Danny Briere stopped by Henrik Lundqvist

Special teams a major concern for Flyers


On Monday, Flyers owner Ed Snider provided some no-nonsense analysis when asked about his team’s 2-4-0 start to the season.

“We better damn get our special teams straightened out or we’re in trouble,” Snider said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s what it’s all about in today’s game — special teams — because five on five, it’s hard as hell to score nowadays.”

Unfortunately for the Flyers, it was more of the same Tuesday when they damn didn’t get their special teams straightened out against the Rangers.

True, their lone goal in a 2-1 loss came on the power play; however, they failed to convert on a lengthy 5-on-3 man advantage in the second period — a failure that left forward Wayne Simmonds fuming.

“You’re playing a goalie like [Henrik] Lundqvist and only get two shots on a 5-on-3?” said Simmonds. “You’re definitely not going to score. I’m pretty sure we will work on that.

“Our power play — we have to smarten up and convert on our chances. Get our shots through. We’ll figure it out. My guess is we will be working on our power play a little bit for next little while.”

The Flyers’ power play — which features no shortage of offensive firepower — currently ranks 23rd in the NHL, converting at just 13.5 percent. Last year, it finished sixth, at 19.7 percent.

And it’s not just the power play — the penalty kill has been even worse (29th, 67.7 percent). Last night, the Rangers scored the game-winning goal with the man advantage.

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.