[EDITOR’S NOTE: This was written as a post-game article after covering the Flyers game for WRDV Radio.]
The Flyers hung around against the Bruins, which is a good sign for how far they’ve come as a team. They outplayed the Bruins for long stretches of the game and, if the Bruins didn’t have Tuukka Rask stopping everything that was thrown his way, it could’ve been a very different outcome. While hanging around with a team that was in the Stanley Cup Final last year is a moral victory for the Flyers, a moral victory doesn’t make you feel any better. Matt Niskanen said it best in his post-game presser: “It’s two tight-checking teams on the ice. So there’s not a lot of free ice. That’s what the playoffs are like.” The Flyers look like they’re ready for the playoffs.
I want to reiterate the game Rask had. Jeez, oh, man. Alain Vigneault, when asked about Rask, said “He’s one of the reasons they won the game … We couldn’t get anything past him.” Laughton also said, “He made a couple huge saves back door there in the third and played a really good hockey game.” The Flyers had their chances but Rask had every answer. He was easily the first star of the night.
Shayne Gostisbehere was back in the lineup and, for a lot of the game, looked like the Gostisbehere that everyone fell in love with during his rookie season. He’s skating much better than he was before, which confirms that he came back entirely too early from that knee injury. It makes everyone on the “trade Ghost for a good deal” train, including me, seem a little silly right now. Vigneault also didn’t shy away from using him, slotting him right back into the second power-play unit, and giving him 16:13 in ice time. For comparison, Robert Hagg played 13:41 tonight. In Vigneault’s post-game interview, he said “I thought he played really well. That’s a really tough position to put someone in the hasn’t played in a while. I thought his energy level, I thought his execution, his battle level, was really good.” If Ghost keeps up this play, and he starts building some confidence, the Flyers will have an interesting decision to make when Myers is healthy again.
Coronavirus infected the post-game interviews and everyone was asked about their thoughts on the NHL’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and also what they thought about the fan turnout at these home games in the midst of the outbreak. Vigneault said “Flyers fans are like us. They’re excited. They want the team to do well. They showed their support tonight throughout the game.” Niskanen said, “I haven’t thought about it a ton.” Hart said, “I don’t think we really care about the Coronavirus.” And Ghost chimed in after Hart’s response, regarding the fans showing up to games, “It’s Philly, bro.”
I had a tweet from Thursday go viral this weekend, which I later tried to clarify. That clarification got me nowhere. So thanks to everyone who laughed at it, or provided some names I missed, or think I’m the worst thing to happen since not covering your mouth to sneeze. It’s nice to know that even though I’ve only covered a few games as a credentialed reporter, I’m generating the level of disdain the longtime beat writers get.