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“The View from the Philly Pressbox ” Flyers-Penguins, Game 1

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

In today’s “View from the Philly Pressbox” we look at the outcome of Game 1of the 1st Round series between the Flyers and the Penguins.

In our series preview we identified the four keys for the Flyers to win the series.

  • ·        Don’t fall behind early in games
  • ·        Ilya Bryzgalov
  • ·        Staying out of the penalty box
  • ·        Stay healthy

Don’t fall behind early in games. Obviously, the Flyers didn’t get our post and came out and got crushed in the 1st period, falling behind 3-0. They were outshot, 13-6, and severely out hit. The Penguins took their foot off the gas and the Flyers showed tremendous resiliency in holding their composure while the Consol Center was in a frenzy. As we stated in our series preview the Flyers must figure out a way to come out of the locker room ready to play and control the energy of the game. Everyone knew that the building would be crazy and that Pittsburgh would come out ready to play. The Flyers had no way of slowing them down, let alone stopping them. Don’t expect the Penguins to let their foot off the gas again if the same situation occurs. Although the Flyers survived Game 1 we still feel, more than ever, that this is critical to the Flyers winning the series. When asked what you’re thinking in the locker room behind 3 goals after one period, Danny Briere said, “Sitting here after the first period all we were saying was that we’ve done it all year. Let’s start with a goal and you never know what can happen.”

Ilya Bryzgalov – We’re going to give Bryz a pass on the bad third goal, since we won the game. That goal was soft and looked like it was the final straw in the game; however, Bryz played very well the remainder of the game. The Pens ended up with 28 shots, only 15 after the first period and Bryz turned them all away. Any lose of concentration and a fourth goal would’ve put the game out of reach. The Flyers tightened up the defense and Bryz stepped-up his game

Stay Healthy – Of course another obvious key in the run to the Stanley Cup is staying healthy throughout the brutal playoff run. The Flyers appear to be as healthy as a team can be at this point. All indications are that the Flyers did not suffer any injuries in the game and will be at full strength for Game 2 Friday night.

Staying out of the penalty box will be critical. The Flyers were called for only three minor penalties in the game and killed all of them. Interestingly enough, of the 6 minutes in penalties, Sydney Crosby was on the ice for 5:00, Evgeni Malkin for 5:12, Kris Latang for 5:34, James Neal for 3:39 and  Chris Kunitz for 3:55. These are the big guns for the Penguins and they don’t need to be on the ice that long while the Flyers are shorthanded. Offensively, the Flyers were only on the power play one time and Brayden Shenn made them pay by scoring the game tying goal at the 12:23 mark of the 3rd period by redirecting a perfect pass from Scott Hartnell. Special Teams are critical to the playoffs, and the Game 1 advantage goes to the Flyers.

We stated that for “the Flyers to win they need to get contributions from all of their lines. Obviously, the Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr line needs to be good. Danny Briere needs to step up as he has in past playoffs. Wayne Simmons, Max Talbot and Jakub Voracek will need to contribute as they have all season. Just as important will be the play of the Flyers rookies, Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. These rookies have played very well throughout the regular season; however, they need to lift their game to the next level that is playoff hockey!” I think it’s safe to say we hit the nail on the head with that statement. Briere scored 2 goals; Shenn added a goal and 2 assists and Voracek scored the overtime game winner by positioning himself in behind what looked like two confused Penguins. It should be pointed out that Matt Carle, 27minutes, 13 seconds of ice time and Brayden Coburn, 26:49, turned in fantastic efforts for the Flyers defense as well. Kimmo Timonen and Nic Grossman also logged more than 20 minutes of ice time. It was a total team effort.

Our prediction is still the Flyers in 6 games. The Flyers are in the Penguins heads. This is why the meaningless game on the last day of the season was so important for the Penguins to win at home. They needed to prove to themselves that they could beat the Flyers, and they can’t. It will be interesting to see how the Penguins respond at the start of Game 2. Can they put the Game 1 collapse behind them or can the Flyers come out with the energy early and put them away and take a 2-0 lead back to the Wells Fargo Center? We thought there would be a split in Pittsburgh, however, we now think the Flyers will win Game 2 on the road and the Pens will win Game 3 in Philly with their backs up against the elimination wall.

As Gene Hart would say” GOOD NIGHT and GOOD HOCKEY”

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