“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Flyers – Penguins Game 2

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm

In today’s “View from the Philly Pressbox” we look at the outcome of Game 2 of the 1st Round series between the Flyers and the Penguins. The Flyers now lead the series 2-0 with a fantastic 8-5 victory at the Consol Energy Center.

In our series preview we identified the four keys for the Flyers to win the series and they haven’t changed.

  • ·        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, AGAIN! They came out and fell behind just 15 seconds in to the game. That first goal, as well as the Flyers strategy, is very confusing to me. The Flyers didn’t have the opening line matchup they wanted with the Sidney Crosby line so as soon as the puck was dropped all 5 Flyers headed to the bench for a full line change. Call it bad luck or fast hockey but before the Flyers could get their new group on the ice and organized Crosby was flying and dealt the first blow, and again the Flyers had to come from behind. The opinion here is that these are professional players and not having the matchup you want can wait until you can clear the puck and get an organized line change. This was ridiculous. It was a tactical error by Peter Laviolette and he got burned. Overall, the Flyers played much better in the 1st period but fell behind 2-0 before getting a beautiful shorthanded goal from Max Talbot, at 12:44. Talbot followed a Claude Giroux shot and banged in the rebound to make it 2-1. The Flyers had their skates under them, and looked like they were in pretty shape before giving up would looked like a back breaking goal by Defenseman Paul Martin at the 19:42 mark. Again, the Flyers went to the break down 3-1. We know the end result turned out the Flyers way, however, we stick to our original keys and say the Flyers cannot continue to fall behind early in this series or in any other. It’s not the position they need to be in game-in and game-out or it will catch up to them.

Ilya Bryzgalov – Bryzgalov was tremendous! He gets our #1 star of the game even though he gave up 5 goals and there were two hat tricks. He only stopped 23 of 28 shots but like we stated he was tremendous. Bryz made at least three saves that could’ve/should’ve been goals. At one point the game could’ve been 6-1 Pittsburgh if not for Bryz. The Flyers made a decision to open the vault to sign Bryzgalov in the off season and it surely paid off last night. Hot goalies win playoff series and Stanley Cups and Bryz is a hot goalie.

Stay Healthy – This was a physical hockey game that appeared to favor the Penguins. The hit numbers were equal but the center ice hits and bigger hits came from Pittsburgh although the Flyers dished out their fair share of hits as well. With that said, the Flyers are still healthy and ready for Game 3.

Staying out of the penalty box will be critical. The Flyers were called for five minor penalties in the game and gave up two goals. That’s too many! Although you can’t depend on it every night the Flyers turned the shorthanded situation to their advantage getting a the shorthanded goal from Talbot in the 1st period and another from Giroux that tied the score 3-3 at 11:04 of the 2nd period. The Penguins were only called for three penalties and the Flyers turned one of them in to Giroux’s first goal of the game. The two “shorties” tend to hide the penalty situation. The Flyers cannot give the Penguins five power play opportunities a game. Special Teams are critical to the playoffs, and the Game 2 advantage, just like Game 1, goes to the Flyers.

After this 2nd game we’ll quote what we said in our series preview and repeated after Game 1. 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!” Again, we hit the nail on the head with that statement. Claude Giroux was tremendous, scoring 3 goals and adding another 3 assists. Talbot added a goal. Jaromir Jagr added the game winning goal. All of the Flyers contributed on both ends of the ice. It’s unfortunate that Bryzgalov was so good because Sean Couturier deserves to be the #1 star as well. The 19 year old Couturier added a hat trick of his own and an assist while shutting down the Penguins 50 goal scorer Evangi Malkin. Malkin did tally two assist but he was never a factor and the reason was Couturier. Couturier delivered one of the big blows of the game by tieing the score 4-4 with a goal with 2.8 seconds remaining in the 2nd period. He stayed with the play until the final whistle and his hustle paid off. Again, it was a total team effort and a well deserved huge win.

Our prediction still hasn’t changed from the Flyers in 6 games. We’ve been right on both games so far. The Flyers are further in the Penguins heads! It will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh responds in Game 3. They could come out with their elimination backs against the wall, play well, and win or they could quit on the season and get ready for golfing. For the Flyers, they need come out of the locker room ready to play, not fall behind again and put their foot on the throat of the Penguins and not let off. Back in the day, when I used to coach, I had a saying when you got a lead on your opponent to “kill the mosquito with an ax.” That’s what the Flyers need to do. However, we feel the Penguins will play well and win Game 3. We hope not but a sweep would be too much to expect.

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

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  1. Game of a life time, what do you think?

    • The 5 OT game against Pittsburgh in 2000 was pretty amazing. I was there when they beat the Rangers a couple years ago in a shootout on the last game of the season to make it in to the playoffs. That was an amazing game. I liked everything about yesterdays game except falling beind again. It was end-to-end, non-stop, physical hockey with a lot of scoring but still great goaltending. Need to finish them up!!!

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