Posts Tagged ‘NHL playoffs’

What the Flyers must do tonight to win

May 4th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | 1 Comment | Filed in Flyers, General, Hockey, TalkSportsPhilly

In game 2 we saw a much different Flyers team then the one that played in game 1. They were much more aggressive and not afraid to fire the puck at the net. They finished with two team postseason records,22 shots in the 3rd period, and 54 shots in the game. Still it was not enough, Tim Thomas sparkled in net on Monday night which sets up tonight’s game as a must win for the orange and black.

The Flyers have to come out and be just as aggressive tonight. An early goal would be the perfect start. If Boston can gain the momentum early it will keep the TD Bank Center rocking, which makes it difficult for any team to win in. The road teams have had quite a bit of success in these playoffs so far. Last night both road teams won game 3 which can give the Flyer faithful some extra hope. This is also a team that for some reason played better on the road than at home this season. This again goes along with the theory that they play much better when they are in a situation that does not favor them. Hence why they always play better when they are down.

While the Flyers did outplay the Bruins in game 2, there were some long stretches where the Bruins controlled play in the Flyers zone. When Bobrovsky came in to relieve Boucher in the second the Bruins dominated the play. If it wasn’t for Bobs stand up play in those last six minutes the Flyers would have found themselves down 3-2 going into the 3rd. Tonight the Flyers have to avoid getting caught in there own zone. There can’t be any lazy passes or stretches, because if there are the Bruins will find a way to capitalize.

Perhaps most importantly tonight the Flyers have to figure out a way to score on Tim Thomas. Even though he was fantastic in net, the Flyers had more than enough opportunities to put the biscuit in the basket. Zherdev had the best look of the night, but just couldn’t flip the puck over the leg pad of Thomas. Briere did have a fantastic look at the very end of the 3rd period, however he did not see the puck until it was well behind him, I think he was surprised that it bounced out to him like it did.

Prediction – If the Flyers can come out and take the crowd out of the equation it will make the task at hand a little bit easier. There can be no bad stretches, or lethargic play. If the Flyers can play a full 60 minute game then the series will stand at 2-1 after tonight, but if they let up just a little bit, then they will be looking at the same fate of last year.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , ,

Flyers-Bruins, Preview & Predictions

April 30th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | 2 Comments | Filed in Flyers, Hockey

Welcome to the time warp known as the Eastern Conference semifinals. While it might not be the exact calendar date, it was on the final Saturday of April last year that the Flyers and Bruins began their Eastern Conference semifinal series. While we all know how that series turned out, this year’s series promises to be just as thrilling, compelling, and hopefully not as worrisome. Though if the regular season was any indication, the Flyers may have a tougher time than they did against Buffalo.

The Flyers come into this series with their leading goal scorer of the regular season, Jeff Carter, on the injury list. He is hopeful to return at some point, but probably won’t be back until game 4 at the earliest of this series. By coming back I mean actually active on the ice, while we may see him earlier on in the series, he will probably be a shadow of himself like he was last year when he came back early from injury.

Even without Carter in the lineup, this is still a very powerful offense that can find efficiency from multiple sources. James van Riemsdyk had a coming out party in the first round. He scored four goals in the series and recorded the most amount of shots compared to anyone else in the playoffs. Danny Briere had six goals in against his former team. Briere has had more playoff points than anyone else since the lockout, he has found a way to raise his game at the time when you need it the most. Claude Giroux was very quiet in the scoring department in the first series, look for him to turn it around against the Bruins

The Bruins come in with some fire power on the offensive side of the ice. Chris Kelly and Nathan Horton led the team with 3 goals in the first round series. Boston’s most dynamic scorers, Milan Lucic and Patrice Burgeron can give the Flyers fits at times. And former flyer Marc Recchi always finds a way to make a play when he needs to.

With loss comes some gain, and the Flyers have gotten a huge boost, especially in the power play from the returning Chris Pronger. With the couple days off since the Sabres series to heal, Pronger should return to the ice time that we are used to seeing him play. He averaged just over 28 minutes  in the playoffs last season.

(more…)

Tags: , ,

Thoughts Before Game 7

April 26th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Comments Off on Thoughts Before Game 7 | Filed in Flyers, Hockey

– While I was worried about every shot that he faced in overtime of game 6, I have total  confidence in Brian Boucher tonight. He is a grizzled veteran that knows the significance of this  game, but also knows how to handle the pressure. Even if his track record in game 7s arn’t that  great (he lost in game 7 of the 2000 Eastern conference finals to the Devils).

– The Wells Fargo center will become unglued if the Flyers can score early on, which I believe they will, however the longer and longer the game remains tied or if the Flyers are behind, the more uneasy the crowd will become, I’m sure that the announcers won’t forget to mention it.

-If the Flyers can score on more than one power play tonight they will win. We all know how ineffective the power play has been in this series, but a team that has this much offensive firepower it has to turn around soon, hopefully tonight. The Flyers have proven that they can score during even strength with almost ease at times, it is the power play that is key.

– The Sabres have to be contained. In the two shutouts and in game 6, the Sabres were able to gain control of the momentum after losing it, something that the Flyers do not normally give up after they have fought to get it back. This is a very young team that is playing above their means right now, when the momentum will finally run out is a total guess, but the Flyers have to try and take control as soon as the puck drops.

-Do not shoot the puck low on Ryan Miller. Though he has given up quite a few goals in this series, he hasn’t given up any goals close to the ice. When the Flyers have pressure near him he does a great job of staying low to the ice and making himself look huge. Numerous times the Flyers have tried to jam the puck into the net and it does not work. You have to shoot high on him if you want to score.

(more…)

Tags: , , , ,

It All Comes Down To This

April 25th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Comments Off on It All Comes Down To This | Filed in Flyers, General, Hockey

All of the trash talking, all of the goalie changes, and all of the amazing play between the Flyers and the Sabres will come to an end on Tuesday night. Who will be victorious remains to be seen, but just remember that we are talking about a Game 7 after going through three goaltenders and being down 2-0 in Game 6.

Early on, what worried me and probably many others while watching Game 6 on Easter Sunday wasn’t just  that the Flyers were down 2-0, but that they were outplaying the Sabres and still down 2-0.  Halfway through the first period, Ryan Miller faced 10 shots while Michael Leighton faced 4 and on the 5th he gave up the second goal.  The first goal he gave up was not his fault. The shot from Rob Niedermayer surprised Leighton, he didn’t think that the shot would be going to his short side. The other two goals should have never crossed the goal line; Leighton was just not ready to start Game 6.

Nevertheless, we got to see Boucher shine in another relief appearance.  I think it’s safe to say that any kind of sustained pressure that Boucher has to face in Game 7 will make everyone that is watching hold their breath.

Even though he only played 4 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time, it was nice to see Chris Pronger out there.  He is obviously not 100 percent and just trying to play through the broken hand that sidelined him for five weeks. H is presence can only help the Flyers, though he needs to not take any bad penalties.  I know he was cross-checked before he committed a slashing penalty, but he has to be the one to initiate the hit, not retaliate because the refs usually only see the retaliation.

I would have loved to been in the locker room when Danny Briere gave the speech during the intermission of the second period. Whatever Patrick Kaleta said to Briere and Hartnell, it was not the wisest choice.  Briere raised the level of his play and could be the difference maker in Game 7.

(more…)

Tags: , , , ,

DO NOT PANIC

April 23rd, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Comments Off on DO NOT PANIC | Filed in Flyers, General, Hockey

This is not a time to worry, nor panic. The Flyers are staring down a possible elimination in game  6 of their Eastern conference quarterfinals series against the Sabres. Game 5 had everything you  could possibly imagine, besides a Flyers win.

– I’ll start off with the goalie situation that has been the talk of the town since immediately after  last night’s game. Expect Michael Leighton to start tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the HSBC arena. Yes he  has only started one game this year (a 7-4 whooping of the Kings), but Laviolette trusts Leighton.  It is much harder to trust Boucher after those two softies that he gave up last night. The first one  wasn’t that bad, it was a very odd angle and got a fortunate bounce off of the side of his leg pad,  however the second goal was just awful. No reason that his left leg pad was not attached to the  post, you just can’t give those up especially in the playoffs.

-Coach Laviolette has really backed himself in a corner here. If the Flyers lose game 6 there will be people coming for his head. He will be the person that is blamed, not the goaltenders.

– Getting back to Leighton, I thought he was decent after replacing Boucher. He looked lost on some rebounds and was unsure where the puck was a times when it was behind the net, but he made the saves and that is the key. The troubles for Leighton last year were rebounds and his five hole. We saw that he is still not ready to defend the rebounds last night, besides the game winner there was a puck just sitting in the crease that he did not see after it hit his pad. I was certain that the game would be over four minutes before it was; Briere was able to scoop that puck up and clear it. I thought the Flyers played a lot better when he was back there. They played with more confidence and looked like the team that made the run to the finals last year.

– The Flyers are a team that is built to completely take over a hockey game, that’s why they play so well when they are down a couple goals. They play much more aggressive, but it is a skilled aggression. Giroux makes the one extra move that is needed, Carle or Coburn make that big hit. The Flyers just play so much better when they have to.

(more…)

Tags: , , , ,

Things to Watch for Tonight in Game 4

April 20th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Comments Off on Things to Watch for Tonight in Game 4 | Filed in Flyers, Hockey

Game 4 Preview

So far every game in this series has been a tight knit battle and don’t expect anything different  tonight. HSBC Arena will be rocking, especially early on, so look for the Sabres to come out firing  early.

It will be tough for Brian Boucher to match the performance that he had in game 3. He needs the  defense to play better tonight.  Boucher’s play will ultimately determine if the Flyers take a three  games to one lead.

Danny Briere, Jeff Carter, and James van Riemsdyk  will score goals tonight.  I would love to see  Briere rip a slap shot over Sabres goaltender Ryan Miler. Briere made a living off of that shot in  the playoffs last year. Jeff Carter will continue his emergence back to an elite player status and van Riemsdyk will be rewarded for his great play so far in this series.

There will be another fight tonight, I’m not sure who the participants will be, but there has been some big hits and some cheap shots taken after plays. This type of gritty play will continue tonight. I’m tempted to say that Carcillo will be the Flyer that gets the 5 minute major, but it could be Hartnell again.

(more…)

Tags: , , ,

Tough Win for Flyers in Game 3; Why Zherdev Needs to Start

April 19th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | 1 Comment | Filed in Flyers, Football, General

Last night’s victory over the Sabres in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals was extremely difficult. The Buffalo Sabres countered the Flyers outbursts all the way until Kimmo Timonen slammed the door shut with an empty netter. This was the best game that the Flyers have played the entire series. There were times when they were outplayed, there isn’t a question about that, but remember this is a team that has constantly been adjusting since Chris Pronger has been out. It looks like they have finally started to turn that corner.

-Brian Boucher was the first star for the Flyers last night. There were many times that Buffalo found themselves with the puck right in front of the net and Bouch was there to make the save. The only bad play that he made all night was the rebound off of the blocker that lead to Gerbe scoring the second goal. He needed to knock that puck down, not throw it out. Other than that he was fantastic.

-He also made one of the most heads up plays I have ever seen in the playoffs. The Flyers were getting burned by the Buffalo power play early on in that third period, because of the two Timonen penalties. A shot was fired towards the net and hit Boucher in the mask, consequently breaking one of the straps. Boucher realized this and flicked his mask off, said that it was pulled off and was broken, an automatic dead play whistle was blown and the Flyers got a 2 minute break that they desperately needed at that point. I may not have agreed with having him in net for this game, but those are plays that a veteran makes and you need those in the playoffs.

– Nickoly Zherdev  should play at least the rest of this series, if not the entire playoffs. He is a better fit for the Richards, Versteeg line. On that third goal it was a total team effort. Versteeg fired a pass across ice to Richards who fired a pass to Zherdev for a one timer to a wide open net. Nodl is not the scorer that Zherdev can be. Versteeg isn’t a scorer and Richards can be, but so far in this series he has shown no signs of life in the scoring department, but has been able to find people who are open.

-It was nice to see Jeff Carter score a goal last night, more  importantly on the power play. Getting the power play going will determine if this team can make a run to the Stanley Cup. Carter needs to start shooting the puck more, there are more than enough people (Giroux, Leino, Richards) to get the puck in the zone, but you need that guy who can put it home. Carter can be that guy.

(more…)

Tags: , , , ,