Bryz – Turner Lead the Flyers and 76ers

In Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers on March 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Last week we stated in our review that we felt that the Flyers needed a minimum of 6 points for the week with hopes of gaining 7 points. They had tough games against Washington, Detroit, Florida and Toronto. Little did we know they would win all 4 games by a combined score of 10-2 and that Ilya Bryzgalov would pitch 3 shutouts. Bryz was tremendous! He stopped 128 of the 130 shots he faced during the week. As we’ve stated many times before, hot goalies win playoff series and Bryz is as hot as anybody. Offensively the Flyers did enough to win, scoring 1, 3, 5 and 1 goals across the week. Obviously you can’t depend on winning 1-0 shutouts all of the time as they did twice this week. More offense is a must. Claude Giroux continues to have an outstanding season. He had a goal and 3 assists this week and now has 24 goals and 55 assists for 79 points through 67 games. Scott Hartnell continues to have his best season with 32-28-70. Hartnell’s leadership really showed again this week as opponents have tried to take liberties with Giroux. Hartnell has come to his defense and dropped the gloves to protect the team’s best player. The same can be said for Wayne Simmons (22-19-41) who took on Buster Crabb of the Maple Leafs and scored an easy victory after the Leafs continued to slash Giroux. The biggest improvement overall has been the defense and Bryzgalov. Good defense and good goaltending often go together and the Flyers have definitely tightened up their game. With that said, defensive turnovers are no longer becoming automatic goals because Bryz has come up big and made the stops when needed. Overall, this week the Flyers have had outstanding team efforts and as a result won all 4 of their games and earned the 8 points.

Looking at next week it doesn’t get any easier. The Flyers are presently the 5th seed in the playoffs, 2 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and 6 points behind the number one seed New York Rangers. At this point last week that Flyers were 12 points behind the Rangers. This week 3 of the 4 games are on the road starting today with the New Jersey Devils. The Devils come to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday before the Flyers go to Long Island and then to Boston. The Devils are just 2 points behind the Flyers for the 5th seed so these two games will be critical. The Islanders are virtually out of the playoffs but the Flyers cannot have a letdown on the road. The Boston game will be Saturday afternoon on the NHL Network as the showcase game of the day. The Flyers are 1-2 against the Bruins winning on opening night 2-1 in Boston but have had trouble stopping them since, losing 6-0 and 6-5 with both games at home. The Bruins are presently the number two seed in the Eastern Conference 8 points behind the Rangers.

Again, we feel the Flyers need at least 6 points again this week. We are thinking a split with the Devils, a win against the Islanders and a win against Boston on the road.

We felt that the 76ers needed to win 3 of their 4 games this past week against Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston and New Orleans. They started the week slow by losing to Chicago and Milwaukee, but bounced back with a blowout of Boston and a win over the Jazz. Depending on how the season finishes we feel that the loss to Milwaukee will be one to be looked back on as a critical lose. The Bucks are not very good and on the playoff bubble. It was a bad time for a letdown.

This was the week that Evan Turner arrived. Coach Doug Collins inserted Turner in the starting lineup against the Bucks for the first time. Turner did not play well, shooting just 1-12 from the field and finishing with 2 points. Collins stuck with Turner and he responded with 26 points and 9 rebounds against Boston and 16 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists against New Orleans. The addition of Turner to lineup that already includes 6 double figure scorers provides the 76ers with even more weapons going down the stretch. A big question for the 76ers through the last third of the season is the health of Spencer Hawes. Hawes has played in only 14 games this season. He was averaging 10.5ppg and leading the team with 8.3rpg. If Hawes can get healthy and contribute down the stretch he will only make the 76ers better in the playoffs.

This week will be another major challenge for the team. They play 4 games in the next 7 days beginning today at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. They move on to play Indiana on the road before hosting the Miami Heat and closing out the week in Chicago against the Bulls. A 2-2 week is a must. Beating Miami and Chicago will be difficult. The 76ers lead over the Celtics is down to 2 games so they won’t be allowed any slip ups during the week. They have to win the games they’re supposed to win. If they can add an upset victory that’s all the better.

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