Archive for April, 2011

Flyers: “zzzzzzzz…Oh, there was a game today?”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2011 by flyersfan44

This team confounds me. How they can come out as dead as they were in today’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals is beyond expalanation. After looking superb and at playoff intensity in Game 7 against Buffalo, you would think they found the level they need to continue to play at. Instead, they started slowly, never really got into the game, and were thoroughly dominated by the Bruins, losing 7-3. They appeared to drop things back a notch or two (or three) and that just can’t happen in the playoffs. Could they get a lead in a game and a series for once instead of having to come from behind? We all know they play better with their backs to the wall, but why? Why can’t they find that desperation and intensity in each game?

Of course, starting goalie Brian Boucher was pulled, so now there will be questions about who’s starting in Game 2. Just stop the carousel and get some stability in net and come back with Boosh. Get the power play untracked – it looked horrible again today and it will need to find a way to score in this series. Also, the Flyers will need to shut down the Lucic-Krecji-Horton line. They killed us today. Finally, the Flyers will need to adjust their system somewhat. Boston was allowed way too much room coming through the neutral zone and around the Flyers’ net. It seems like we tried to out-finesse them today. This series will be won or lost in the trenches and with physical play and close checking – if the Flyers can find that within their puzzling psyche.

It’s a Round Two Rematch: Flyers vs. Bruins

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2011 by flyersfan44

The Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup between the Flyers and Bruins should be a good one, mainly because the Bruins will be looking to avenge last year’s loss in the Eastern Semis after holding a three games to none lead – only the third time it has happened in NHL history.

The Flyers head into the series in pretty good shape. Consider: (1) It seems that they’ve figured out the goalie situation. Brian Boucher is the guy. For whatever strange reason, they went to Michael Leighton in Game 6 of the first round and he gave up a couple bad goals. He wasn’t even dressed for Game 7 as Sergei Bobrovsky was the backup and “Leights” wasn’t even in the building. Boosh is the man for better or worse – I’d say better. he’s largely played well this season and bested Ryan Miller in round one.

(2) The Flyers seem to have gotten their playoff legs. They started slowly in the Buffalo series but got better as the series wore on, winning Games 6 and 7. In fact, they played their best game of the season in the deciding game, dominating the Sabres with wave after wave of Orange attack, winning battles for pucks, and allowing few scoring opportunities. Now that they’ve established their playoff persona, it should be easier for them to continue to do the things that a team needs to do to win a series.

(3) Chris Pronger is back. He played over 20 minutes in Game 7 after only a few minutes on the power play in Game 6, and his injured hand appears to be getting stronger. A Chris Pronger who is able to play at 85-90% will be immensely helpful and even necessary as the Flyers seek to advance.

(4) The money players have stepped up. Danny Briere had a great series and the Flyers got the production from Mike Richards, Scott hartnell, and Ville Leino when they’ve needed it. James Van Riemsdyk is coming into his own before our eyes in these playoffs. He was a major force in every game of Round 1 and has grown into the power forward the Flyers expected when they drafted him.

If the goaltending holds up, the defense continues to play tight, and the Flyers get the balanced scoring they’ve had all season, they should be able to take Boston once again. It will be a long series as the teams are fairly evenly matched, but the Flyers’ depth and scoring should carry them in another seven game series.

I was seven for eight in my first round predictions – you’ll have to take my word on that because I didn’t get time to post them before things started. I missed Nashville over Anaheim but had Tampa over Pittsburgh in seven. Here’s my predictions for Round 2:

Flyers over Boston in 7

Washington over Tampa in 7 – Tampa’s 1-2-2 or 1-4 system will give the Caps trouble, but Washington has the goaltending and defensive system plus enough scoring up front to overcome.

Vancouver over Nashville in 5 – The Predators won their first ever playoff series but won’t take the offensively stronger Canucks.

Detroit over San Jose in 7 – I could see this one going either way but will take the rested Red Wings.

Flyers Murder Whining Sabres in Game 7

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 by flyersfan44

With their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series surprisingly tied at three games each, the Flyers played an outstanding game to oust the fiesty and scrappy Sabres in the seventh game, 5-2. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had stolen two games with 1-0 shutouts and the Flyers had largely outplayed Buffalo throughout the series yet trailed three games to two going into Game Six in Buffalo. After fighting back from a 3-1 deficit, the Flyers pulled out a 4-3 overtime win to stay alive and wrest control of the series from Buffalo. With momentum off that victory, the Flyers thoroughly dominated the Sabres in Game Seven for the series victory.

The series was marked by organizational disassurance in their goaltending: Playoff starter Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up a couple poor goals in Game Two. Veteran Brian Boucher played well in games three and four, but gave up a couple bad goals in Game Five. That led the Flyers to surprisingly turn to Michael Leighton to start Game Six. He was yanked after the first period and Boucher returned to get the win in Game Six and Seven.

It was a nasty series, with controversial hits on both sides. A Mike Richards elbow to the head of Patrick Kaleta and a shove from behind on Tim Connolly led Goalie Ryan Miller to wonder if Richards was getting away with “mass murder” after Richards had said the Flyers were getting murdered by the refs. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff criticized Richards for “whining”, then later sounded like he was whining about Richards’ hit on Connolly.

Alot of twists and turns in this series for the Flyers, who again proved their resiliency and refusal to quit after being down, battled back and finally took the series. Onward!

Playoffs – Finally!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 by flyersfan44

Finally, the 2011 Playoffs are here. Been away from the blog for a bit – I think I was bored like the Flyers were for the last six weeks of the season. OK, we’re tied at one game each with Buffalo. The Flyers should beat the Sabres – they’re the deeper team even without Pronger. However, three concerns make me worried about them going much deeper: (1) Goaltending – Bobrovsky is untested in the playoffs and gave up a bad goal in Game 2 before being pulled. Now do you come back with him or stay with Boucher? Questions already and we’re only two games in. (2) Power Play – It hasn’t been right for too much of the season. 1 for 15 so far in the series. They’re going to have to figure it out to advance very far. (3) Pronger – If he doesn’t come back from the broken hand and be at or close to 100%, there’s no way this will be the year that ends the Cup drought.

Sorry to be pessimistic. I’m cheering them on nevertheless. Now, here’s a video put together by my nephew to get us excited. Great job, Brian!