Well another early summer seems imminent for the Flyers after last night’s loss to the Penguins, which of course implies several things.
A cry for a Bernie-Parent-like goalie.
A cry about the NHL’s daffy officiating.
I’d hate to be those guys. Every time they memorize the rule book, it changes. Every time the fans get accustomed to it, it changes. This causes some friction between the two, especially fans of the team that loses. In case you haven’t noticed.
Take For example Sidney Crosby’s first goal last night, which was allowed to stand even though he went feet first into the net without being pushed. The ruling: Because the puck hit his stick first – while both it and both of Sid’s feet were in the blue – the goal was allowed.
You probably recall that this was once illegal in this league. Now it’s not. Later, with the Flyers at the start of a power play, Mike Richards made a great effort to avoid a defenseman and get to the puck. His skate did or did not clip Marc-Andre Fleury’s skate, but replays showed Fleury in full balance – until he tried to back towards his net. Then he flopped and Richards went off the ice for a trip.
Even later Scott Hartnell went hard and off-balanced on his backhand towards the net, seemingly intent on doing one of two things: Scoring one of those Crosby type goals, or taking out Fleury. He fell, the arm went up, and kapow, just like that, the Flyers had themselves a powerplay.
So this is no wail about the officials having it in for the Flyers. The orange and black had a ton of chances to score in this game, had a ton of power plays, and Fleury was absolutely brilliant. The Flyers put together their best first period of this series and had nothing to show for it. In fact, had it not been for Biron diving to rescue a puck behind him, or Randy Jones thwarting Petr Sykora’s power play shot with a wide open net, the Flyers might have even faced a deficit.
The shots finished 13-12 Pittsburgh in that period, but Fleury had the better saves. He stopped Jeff Carter alone in the slot, and made a skate save on Claude Giroux’s wrister from 12 feet out. Fleury even looked behind on that one, but he got enough of the puck to deaden it under his pads. The Flyers recorded the game’s first three shots. Carter also hit the crossbar in that span.
Carter, who has one goal after four games, has been snakebit. He’s had plenty of chances, had a chance to put Game 3 away early. If such a thing was charted, he may even be on pace to break a record for iron hit in a playoff series.
But that won’t be remembered around here. It will be all about the rules and the calls. Until next season, when there will new rules.
Oh, and getting another goalie.