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Posts Tagged ‘Braydon Coburn’

FLYERS “STAY OR GO” FAN VOTE

In Philadelphia Flyers on May 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Recently Philly.com completed their end of season fan voting for the Philadelphia Flyers. This end of year tradition allows fans to vote which individual players should “stay” or “go” before next season. I always enjoy these because only the rabid fans bother to vote. Presently the voting is taking place for the 76ers so you can log on and cast your votes. When the Eagles voting was completed in January we broke down the results and shared them with you. Following is the link to that article. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/eagles-stay-or-go-fan-vote/ 

Here’s how it works. you go on the site and  Once you’ve voted on the player the current vote result is shown.  There have been between 5000 votes cast so far, (you don’t have to vote for every player). Again, just like with the Eagles we found the results very surprising. Here’s the breakdown.

There were a total of 26 players listed plus 3 goalies, head coach Peter Laviolette and General Manager Paul Holmgren. Of the 26 “position” players 16 were forwards and 10 were defensmen. Using 50% “stay” versus 50% “go” here is the list of forwards that the Flyers fans feel need to “go” before next season. With only 7.7% of the voters voting “stay” Jody Shelley. Shelley was followed by Tom Sestito with 39.8% voting for him to stay. It seems a little unfair for Sestiton when most fans don’t know who he is. The only other forward with less than 50% of the votes, at 49.2% is James van Reisdyke.  Those are three forwards that the fans want to get rid of to get the team over the top.

We also found it interesting which order the fans picked their favorite players that they want to stay. Guess what? Claude Giroux was not on top of the list. Follewing is the list with the percentage of “stay” votes, forwards only. Sean Couturier, 97.7%, Giroux, 97.4%, Branyden Shenn, 94.3%, Max Talbot, 94.2%, Matt Read, 92.9%, Wayne Simmonds, 90.1% Jakub Voracek, 91.0%, Eric Wellwood, 88.3%, Danny Briere, 83.4%, Scott Hartnell, 83.4%, Zac Rinaldo, 59.9%, Harry Zolnierczyk, 56.3% and Jaromir Jagr, 54.3%.

There you have it for the offense. What do you think? I’m actually pretty surprised.

On the blue line there 10 players to vote on and again we were somewhat surprised. The fans have voted to unload four of the 10. The lowest amount of stay votes was Andreas Lilja with 18.2%. He was followed by Pavel Kubina with 18.4%, Matt Carle at 34.0% and Chris Pronger at 42.2%. We’re really surprised that Carle is on this list. He logged the second most minutes by a defenseman in the playoffs and although he had his moments generally played fairly well. For the second straight season Carle has played in every game. He scored 4 goals and added 34 assists with a +4 for the regular season and added 2 goals and 4 assists with a -3 in the playoffs. 

The results on who the fans wanted to “stay” on defense isn’t quite so surprising. Nicklas Grossman led the way with 94.3% of the vote. He was followed by Andrej Meszaros, 91.6%, Braydon Coburn, 91.5%, Eric Gustaffson, 86.9%, Marc-Andre Bourdon, 76.9% and Kimmo Timonen, 71.6.

The take away from this list appears to be that the fans want out with the older players, Lilja is 36 years old, Kubina is 35, Pronger is 37 and injured and Timonen is now 37. As we stated earlier the only surprise is Carle.

That brings us to the goaltenders. There were three to chose from. We’re not sure how Michael Leighton made the list but he did. We can’t say we’re shocked but somewhat surprised by the results. The fans pretty much want to get rid of all of the goalies. Sergei Bobrovski is the only one that made the cut with just 50.4% of the voters wanting him to “stay”. Ilya Bryzgalov received 47.0% and Leighton 19.7%.

The interesting point on the goaltenders is that Bryzgalov kept the Flyers in the playoffs for the most part. He did allow some bad goals in the high-flying Pittsburgh series but he kept the Flyers in the Devils series in spite of the end result. Without Bryzgalov’s outstanding play it would’ve been far worse.

That brings us to the staff, Laviolette and Holmgren. Both received the votes from the fans to “stay”. Holmgren received 87.8% and Lavy 85.4%. Obviously the fans were happy with them.

So there you have it Flyers fans, you have spoken. If it were up to the fans the 2013 team will be without JVR, Shelley, Sestito, Pronger, Carle, Lilja, Kubina, Leighton and Bryzgalov. Who will replace these guys and what will the Flyers do to upgrade for the next run for the cup?

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Flyers – Devils, Game 1

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

In this addition of the “View from the Philly Pressbox” we take a look at Game 1 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 them and see if meeting these keys brought victory to the Flyers.

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: It didn’t look very good coming out of the locker room. The Flyers were flat, and the Devils were the team doing the peppering. The Flyers were outshot 15-6 in the 1st period. It looked like the heavy footed Flyers were falling in to the Devils trap. Ilya Bryzgalov held them in the game through the period and the Flyers trailed only 1-0. For the next two periods and overtime the Flyers dominated the game. They finished with 36 shots on Brodeur. Once they started peppering him he had problems, although, if not for several fantastic saves, the Flyers would’ve won big. We’ll give the Flyers the benefit of the doubt on the slow start in Game 1 as rust. We don’t expect to see the same in Game 2.

Stay Healthy – Just 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: This game was nowhere near as physical as any of the games in the Pittsburgh series. Both teams played disciplined hockey with no “dirty” penalties. Nick Grossman was back at full strength and played a solid game on the blue line logging 16:26 of ice time. Having Grossman back allowed Laviolette to spread the ice time on defense as we expected. Coburn logged the most time with 26:27 seconds and Andraes Lilja the least with 15:18 seconds. This is good balance among the six defenders that will help as the series continue on.

JVR was back with a vengeance. He was named the games second star but could’ve been the first. He logged 17:31 seconds of ice time, scored a goal, had a team high 5 shots and posted a +3 for the game. The return of JVR just adds to the depth and talent that the Flyers possess.

Mesazaros did not play in the gain but appears to be very close to being ready to return.

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: Although the Flyers converted on just 1 of 6 chances, a goal by Giroux from Timonen and Hartnell to give them a 3-2 lead. They put constant pressure on the Devils and Brodeur and gained steam as the game went on.

Defensively, the Flyers did a great job of playing disciplined hockey and staying out of the penalty box. Our analysis said they couldn’t be in the box more than 3 times and they were in the box 3 times. They did give up a power play goal to Travis Zajac in the 2nd period on a very questionable hooking call on Carle. For the final 31:24 seconds of the game the Flyers were at full strength. An interesting statistic for the Flyers penalty kill is that the forwards that logged the most ice time were rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read, both with 2:29 seconds.

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:  Again, the Flyers got total team participation. Lavey mixed his lines so often it was hard to tell who was on the ice but they were all there. Briere scored two goals, Giroux one and JVR one. Jakob Voracek added two assists while Gustaffson, Timonen, Hartnell, and Carle added one each. There were major contributions from nearly everyone. Brayden Shenn saw the least ice time with only 9:44. Jagr was the one Flyer that seemed to struggle getting his legs and he saw less action later in the game as a result. Also playing a high speed outstanding game was the rookie Wellwood. He looked like the fastest man on the ice.

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: As the clock was rolling down below 10 minutes it looked like Bryz play in the 1st period was going to steal the game for the Flyers and then it happened, a soft goal that will lose your team the Stanley Cup. After the 1st period the Flyers played “lock-down” defense again, allowing only 11 shot on goal in the final 44:36 seconds of the game. Bryz just needed to make the saves he should make and he didn’t. Should the Flyers be concerned? The Flyers must continue their outstanding defensive work and keep the pressure off of Bryz until he gains confidence. He looked lost at times and that won’t win the cup. Bryz continues to be a work in progress.  

Prediction – If the Flyers accomplish these keys, especially continuing to pepper the 40 year old Brodeur with pucks, they’ll win the series in 5 games. If they allow the Devils to dictate the pace they could lose this series. We don’t expect that to happen. The Flyers have too many weapons, too much depth. They can match up Sean Couturier against Kovalchuk as they did against Evgeni Malkin. Couts showed he’s up to the challenge. Max Talbot brings stability any time he’s on the ice, regardless if he’s playing with the veterans or the rookies. The Giroux, Jagr, Scott Hartnell line will be solid. The Briere, Voracek, Wayne Simmonds line will also be good. Briere continues to up his game in the playoffs, as he always does. Rookies Brayden Shenn, Matt Read and Wellwood passed their first playoff tests with big contributions. As we stated earlier a healthy JVR is an advantage for the Flyers. Defensively, Coburn, Carle, Timonen, Lilja, Grossman and rookie Eric Gustaffson are solid. Gustaffson was a star in Game 6. Add Pavel Kubina for depth and the defense is solid.

As a result the Flyers are too strong and will win the series in 5 games!!!

Result: We hit the keys to the game right on the nose. The Flyers spotted the Devils a period and they could only come away with a 1-0 lead before the Flyers took over. Kovalchuk was a non factor due to Couturier but also due to, what appeared to be laziness. There’s no time for that if you’re a Devil. The Flyers need to continue to pepper Brodeur and play solid special teams. Our prediction hasn’t changed Flyers in 5 games!!!

“GOOD NIGHT and GOOD HOCKEY”…….Gene Hart

 

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Flyers-Penguins, Game 6, The Clincher

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

In today’s “View from the Philly Pressbox” we look at the Flyers dominating, 5-1, series closeout, victory over the Penguins in Game 6 of the 1st Round at the Wells Fargo Center, Sunday afternoon.

In our series preview we identified the four keys for the Flyers to win the series and they didn’t change throughout 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. The team that scored first in the first five games of the series had lost the game. Claude Giroux and the Flyers would have none of that in Game 6. Giroux started the game with a bone crushing hit on Sidney Crosby, 5 seconds in to the game, that set the tone. Giroux completed his shift by shooting a laser shot, just inside the pipe at the :32 second mark. The route was on! The Flyers fought off a Danny Brier high sticking penalty at the 2:08 mark and then put their lethal power plant to work. With Matt Cooke off for interference, Scott Hartnell poked a goal past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-0. Giroux and Jakub Voracek added assists at the 13:01 mark. The period ended with 10 shots for the Flyers and 9 for the Penguins. The Penguins were buzzing throughout the period but it was very clear from the start of the game that there would be no lead change in this game. The Flyers were in a defensive lock-down mode from the drop of the fist puck.  This was the type of period that we had been expecting all series long.

Ilya Bryzgalov – Bryzgalov stopped 30 of 31 shots in the game and never wavered. He played well. The only goal he allowed was a screen shot by Evgeni Malkin that he had little chance of stopping. Bryz, along an outstanding team defensive effort, never wavered throughout the game. He was solid.

This was an interesting series for goaltenders. Bryz, and the Flyers, allowed 26 goals, while Fleury, and the Penguins, allowed 30 goals. Bryzgalov and Fleury were both under fire in this series and both replaced during the series once, but we know that these are both quality goalies. If ever you could say that hockey is a “team” game that has to be played by everyone on the ice, it was this series. When the total team effort was put in play, by the Penguins in Game 5 and the Flyers in Game 6, the goalies showed their stuff.

Stay Healthy – James Van Riemsdyk was back in the lineup again for the second straight game after missing a good part of the season with various injuries.  JVR saw only 6:46 seconds of ice time in his second game back. His return to full action is still a work in progress.

Nick Grossman was unable to play again due to an “upper body injury”. Grossman has been a big part of the defense down the stretch and a very important member of the blue liners. However, Grossman being out may have been a blessing in disguise for the Flyers. With Grossman out, Peter Laviolette didn’t have to make a decision regarding which defenseman to scratch. That left rookie Eric Gustaffson in the lineup. Gus responded with his first career playoff goal, logged the third most minutes of any defenseman, 22:09, blocked a team high seven shots and tallied a +3 for the game. Gustaffson’s ability to step in and play well against Malkin and Sidney Crosby allowed the ice time to be spread out among Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Andreas Lilja more evenly. Pavel Kubina saw only 4:31 second of ice time. Tired players make mistakes and the Flyers couldn’t afford mistakes on the back end in this game.

With the Flyers earning a few days rest, awaiting their next opponent, there will be a better chance of getting Grossman back for Round 2. Also, more time may allow the Flyers to get Andrej Meszaros back from injury as well. It will be a big boost to get both of these guys back. Lavey could have tough, but good, decisions to make.

Staying out of the penalty box will be critical. The Flyers were whistled for five minor penalties in the game, with one resulting in the Malkin goal. Moving forward in the playoffs, the Flyers must remain disciplined and stay out of the box. Five penalties, not many in a regular season game, are too many in a playoff game. The Penguins were charged with three minor penalties, resulting in one Flyer power play goal. On the flip side, the Flyers penalty kill combinations were excellent. Forwards Max Talbot, Giroux and Matt Read, along with defenseman Coburn, Carle and Timonen were all over the ice, smothering the Penguins power play.

Special Teams is always critical in the playoffs. The Flyers held the advantage in 5 of the 6 games of the series, including Game 6. For the series, the Flyers scored on 11 of 23 power play opportunities, an unbelievable 47.8%. The league average is slightly above 20%. They added 3 shorthanded goals as well.

Following the Game 5 loss in Pittsburgh, Scott Hartnell stated, “Five-on-five, we got badly outplayed, badly outscored; now we’ve got to regroup.” The Flyers did exactly that, scoring three even strength goals as well as an empty net goal. Just as importantly, the Flyers did not allow a Penguins an even strength goal. They held Crosby to only three shots and a -3 for the game. Crosby was held to zero points in the last two games of the series. Malkin managed a total of six shots and a -1 while logging the most ice time of any forward in the game, 27:43.

The reason for the Flyers success in Game 6 was a total team lock down defense that started with the first dropped puck. The Flyers blocked a total of 40 shots to go along with Bryzgalov’s 30 saves. The fore-checking and back-checking was outstanding. Sean Couturier’s work on Malkin was tremendous throughout the series. Malkin did score three goals in the series but he earned them. His frustration with Couturier was evident early in the series and got worse, or better depending on who you were rooting for, as the series went on. It was an outstanding effort by the rookie.

Our prediction was the Flyers in 6 games. We hit it right on the nose. I can’t say it happened anywhere close to how we expected it but the result is the same. We expected to see six games played like the last two. The Penguins took themselves out of the series early by deciding that hitting, clean and dirty, was more important than scoring goals. Their early series antics cost them the first three games and ultimately the series. It was also interesting the response from Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, “I want to congratulate the Flyers organization on the series win but, I really can’t wish them good luck though.”  That classless attitude fom the coach is the same one that his team brought to the series and the same one they’ll carry with them as the losing team. Leadership starts at the top and this is a good indication of the Penguins leadership.

While the Penguins were suffering from leadership problems the Flyers leadership was just starting to show its face in the name of Claude Giroux. Peter Laviolette said this following the game about Giroux,  “When the best player in the world comes up to you and says, ‘I don’t know who you’re planning on starting, but I want that first shift,’ that says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux right there.” He added, “His game tonight was monstrous. He was so adamant he wanted that first shift. He wanted to make a statement. You see the skill, but sometimes you don’t hear that, you don’t know that, you don’t get that feel for him. Or maybe you do, but we do. For him to come up and say that, that speaks volumes for him – not just as a player but as a person.” Briere added, “About 10 seconds before they dropped the puck, he came over and told me, ‘Watch the first shift. He set the tone. That first shift, that was beautiful to see. That’s the sign of a great leader.” However the most telling compliment may have come from Timonen who stated, “We talked about getting off to a good start. He got us off to a great start. To me, he’s the best player in the league right now.”

Lastly, it’s tough to talk about individual play in a series like this because you will always miss guys that played well, however, we would be remiss to not talk about the goal scoring of Briere, 5 goals, the overall play of Jaromir Jagr, Hartnell, Talbot and the rookies, Couturier, Read, Brayden Shenn, an empty net goal, and Eric Wellwood. Most importantly was the play of Coburn and Carle throughout the series. They logged between 25 and 30 a game, every game of the series. They were a wall on the ice and had very few breakdowns while keeping the high powered Penguins in check. Hats off to them for an outstanding series!!

Finally, hats off to the Flyers fans that had “The Well” rocking every game from the start of the game to the finish. Kate Smith and Lauren Hart can do that to you if you need a boost.

Bring on the next opponent, the Penguins are history, whoever they are! The Flyers will be ready!!

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

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

In Philadelphia Flyers on April 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

In today’s “View from the Philly Pressbox” we look at the Penguins, 3-2, closely played, Game 5 of the 1st Round series. The Flyers now lead the series 3-2 as the series comes back to the Wells Fargo Center for a Sunday noon game.

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. The team that has scored first has lost all five games of this series. The Flyers jumped out first with a power play goal by Matt Carle at the 11:45 mark of the 1st period. The Penguins bounced right back with a power play goal of their own when Steve Sullivan scored at 14:51 with Braydon Coburn in the box serving a mystery interference penalty. Numerous replays couldn’t find the penalty. The Flyers came right back with their second power play goal of the period when Scott Hartnell scored at 17:35, finishing up a perfect set-up from Danny Briere and Claude Giroux.

The period was very well played by both teams. Both teams were on defensive lock down with the Flyers leading in shots on goal, 7-6. The offensive fireworks we’d seen throughout the series are finished. Ilya Bryzgalov was playing well and the Flyers had gotten off to the good start they needed.

 Ilya Bryzgalov – Bryzgalov bounced back from his awful Game 4 with a decent showing. He made several big saves with the game on the line early in the 3rd period. Two of the Penguins goals were defensive break downs that allowed Penguins players to shoot lasers from in close that Bryz had no chance to stop. Overall, we feel, he played fairly well, stopping 20 of 23 shots. Bryz effort was overshadowed by the outstanding effort from the games #1 star Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury saw 26 shots, turning back 24 of them. He made several big saves in the final 10 minutes of the game as the Flyers desperately buzzed the net. It was a decent game by Bryzgalov, but advantage Fleury in Game 5. The Flyers need Bryz to be equally as good if not better in Game 6.

Stay Healthy – James Van Riemsdyk was back in the lineup after missing a good part of the season with various injuries, most recently a broken foot. JVR saw only 7:31 seconds of ice time in his first game back.

The big injury news was the loss of Nick Grossman. Grossman is a big, strong, experienced defenseman that has been a major part of the Flyers success. Grossman is listed as day-to-day with concussion like symptoms; however, he didn’t make the trip to Pittsburgh. Grossman is day-to-day at this point.  Due to the injury to Grossman, Peter Laviolette had to make serious decisions on his defensive pairings. He went “all-in” with Carle, 29:40 seconds of ice time, Coburn, 29:11 second and Kimmo Timonen, 25:01 seconds. As a result of the “Big 3” playing almost half of the hockey game Eric Gustafsson, activated to replace Grossman, saw only 11:51 minutes of ice time while Andreas Lilja played just 7:09 seconds and Pavel Kubina 6:52 seconds. This was a huge risk by Laviolette, especially with the short turnaround between a Friday night game and a Sunday noon game. If Grossman can return for Sunday’s game the minutes can be spread out more. Tired players make mistakes and the Flyers cannot afford mistakes at this point in the series.

Staying out of the penalty box will be critical. The Flyers did a good job staying out of the penalty box. They were called for three minor penalties in the game. One of them resulted in a Pittsburgh goal. The Penguins were called for five minors that resulted in two Flyers goals. The referees, Paul Devorski and Dan O’Rourke, let the teams play on both ends of the ice. Both teams were very disciplined, for the most part, while playing tight defense in spite of some wide open offense. They also kept Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin off the score sheet. Malkin had 4 shots on goal in 21:14 seconds of ice time while Crosby had 2 shots in 20:05 second of work.

Special Teams remain critical to the playoffs. The Flyers had a slight advantage in Game 5 but couldn’t get one past Fleury on their only opportunity in the 3rd period in spite of several in-close opportunities. Briere had the best opportunity with a wide open top of the net but couldn’t get the puck over the pads of Fleury.

The biggest improvement the Flyers need to make in Game 6 is in their five-on-five play. The Flyers cannot wait for power play situations to score. For the second game in a row, the Flyers’ only offensive production came from the power play. They have not scored an even-strength goal in 139 minutes, 33 seconds. As Hartnell said following the game, “Five-on-five, we got badly outplayed, badly outscored, now we’ve got to regroup.”

Our prediction has been the Flyers in 6 games and we’re still on it. The series is now being played as playoff hockey that includes close, tight checking, discipline, good defense, good goaltending, some wide open offense and special teams. We stated in our “View from the Philly Pressbox” – Game 4 post the “The Flyers need to play well in Game 5 in Pittsburgh. Of course, we want them to win; however, what we need to do is play good, tough, discipline hockey as they have done in the first three games and there’s a good chance they could close out the series.” The Flyers did that. They will make the necessary adjustments and will win the series on Sunday.

I’d rather be ahead 3 games to 2 and coming home than trailing 3 game to 2 and going on the road. The Flyers are still in command of the series and will win.

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

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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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DON’T PANIC FLYERS FANS!!

In Philadelphia Flyers on February 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Flyers fans lets stress one thing as we suffer through the past month – DON’T PANIC. Easier said than done since the team has gotten 4 wins plus a shootout win and 6 loses plus 3 more shootout loses since January 14. That’s a total of 28 possible points. The Flyers have only earned only 12. The goaltending continues to be erratic. Injuries are still a major problem and there seems to be some frustration mounting among the players, Kimmo Timonen.

We all have to admit that the last month has produced some ugly games including big losses to the Rangers twice, the Devils and the Islanders. A big problem is falling behind early and having to play catch-up. This team just doesn’t seem to have that kind of firepower at even strength and seems to be shorthanded a lot more than they are on the power play. So was does coach Peter Laviolette need to do? Keep the troops from imploding inside the dressing room and get players healthy for the playoffs. If we’ve learned anything in the last few years in all sports it’s about being hot at the end of the season and in to the playoffs. When the Flyers made their latest run to the Stanley Cup Finals they didn’t make the playoffs until winning a shootout in the last game of the season. We watched the St. Louis Cardinals come to town on fire down the regular season stretch and beat the heavily favored Phillies and go on to win the World Series. The Dallas Mavericks were not better than the Miami Heat the entire season but they were in the NBA Finals on the way to the championship. The same can be said for the New York Giants who had to win the last week of the season to take their 9-7 record to the playoffs only to whip everyone they played to win the Super Bowl, and going back a few years, how many times did we see Martin Brodeur stand on his head in the playoffs and carry his teams.

With that said, the team is still 2nd in the Atlantic Division, but losing ground to the Rangers, behind by 7 points right now and they are last in goals allowed in the Atlantic but they are still 3rd overall in points in the Eastern Conference. Another reason not to panic! There are 26 games left on the schedule so, in my opinion, they have 12-14 games to get it together and hit stride for the last 12-14 games heading in to the playoffs. They need to continue to get healthy. The young legs of Claude Giroux, Matt Read and Sean Couturier must stay strong as they go in to the longest season of their careers. On the opposite end Jaromir Jagr, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell must continue to play well and get healthy. The defense must get better across the board so Timonen, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn aren’t required to play so many minutes. Most importantly a goaltender needs to stand up and be counted. Ilya Bryzgalov is 19-11-6 with a 2.78 goals against average. Sergie Bobrovsky is 12-7-1 with a 2.90 GGA. Those stats will not win a Stanley Cup.

Remember this, as hard as it is to do, the season is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Many coaches break the schedule in to segments and try to win those segments while shuffling players, fighting injuries, fighting team and player scoring slumps and yes, goaltender slumps. The Flyers still have plenty of time to pull it together and get hot in time for the playoffs. From there we make our run!!!

GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD HOCKEY….Gene Hart

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