“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Flyers-Devils, Game 5

In Philadelphia Flyers on May 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm

In this addition of the “View from the Philly Pressbox” we take a look at Game 5 of the Round 2 matchup between the Flyers and the New Jersey Devils in the “Chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup”. In our preview we identified our keys to the series. We will review and analyze these keys and how they affected the outcome of the game.

Following are the keys for the Flyers to win this series:

  • ·        Shoot the puck at Martin Brodeur, minimum 28 shots per game.
  • ·        Stay Healthy
  • ·        Special Teams
  • ·        Full team participation
  • ·        Ilya Bryzgalov

Shoot the puck at Martin Brodeur, minimum 28 shots per game – We were going to break this key point in to three separate points. The Flyers must shoot the puck at the future Hall of Famer, Brodeur. They cannot afford in get in to tight checking, close games with 15-20 shots per game or Brodeur can steal the series. The Devils have been very successful playing this style of hockey for years. The Flyers need to control the pace of the game by working end-to-end and getting the lead early in the games forcing the Devils out of their system. If the Flyers fall behind in the series as they did in Round 1, and throughout most of the season, they could find themselves in trouble. Get out of “the room” quick, and at full speed, and the Flyers will be in control.

Result: For the second time in the series the Flyers reached our mark of 28 shots on goal, in regulation time,  on Brodeur. Unfortunetly it was too little too late. Overall the Flyers played more aggressive, won a few more battles and generated a few more chances, but never threatened in the way we’ve become accustomed to. As far as Brodeur, the Devils made the future Hall of Famers job easy throughout the series. Other than Game 1 he was not challenged much. Obviously, he’s too good to not continue to shoot pucks at him and make him work.

Series Impact Result – ADVANTAGE DEVILS

Stay Healthy – Like the Pittsburgh series this is expected to be very physical. The difference is that you won’t see the lack of discipline that you saw from the Penguins. The Flyers will be getting a healthy Nick Grossman back for Game 1. This will allow Peter Laviolette to spread the minutes among more defensemen, lightening the ice time of Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen. Each of these guys played a ton of minutes in the first series. James van Riemsdyk should continue to see more ice time as he gets his legs back under him playing in the last two games of the Pittsburgh series.

Another key addition to the Flyers lineup could be defenseman Andrej Mesazaros. There’s an outside chance that Mesazaros could play later in the series.

Result:  The Flyers entered the game as healthy as you can at this point in the season.  Sean Couturier saw his regular amount of ice time, although he didn’t spend as much time on the penalty kill as he normally does after his injury in Game 3. Andreas Mesazaros made his long awaited return, logging 19:26 seconds of ice time, and unfortunately, it wasn’t pretty. Mesazaros looked slow against the fast Devils and continually turned the puck over. Granted this was a difficult situation to return to the lineup and be expected to be a major contributor after sitting out for such a long period of time but Meszaros did not answer the call.

Series Impact Result – NONE

Special Teams – The Flyers special team work in Round 1 was devastating. They scored on 11 of 23 power play opportunities, a staggering 47.8%. They also added 3 shorthanded goals. The Penguins had no idea how to defense the Flyers special teams. We don’t expect them to maintain that pace against the Devils; however, we do expect them to be good again in Round 2. The Flyers have so many weapons, regardless of which group is on the ice, they will pressure the Devils throughout the series. The Devils scored 15 shorthanded goals during the regular season, while the Flyers had 6, so the Flyers cannot be reckless.

On defense, the Flyers must stay disciplined and out of the penalty box. The Devils have goal scorers. Ilya Kovalchuk led the Devils with 10 power play goals during the regular season, while David Clarkson and Patrik Elias added 8 each. Zach Parisi added 7. If the Flyers are shorthanded more than 3 times a game they will allow the Devils to stay in the series.

Result: The Flyers had only one power play opportunity in the game and only three in the last two games. The Devils continued to play well-disciplined, solid hockey. As we said throughout the series, the Flyers needed to win the series in 5-on-5 situations and they couldn’t do it. For the series the Flyers were 3-19 on the power play, 15.8%.

Defensively, the Flyers were called for 4 minor penalties and the Devils converted one of them, that ended the season, at the 15:00 mark of the 3rd period when Kovalchuk rifled a shot passed Bryzgalov. The Flyers had survived two 2nd period penalties on Hartnell and Zac Rinaldo but couldn’t overcome the stupid holding penaly by van Reismdyk. The Flyers were fighting for their life, trailing only 2-1 with 5:00 remaining in the game, when JVR grabbed a Devil while on the way to the bench for no reason and then looked confused that the penalty was called. It was a stupid play and the resuting power play goal ended any chance that the Flyers had. The Devils finished the series 4-18 on the power play, 22.2%.

Series Impact Result – ADVANTAGE DEVILS

Full Team Participation – The Flyers had 13 different players score goals in the Pittsburgh series. They were led by Claude Giroux with 6 and Danny Briere with 5. They also had 15 players on the score sheet with assists. Giroux led the way with 8, Jaromir Jagr added 6 and Jakub Voracek added 5. What these numbers indicate is contributions from every member of the team, regardless of the line they were playing on or what defensive pairing they were in. Only Eric Wellwood and Andres Lilja played in all six games and didn’t get credited with a point, however, both provided significant contributors.

Result:  The Flyers came out and played hard but again had no answers for the Devils. Rinaldo provided some much needed energy, although, it was just a matter of time until he was called for a penalty. He led the team with 6 hits in only 8:43 of ice team. The lose of Giroux may have hurt as far as needing a big playmaker, however, he was pretty much a non-factor throughout the series. Overall the Flyers had 8 players contribute goals. Briere was the leader with 3 and Giroux with 2. They also had 12 different players contribute assists with Vorucek leading the team with 3.

Series Impact Result – ADVANTAGE DEVILS

Ilya Bryzgalov –  Bryzgalov is not as bad as he looked at times in the Pittsburgh series. When the Flyers tightened their game Bryz played well. The Flyers are good enough on offense that Bryz doesn’t have to be tremendous every night; he just needs to be good. The Flyers won’t face an offensive team like the Penguins again in the East and Bryz’s game will improve accordingly. What the Flyers cannot afford is a meltdown by Bryz. If the Flyers will play tight, solid defense from the start of this series Bryz will play well.

Result: After getting hit with 31 shots in Game 3, Bryz faced 43 more in Game 4 and another 30 in Game 5, 23 in the first two periods. Bryz played well overall, although his huge blunder that allowed David Clarkson’s unassisted goal, proved to be the game winner. A monumental error! For the entire series Bryz was the Flyers best player. If he hadn’t played so well, most of the time, the series would’ve been even uglier than it was. Not only would the Flyers have not scored much they would’ve been blown out on the other end. Bryz still has a lot of work ahead of him in order to be the consistent goaltender the Flyers need to win the cup.

Series Impact Result – ADVANTAGE DEVILS

Prediction – Well our prediction was dead wrong. I would’ve never thought that any team could dominate the Flyers over a series the way the Devils did. The Devils beat them in every phase of the game. Hats off to them! The Flyers lacked continuity in every game. Their lines never seemed to mesh and their defensive pairings struggled the entire series with turnovers and getting the puck out of the zone. There was never a game where the team was in cinque and passing from tape-to-tape. The passes always seemed a little ahead or a little behind or jumped over somebody’s stick rather than being controlled. The most disappointing part of the series is that the Flyers either never adjusted or the Devils were just that good. That falls on Laviolette. He’s an intense guy and a tireless worker as a head coach but he didn’t get the job done in this series. When you’re team gets beat the same way night after night as the head coach you must figure out a way to adjuest, that didn’t happen.

There’s an old saying attributed to Joe Paterno that says, “you’re never as good as you think you are when you win and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose”. Thatpretty much sums up the Flyers two playoff series. Hopes were so high after the Pittsburgh series that the Flyers were so good and so low after this series because they played so bad. In reality they’re probably somewhere in the middle.

So until next season – “GOOD NIGHT and GOOD HOCKEY”…….Gene Hart

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  1. Very nice summary of the Sixers series/season. I have held that the Sixers are a little like the team that existed before the acquisition of Moses Malone (although I realize they do not have a superstar like Doc) in that , in my opinion, they are one very good low post player away from competing with the best. I agree, with their young nucleus, why not go for Dwight?

    • Thanks for checking us out Randy. You caught me by surprise when I opened your message and it was about the 76ers and attached to a Flyers article. I don’t know that they can get Howard but being close to winning has to help in their effort to get good players. The “premier” players aren’t going to come play for a loser. Hopefully this was a turn-the-corner season!!!

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