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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Flyers-Penguins, Game 3

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

In today’s “View from the Philly Pressbox” we look at the Flyers blowout of the Penguins in Game 3 of the 1st Round series. The Flyers now lead the series 3-0 with an 8-4 win over the crumbling Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center before a crazed sellout crowd.

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 and AGAIN!! Although the Flyers fell behind 1-0 on a Jordan Staal goal at the 3:52 mark they were never reeling in this game. As the Penguins tried to figure out some way to stay in the game, with cheap shots and taunting, they never had a chance. Max Talbot scored shorthanded, again, at 6:44 and Danny Briere added the first of his two goals on the power play at 8:19 to give the Flyers the lead that they would never give up. Briere added his second goal, and fourth of the series, at 11:45 and Matt Read the first of his two goals at 15:40, wrapped around a James Neal goal. At the end of the 1st period it was 4-2 Flyers, and it was on from there.

The Flyers have spotted the Penguins leads in each of the three games of the series. We still feel this is a bad sign moving forward. The way this series has unfolded the Flyers are just the better hockey team; however, this habit needs to stop. It’s been a problem all season and isn’t a situation they want to put themselves in throughout the playoffs. So far they’ve survived.

 Ilya Bryzgalov – Bryzgalov was not near as sharp as he was in Game 2 when he was tremendous. He allowed two goals that were cheap goals. that could cost a game at some point in the playoffs. Bryz seemed to be distracted slightly by the gooning and fighting that was going on around him. He cannot have breakdowns in his concentration and allow soft goals. The Pens explosive offense was well discussed coming in to the series. The Flyers have done a great job controlling Evgeni Malkin, 0 goals and 4 assists and Sidney Crosby, 2 goals and 3 assists throughout the series. Lost in the Flyers offensive explosion, 20 goals, is that the Penguins have scored 12 goals themselves. Four goals a game is a lot of goals to give up. Bryz needs to get sharp and stay sharp. Soft goals have to stop. We’ll say it until “The Stanley Cup” rides down Broad Street, hot goalies win playoff series and Stanley Cups and Bryz needs to be that hot goalie.

Stay Healthy – In the midst of all of the cheap shots, head hunting and fighting the Flyers came out of Game 3 without any injuries. The team is getting close to adding James Van Riemsdyk back to the lineup. JVR will be a nice addition in place of Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo has tried to be physical when he can, but always seems to find his way to the penalty box. Renaldo has 20 penalty minutes in the 3 games. JVR will add some offensive skill and still be physical.

Staying out of the penalty box will be critical. It’s pretty difficult to talk about staying out of the penalty box when you have a game where you are being, thugged, mugged and gooned by your opponent. The Flyers did allow one power play goal in the game and now three for the three game series. Credit goes to the Flyers for defending themselves and protecting their players when they had to without losing control of their emotions like the Penguins did. The “thugs” were clearly the Penguins. The Flyers added four power play goals of their own, Briere, Read, Wayne Simmonds and Talbot. They added another shorthanded goal by Talbot, his second “shorty” of the series and the third by the Flyers. It’s safe to say that the team that gets five special teams goals is going to win!! Special Teams remain critical to the playoffs, and obviously the Game 3 advantage, like Games 1 and 2, goes to the Flyers.

Again, we’ll show the same quote we showed in our series preview and after Games 1 and 2. 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 continues to be tremendous on both ends of the ice and as a team leader. Giroux, along with line mates, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr are leading the way, although Hartnell has been kept off the scoreboard he’s continued to impact the game. A big key in Game 1 was rookie Brayden Shenn, in Game 2 it was rookie Sean Couturier with 3 goals and an assist, Game 3 it was rookie Matt Read with 2 goals. Another rookie, Eric Wellwood has played solid hockey in less playing time. The rookies have combined for 6 goals and 6 assists in the series thus far. Add that to the solid play of Talbot, Simmonds, Jake Voracek and the incredible playoff goal scoring of Briere and you have a total team contribution.

Defensively, the Flyers have played solid throughout. Brayden Coburn has been a wall. Matt Carle has been solid along with Nic Grossman, Timonen, Pavel Kubina and Andreas Lilja. Each had to step up their game when they lost Timonen and each did their job.

Our prediction has been the Flyers in 6 games. We felt asking for a sweep in the series was too much to ask. We stated after Game 2 the Penguins “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”. We didn’t expect them to come out as “goons” before they went golfing. The Flyers need to sweep this series in four games. They need to get out with no injuries from any further cheap shots. The Flyers need to come out of the locker room with their foot on the gas from the start and not take any chances going back to Pittsburgh for a Game 5. The Flyers have the Penguins down and need to “kill the mosquito with the ax”.

 

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

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