Ten random observations from the Flyers' 4-2 win over the Rangers in Game 2 of their first-round series (see Instant Replay).
1. Jason Akeson clearly took his teammates’ advice after his Game 1 gaffe – he pushed his ill-timed double-minor to the back of his mind, and hit the ice with energy Sunday afternoon. Akeson’s line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read started the game, and the rookie had the Flyers’ first two shots of the game as well as his first career NHL playoff goal. Another strong performance in what was just Akeson’s fourth-ever game at this level.
2. Jakub Voracek deserves a lot of credit for the individual effort he put in for his first-period goal that cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1. Displaying strength that he obviously has – but often overlooks in favor of a pass – Voracek pushed past Ryan McDonagh to beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist. It marked the first time in the series the Flyers’ full top line showed up. (Voracek wasn’t on the ice for the Flyers’ lone goal in Game 1.)
3. But … it wasn’t a perfect performance for Voracek. He took a bad penalty late in the first period that killed what had been a growing Flyers momentum, though they were obviously able to recapture control in the second period. Once again the Flyers as a whole struggled with discipline – even after taking a 3-2 lead in the second. If there's one big criticism of the team to be made in, it's that.
4. Though the Flyers were down 2-0 for a while and still trailed 2-1 after the first, they actually tied the number of offensive zone faceoffs they had in Game 1 in Game 2’s first period alone. Of course, they only won one of the six they had in the period.
5. And speaking of period-over-period improvement, the second period, in which the Flyers tied the game and then captured its lead, was the team’s best period of the series so far. They scored two big goals, killed off a huge penalty and moved their feet the entire 20 minutes.
6. We’re all in agreement that Ray Emery wasn’t the cause for the Flyers’ Game 1 loss, right? Steve Mason likely couldn’t have done a better job than the backup netminder did in that game, holding the Rangers to a single goal way longer than he should have. But one way in which the Flyers missed Mason was totally apparent on the Rangers’ first two goals in Game 2: Emery’s lateral movement. That said, Emery was once again very solid Sunday. If Mason is healthy and ready to play Tuesday, the Flyers will have a tough decision to make in net. Yup, it’s not Philly hockey if we’re not talking about goalie drama.
7. Was anyone else less than pleased with the officiating in Game 2? Never mind the Flyers fan-Rangers fan bonding on Twitter over the refereeing – whether or not you agree with some of the calls, none of them or all of them Sunday, there were too many. It seemed like every time the game started to get a flow, the refs would get involved (and some of those times, certainly, they didn’t need to).
8. For the first time since that much-mentioned losing streak at Madison Square Garden began, the Flyers scored three on Lundqvist. That took long enough.
9. The Flyers as a unit had a better outing Sunday than in Game 1, but Braydon Coburn didn’t. He’d had a rough time even before taking a holding penalty in the second period. Coburn was charged with one giveaway, but arguably was guilty of more. Emery absolutely bailed him out on a number of occasions.
10. Random Observation No. 10 is presented without comment: Who would have predicted Luke Schenn of all players would score the game-winner?