Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bean Town Blues

As I try to muddle the sounds of my tearful sobs from waking the dog after a second consecutive postseason defeat, I begin to ponder why it is that the Flyers are in a two games to none series hole.

Is it because they're being outworked by the Bruins? It can't be, right? I mean that's exactly how the Flyers beat New Jersey in the first round. They out worked, out hit, and eventually out won the Devils. They beat NJ to every loose puck by out-hustling them. Philadelphia was willing to take the hit to make the play; something the Devils didn't seem to be willing to do.

Well then how is it that Boston is up 2-0 with what seems like inferior offensive and defensive talent? Brian Boucher has played solidly in the first two games (except for the Bruins' second goal in game two--a definite softie) and Tuukka Rask surely hasn't been Jaroslav Halak in net.

Take a look at both of Boston's game-winning goals in this series...both can be considered quite lucky. Marc Savard's goal in game one was a puck bouncing on edge that somehow hit his blade at the right angle and shot up past Boucher on the short side. Milan Lucic's game-winner in game two was a puck that bounced high up in the air and Lucic happened to turn around and golf the puck past Boucher on the left post.

These may have been lucky outcomes, but what got the Bruins in the situation to score these lucky goals was anything but. In overtime of the first game, Boston was on a delayed penalty because the Flyers were forced to take a penalty due to the fact that Philadelphia couldn't get the puck out of their own zone. And the same thing happened in game two--the Flyers failed to clear the puck out of the defensive zone and the puck ended up on Lucic's stick and eventually in the back of the net.

If the Flyers want to have any chance of coming back in this series, they are going to need to win more one-on-one, one-on-two battles along the sideboards and work towards getting more pucks deep in the Bruins zone. They're going to need to stay out of the penalty box and show Boston that they're not going to ever give up on a play. And if they don't do this and they continue to let the Bruins control the pace of play, the Flyers are going to be doing more tee shots than slap shots.

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