Archive for May, 2010

Blackhawks Take Game 1, 6-5

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2010 by flyersfan44

Chicago's Tomas Kopecky scores the winning goal in the third period

Scott Hartnell scores

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was a shootout, with the Flyers and Blackhawks trading goals through the first two periods. Neither team played very well defensively. Flyers’ goalie Michael Leighton, who appeared nervous and fighting the puck early on, was pulled by coach Peter Laviolette in the second period in favor of Brian Boucher. Going into the third tied at five, the game was there for the taking. I commented at the time that if the Flyers play tight defense in the third, they only need to score one goal and could win it. Unfortunately, that’s what Chicago did, with Tomas Kopecky sliding a shot past an out of position Boucher for the only goal of the period. The Hawks controlled much of the play in the third up to that point.

The Flyers will need to play much better defensively to win the series. They cannot get into a run and gun shootout with Chicago. They have to cover well in front, keep the Hawks away from the net and, most importantly, prevent them from getting speed through the neutral zone.

Some positives from Game 1:
* The Flyers were able to put five goals in on Antti Niemi, making him look average. So, they can score on him.
* The Flyers took no penalties in the game, showing discipline and keeping the Hawks off the power play.
* Danny Briere had a goal and three assists, staying hot.
* Scott Harnell continued to play well as he has of late.
* The Flyers held Chicago’s top line of Kane-Towes-Byfuglien off the score sheet.
* The Flyers got goals from third and fourth liners, Blair Betts and Aaron Asham, so the balanced scoring remains.

Some concerns:
* Ryan Parent played only one shift. He was benched after a turnover led to a goal. The Flyers essentially have only five capable defenseman at this point.
* The Blackhawks won 68% of face offs.
* Leighton did not look particularly sharp. I’m not sure that Laviolette should have pulled him. Did this mess with his confidence?
* The Blackhawks were able to create scoring chances from their speed and the Flyers had difficulty containing it.

Stanley Cup Final: Let’s go Flyers!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 by flyersfan44

It’s finally time to get it going. The anticipation has been incredible, and that’s just for a fan – I can’t imagine what it’s like for the players. No prediction this time – don’t want to jinx anything. I will say it will be tough to beat Chicago. They are big and fast, they are strong up front and have some good defensemen who can move the puck well. Really good power play. That being said, although you could argue that the Flyers did not have to beat a great team to get to the finals – the Devils, Bruins, and Canadiens are very good teams but not really quite up to the Blackhawks’ level – if there is a team that can beat Chicago, it may be the Flyers. The Orange and Black are playing really good hockey now, have an edge at forward with three full lines that can score, good penalty killing, and four top defensemen that give them an edge in that category. Also, Coach Laviolette is awesome. If goalie Michael Leighton can keep the magic going, the Flyers can maintain a good penalty kill, and they can get some pucks past Antti Niemi, the Flyers’ veteran experience may be the difference over Chicago’s youngsters. Let’s get it going!

History Will Be Made: Mike Richards

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 by flyersfan44

We’re Flyer’d Up!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 by flyersfan44

My nephew Ed is one of the biggest Flyers fans around. Now he’s gaining notoriety. This is his picture from the Philadelphia Inquirer as he was celebrating the Flyers Eastern Conference championship on Monday night at the intersection of Frankford and Cottman in Northeast Philly.

My other nephew, Brian, has put together a video documenting the Flyers’ improbable run to the Finals. Check out the comments section from the post entitled “We’re Going to the Finals!”

History Will Be Made

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 by flyersfan44

Take a look at the video for the NHL Playoffs “History Will Be Made” series featuring the Flyers’ historic comeback against the Bruins. Also, check out the comments in the previous post for a great video made by my nephew documenting the Flyers’ amazing run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

We’re Going to the Finals! Flyers Defeat Canadiens, Win Eastern Conference

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2010 by flyersfan44

The Celebration!

Mike Richards accepts the Prince of Wales Trophy

Mike Richards scores his first period short-handed goal

The sign captures it all!

The Flyers continued their improbable playoff run last night with a 4-2 win over Montreal, defeating the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals and earning their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1997. After giving up an early goal to Montreal, the Flyers stormed back led by captain Mike Richards, who had a goal and two assists, and Jeff Carter, who tallied twice. Holding a 3-1 lead in the third period, Montreal made it close with a goal mid-way through the period. A Flyers’ empty-netter sealed the deal.

Richards played an awesome game. His first period short-handed goal came at the end of one of the best shifts I’ve ever seen in hockey. Richards laid a crushing check that created a turnover in the Flyers’ zone and eventually led to an outlet pass through center which Richards raced to gather in. Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak came out of the net to try to beat Richards to it and defenseman Roman Hamrlik tried to cut Richards off. All three collided and the puck popped out to Richards, who calmly got to his feet and slid the puck into the wide open net. Richards set up Jeff Carter with a great pass from behind the net in the second period, and the Flyers were in control. A Carter empty net goal sealed the win after Richards outraced Tomas Plekanec to the puck near the Habs’ net, got position on him and knocked him off the puck, allowing Carter to pounce on the rebound.

The Flyers will now prepare to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Finals. It will be the Flyers’ eighth appearance in the Cup Finals since their inception in 1967 and their first since 1997. It’s been 35 l-o-n-g years since they last won the Cup in 1975. There is a feeling that this team may be the one to end the drought!

Bleu, BLANK, et Rouge: Flyers Shut Out Canadiens Again

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2010 by flyersfan44

Ville Leino scores for a 2-0 lead.

Claude Giroux beats Jaroslav Halak for a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers have come within one win of the Stanley Cup Finals with a 3-0 shut out of the Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Flyers played another really solid defensive game, putting up a wall around goalie Michael Leighton and limiting Montreal to just 17 shots, most of which were from the perimeter. After a scoreless first period, the Flyers played a superb second, allowing only one shot on goal and scoring two as long outlet passes sent speedy forwards in on Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak. Kimmo Timonen found Claude Giroux at the blue line and he flew past defenseman Josh Georges and put a quick shot from in close over Halak’s shoulder. Later in the period, Chris Pronger made a sensational outlet pass from his defensive circle across ice and right on the stick of Ville Leino in the neutral zone. Leino broke in alone and made a great deke, slipping the puck just past Halak’s pad for a 2-0 lead. Giroux added an empty netter late in the game to seal the win. The Flyers can close it out at home on Monday. Let’s do just that. Understand that the Caps were up 3-1 on the Canadiens in the first round and lost the series. Don’t give Montreal any life and put it away on Monday.

Other observations from Game 4:
This is the first time in Flyers’ history that they have recorded three shut outs in one playoff series.

This is the first time in their 101-year history that the Canadiens were shut out three times in one series.

Jeff Carter and Ian Laperierre returned from injuries and provided a spark for the team. Carter was great on faceoffs as the Flyers won 68% of the draws. Laperriere was his usual defensive force. Both looked good for coming back after long layoffs.

NBC analyst Pierre Maguire reported that there was sand on the runway leading from the Flyers’ dressing room. Several Flyers had skate blade problems early in the game, including Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, and Kimmo Timonen. Some people said the substance on the floor was grains of something larger than sand grains and caused dents in Flyers’ skate blades. If this is true, it’s a shame that the Canadiens have to resort to cheating to try to win the series.