not going to happen again.
This was merely a speed bump through an otherwise outstanding beginning of a hockey season.
Now, what worries me is this; the last two times we've had back-to-back match ups we haven't been able to pull out of the second game with a win. We won against the Islanders on November 6th, but then lost the next night against the Caps. We destroyed a great Senators team two nights ago, but then we're shut out the night after.
Both of those back-to-backs end against Division Leaders, though.
Philly's got eleven more back-to-backs on their schedule left, and a handful of them make me nervous.
Dec 14th-15th; Pens then @ Canadiens
Dec 30th-31st; @ Kings then @ Ducks
Jan 13th-14th; @ Bruins then @ Thrashers
Mar 5th-6th; Sabres then @ Rangers
Those are only four instances, yes, but judging by these named opponents' successes and our recent back-to-back record, I have reason to believe odds are against us in gaining two consecutive W's.
And being a part of the division we're in and the caliber of talent we are competing with, every win counts. The Flyers cannot afford to have back-to-back match ups become a liability.
Tomorrow night at 7:00pm, Philadelphia welcomes back the Tampa Bay Lighting, but this time without Simon Gagne. He's still scratched due to his neck injury.
I predict that the Flyers shake the shut out outta their hair and continue forward with their hot streak.
Good night, good hockey.