Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Devils

22
Jan
11

FLYERS: NHL’s Best Loses to League’s Worst

Johan Hedberg (5-10-1) for the New Jersey Devils vs. Brian Boucher (11-5-2) for the FLYERS

1ST PERIOD

Henrik Tallinder scores through a screen just over five minutes into the game to put the suddenly red-hot Devils in front 1-0.

– Patrik Elias nets his 11th of the season through Brian Boucher’s five-hole. Mike Fayne and Brian Rolston picked up the assists.

 

2ND PERIOD

– James van Riemsdyk (12) redirects a Claude Giroux centering pass to pull the Flyers within one with less than a minute left in the period. Mike Richards with the other assist.

 

3RD PERIOD

– After the Flyers desperately pulled Brian Boucher in favor of the extra attacker, Patrik Elias slipped past the Flyers defense and deposited the puck into the empty net, giving the Devils an insurmountable 3-1 lead with less than a minute left.

 

Devils 3, Flyers 1

Flyers were 0 for 3 on the PP, Devils were 1 for 4.

Shots were 27-22 in favor of the Flyers.

01
Jun
10

FLYERS: Don’t Stop Believin’

Who could blame you right now if you’re doubting the Philadelphia Flyers?

Really, who could blame you? Who could say that your thought process was either “way off” or “discombobulated”? Who could tell you that this current series is by no means over?

Who could make you believe?

How about the Flyers themselves?

Remember back to game 82 of the long and grueling regular season that comes along with participation in the National Hockey League. The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers squared off in a “Win and You’re In” game at the Wachovia Center. The Rangers scored first, and looked in control early. If your thought process involved the Flyers sinking into an abyss, and faltering at that point in time, who could’ve blamed you? However, the Flyers kept working. The Orange and Black proved to live up to their season mantra, for perhaps the first time all season, sustaining a “Relentless” attack against the Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. In the third period, when the hope was likely the dimmest for many Flyers fans, the Flyers shined light heavily back into the equation. Matt Carle roofed a rebound off his backhand and into the net to even the game at 1-1. The Flyers had always believed, and now the fans had reason to again. Still, a 1-1 draw ended up remaining on the scoreboard until the game headed into overtime. In an overtime filled with tension and anticipation, heart rates climbed when the only buzzer that sounded during the frame was that signaling a trip to a shootout.

A shootout; placing the entirety of your playoff hopes against arguably the best goaltender in the league today. The Rangers had Lundqvist, the Flyers had Woonsocket, Rhode Island native Brian Boucher. Who could’ve blamed the majority of the Flyer faithful for having their doubts? Danny Briere certainly couldn’t have. Yet he helped ease the suspense when he sent Lundqvist’s jockstrap somewhere onto I-76 on a deke as the first shooter to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Still, why was there any reason to believe in Brian Boucher and his ability to stop at least two breakaways at that point to send the Flyers to the postseason? There wasn’t much of a reason at all, to be honest. But Boucher stood tall in his first attempt, a stop on try from Erik Christensen.

Boosh played hero in Game 82

And then, when Claude Giroux scored in the third round to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the shootout (P.A. Parenteau had beaten Boucher in round two), there still couldn’t have been many who believed in Boosh to stop sniper Olli Jokinen and save the game and the season for Philadelphia. However, that’s just what he did, and they Flyers earned the trip to the postseason that had come so hard, but felt so rewarding. Brian Boucher believed the Flyers could do it, and so did his teammates.

Next up came a showdown in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the second-seeded New Jersey Devils. And after hanging on by a thread to win Game One, the Flyers were defeated late in Game Two, as New Jersey evened up the series. Who would blame you for doubting the Flyers then? The Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk and seemingly new life in a series they were favored to win. Who could’ve blamed the Flyers for folding and taking solace in the fact that they’d just been fortunate enough to make the playoffs in the first place? Anyone but the Flyers themselves, it seemed. Of course, the rest is Flyers history. Danny Carcillo was the overtime hero in Game Three to get the series back in Philadelphia’s favor. The Devils never won another game.

Simon Gagne silenced the Boston crowd with his PP goal in Game 7

Then came a semi-final series with the Boston Bruins. The Flyers quickly fell into an 0-3 hole, and also fell behind 1-0 in Game Four. Why was there reason to believe that this Flyers team could come back? How could Michael Leighton, ice cold and coming off a high ankle sprain, fill in strongly in place of Brian Boucher, who went down with a pair of sprained knees in Game Five? How were the fans, and even the Flyers themselves, able treat an 0-3 deficit as if it were a 3-3 deadlock for four consecutive games? It would’ve been easy to keel over and die then, it really would’ve. Instead, the Flyers decided they’d rather make history. Simon Gagne decided he’d come back early from a broken toe and join them. The Orange and Black took four straight from the Black and Gold to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only NHL teams to win a series after being down 0-3.

What if Ian didn’t believe in sacrifice? What if Broad Street didn’t fight back?

The Eastern Conference Finals were a whirlwind in themselves, with the Flyers seemingly coasting to wins in Games One and Two. But after the scene shifted to Montreal and the Habs blew the doors off the Flyers in the process en route to a 5-1 rout in Game Three, who would ever have expected the Flyers to come out and dominate in the fashion they did on their way to a 3-0 shutout and a 3-1 series lead in Game Four? Ian Laperriere and Jeff Carter did. And so did the teammates and coaches they returned to join in Game Four after missing the previous three games of the Conference Finals and the entire Semi Finals series with what had previously been thought to have been season ending injuries (Broken orbital bone and brain contusion, and a broken foot, respectively).

What if, when the series shifted to Philadelphia, Mike Richards took a chance to close the series and snatch a certain Prince of Wales at home for granted? What if he didn’t rekindle images of the determination of Bobby Clarke when he tossed Tomas Plekanec out of the way en route to setting up a Jeff Carter empty-netter to send the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final?

What if the Flyers, a team burdened with the expectations of bringing a Stanley Cup to Philadelphia, simply wrote this season off as “not being our year”? What if they faltered in the limelight of the Stanley Cup Final, and fell to the Chicago Blackhawks convincingly?

Far from it. The Flyers arguably could have a 2-0 lead in this series going into tomorrow night’s Game Three at Wachovia Center. Instead their down 0-2 to the Blackhawks, and face a must win situation in Game Three to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive. Who would blame any Flyers fan right now for having his or her doubts? Most wouldn’t.

I would.

Mike Richards and the Flyers can get right back into this series tomorrow night

This Flyers team knows they could be up 2-0 in this series right now. The Blackhawks know they could be down 0-2 in this series. The Flyers know they let two winnable games slip away in Chicago, so who’s to say that they won’t win two winnable games here in Philadelphia? And if they win Game Three, how much of a confidence boost will it give this franchise and this city, which collectively haven’t seen a victory in a Stanley Cup Final game since 1987? If you doubt the Philadelphia Flyers’ ability to do the unthinkable now, then shame on you. If you will be at the Wachovia Center tomorrow night and intend on sitting on your hands in nervous anticipation, don’t go and make a fortune selling your tickets. There are so many Flyers fans right now that would die at the opportunity to be inside the Orange Crush of the Wachovia Center tomorrow night. I’ll be there. I’ll be loud. And anyone else in Orange better be right there beside me. Chicago’s strutted their stuff on home ice. They’ve brought the series to Philly needing two wins to the Flyers’ four to win the Cup.

I don’t give a crap. All I care about is tomorrow night and the Flyers getting back into this series. I care about that sea of Orange that will be so loud and boisterous, your television sets likely won’t do it justice because (as is the norm at the Wachovia Center in the playoffs) they’ll have to turn down crowd volume so you can hear the announcers. I care about Lauren Hart, and the great Kate Smith singing a certain song to make the roof shake on top of the Wachovia Center. I care about a strong first period – one that sets the tone and one that lets the Chicago Blackhawks know that there is absolutely no chance they are going to win a game in our building.

Most importantly, I care about a win.

The Flyers have been sporting orange tee-shirts in their dressing room this series that show a picture of the Stanley Cup and simply state: “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough”.

Let’s be real here – to the Flyers, with everything that’s happened to this team this year and all they’ve had to overcome both off and on the ice, there’s only one phrase that’s related to the one on their shirts that is even remotely justifiable:

“Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get the Cup”

Do I Believe?

You had better believe it.

05
May
10

FLYERS: A Must-Win Game Three? Count On Richie

For those of you who have read my posts on here or at my other site, “The Orange Crush“, one of the main things you probably know about me is that I’ve never been a fan of Mike Richards. I’ve thought he was many things so far throughout his tenure as a Flyer – immature, arrogant, selfish, and childish, to name a few – but one thing I never thought of when describing Richards was the term “Captain.”

Richie has given reason to believe he is this team's true "C"

Sure, he’s now in his second full season of wearing the “C” on his sweater, but I take personal judgement on all Flyers captains, whether it be fair or not. I believe all captains should be held to the “Bobby Clarke Standard” – a philosophy where you must be the heart and soul of your team and be ready to guide and lead them at every moment. Since Mike Richards had been given the “C”, I hadn’t seen an ounce of that “Bobby Clarke Standard,” although Clarke himself has said he’s seen some of himself in Richie. I didn’t see it last year, and I didn’t see much of it this regular season, but over the past month I have seen the Mike Richards that had been so often talked about. I’ve seen the Mike Richards that can take a team on his back and will them to victory. I’ve seen a team that has begun to look to #18 in times of dire need, and Richards respond with an excellent shift, check, or shot.

However, perhaps most importantly, I’ve seen a captain. And his name, for the first time ever to me, is Mike Richards.

These playoffs have showcased Richards at his absolute best. He’s been a phenom in the faceoff circle, and his offensive prowess has been absolutely mindblowing. His effort in the first round against New Jersey has translated heavily into his play during the current Semifinal series against Boston. Although he quite frankly doesn’t have much around him to work with, he has proved that at times he is capable of doing everything by himself. I’ve sat and marveled at times at the sight of Richards on the ice in recent weeks, and for the first time since he was named captain, I smile at the fact that due to his contract he’s basically a Flyer for life. Maybe it was the grudge I held against him, or maybe it was more emotion that I wanted from him, but I just never wanted to believe in Richie. Now, however, I’ve been put in a situation in which I don’t have a choice, and it’s been done so by the Captain himself. Richards’ play these playoffs has been nothing short of sensational, and he has literally kept the Flyers within striking distance in every playoff game they’ve competed in thus far.

Richards will lead the Flyers to a Game Three victory tonight

That is why I say confidently that I am not worried about tonight. The nerves will still be there throughout, and of course the possibility of falling down 3-0 to a team like the Boston Bruins is daunting, but that team does not have Mike Richards. And that team won’t have 20,000 screaming fans at their backs tonight. You can bet the Flyers will be extra charged to try and salvage their season with a victory, and you can also bet that Mike Richards will have something to say about the final score, as well as make a statement with his physical play. What I’ve loved most about Richards in this series is his lack of fear. He never backs down from a challenge, whether it be in the corner against the hard-hitting Johnny Boychuk, or being chased from behind by the oaf on skates, Zdeno Chara. Richards will need to take the ice tonight at the Wachovia Center with a purpose and a desire to win.

I believe he’ll have them both, and put the Flyers a step closer to evening up this series.

27
Apr
10

FLYERS: Playoff Opponent to Come Wednesday Night

The Philadelphia Flyers have been into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since defeating the New Jersey Devils last Thursday. They’ll finally find out where they will head for Game One of their Conference SemiFinal series on Wednesday night.

Briere won the Flyers' home-opener in OT vs. Washington this year

Of the four Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series’ that began two weeks ago, only one series continues to solider on. Coincidentally, that series has a direct correlation to the Flyers’ second round opponent. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators four games to two, and last night the Boston Bruins eliminated the Buffalo Sabres by the same count in Beantown. The Montreal Canadiens, however, would not die at the hands of the Washington Capitals, as they used Jaroslav Halak’s 50+save effort to force a decisive Game Seven Wednesday night in Washington.

The scenarios are simple, and for once, they don’t look too horrible for the Flyers and their fans. First of all, the most important point: the Boston win guarantees the Flyers will not face Pittsburgh in the second round. As far as Wednesday is concerned, here are the scenarios:

1) A Washington win in Game 7 means that the Flyers will travel to our nation’s captial for their Eastern Conference SemiFinals series. The Bruins will head to the Steel City to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2) A Montreal win in Game 7 means that the Flyers will head to Beantown to take on the Boston Bruins in the second round, while the Canadiens will head to the Pittsburgh and play the Penguins.

Will Round 2 feature a Winter Classic rematch?

…It’s hard to say which match-up would be better. Obviously, if the Capitals are to advance past the Habs, there stands a strong chance their offense may begin to catch fire – which could be a very bad situation for the Flyers. However, the struggles the Caps have had offensively could be amplified with the Flyers’ aggressive fore-check and strong penalty killing of late. If the Orange and Black need to go to Boston, the situation is fishy. In one respect, you’re certainly getting the worse of the two teams on paper between Washington and Boston. However, on the other hand, Boston plays a similar style to the Flyers and would be getting back both Marc Savard and Denis Seidenberg for round two, so they would have an added confidence boost, while the Flyers will play without two of their top five forwards in Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne.

It’s easy to speculate now, but that’s about all we can do. Caps-Flyers? Bruins-Flyers? One will happen, and it’ll be up for the Flyers to be ready for whichever team comes calling.

25
Apr
10

FLYERS: Round One Recap

The Philadelphia Flyers used a 3-0 victory in Game Five on Thursday night to oust the New Jersey Devils from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by a count of four games to one. The Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Series, in which the Devils were the East’s two-seed and the Flyers the East’s seventh, was the first series of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs to end, and to many it ended unexpectedly. The Flyers used an unbelievably solid defensive effort to shut down some of the best collection of forwards in the game today en route to the convincing victory. In the end, not even a ludicrous Ilya Kovalchuk Game Five guaranteed victory (a la Mark Messier) could save the Devils from their third first round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in as many years. With that being said, we’ll take one last look at this series, with a quick breakdown of four major points: 1)Series MVP, 2)Series Turning Point, 3)Why the Flyers won, 4)What Needs to Change in Round 2.

1) SERIES MVP: Chris Pronger, Defenseman.

First of all, I would completely understand the argument as to why Brian Boucher should be the MVP of this series. It’s understandable and he was as good as he’s ever been in a Flyers uniform en route to the team getting past their Jersey Turnpike nemeses. However, the impact of Chris Pronger on this series is simply not measurable. He did everything for the Orange and Black in Round 1: blocked shots, eliminated scoring chances, took the body to the Devils’ top forwards, and even contributed often on the score sheet in many different occasions. Coming into this series, many said that it was up the Flyers’ best players to lead by example, and Pronger did just that, as he propelled the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the second time in three seasons. One thing that will always resonate with me from this series is that after Ilya Kovalchuk guaranteed a Game Five win for the Devils on Wednesday, Chris Pronger responded, when asked what he thought about the guarantee, simply, “Talk is cheap.” Pronger, who has a Stanley Cup and multiple Gold Medals to his name, knows that on-ice performance outweighs off-ice chirping any day, and he proved that once again in this series.

2) SERIES TURNING POINT: Dan Carcillo’s Game Four Goal.

Many will point to Carcillo’s overtime goal as giving the Flyers the emotional and physical edge in the series, as it gave Philadelphia a 2-1 series lead and happened on their home ice. However, although the Flyers grabbed the lead in the series as a result of that goal, they grabbed a stranglehold as a result of Carci’s “weak” shot from below the circle in Game Four that slid through the legs of an unsuspecting Martin Brodeur and gave the Flyers a two goal cushion on home ice in the third period. At that point, in that game, the wheels began to come off for New Jersey. Only a goal down prior to Carcillo’s goal, there existed a nervous tension in the Wachovia Center that the Devils would strike and tie the game. However, Carcillo took the game into his hands just practicing in the game what Peter Laviolette had preached: get shots to the Devils net and at Brodeur’s feet. It worked, and the Flyers grabbed a 3-1 lead in a game that would eventually end up 4-1 in their favor. The Devils imploded afterwards, taking some horrible penalties and allowing the Flyers to grab a commanding three games to one series lead on New Jersey. We all know what happened in Game Five.

3) WHY THE FLYERS WON: Defense and Special Teams.

Cue the old cliché: “Defense wins championships.” The Flyers proved that testament to a “T” in this series by making what had the potential to be an explosive Devils power play absolutely non-existent in nearly each of the five games. The Flyers gave the Devils plenty of opportunities but operated under a tight forecheck system, and a high-pressure penalty kill. The Devils could rarely get set up, and even if they could get some sort of pressure going, a shot was almost always blocked by a Flyers defender or snatched up by Brian Boucher, without the chance for a rebound. Defensively, the Flyers did a great job of collapsing around Boucher, and forcing the Devils forwards to make something happen instead of letting things come to them. Defense may win championships, but if it weren’t for the Flyers’ special teams play as well, this series may not have been won so easily.

4)WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IN ROUND 2: Penalties, Penalties, Penalties.

The Flyers domination of this series is even more surprising given the fact that the Orange and Black seemingly had a constant parade to the penalty box going on that existed in each and every game. Whether the calls made sense or not (and most of the time, sense is not involved), the Flyers seemingly always had a man in the box. Their penalty kill bailed them out many a time in this series, but also proved to hurt them a bit in the long run: Simon Gagne will miss three weeks after breaking his big toe blocking a Brian Rolston slapper on the power play and Ian Laperriere left last night’s win after taking a Paul Martin slapshot directly to his face. Rumors amongst Flyers beat writers are now saying Lappy may need surgery. It’s assumed the Flyers opponent in round two will likely be the Washington Capitals. If that is in fact the case, I can tell you right now the Flyers stand no chance if they take as many penalties in that series as they have in this one. The Orange and Black took an astounding 37 trips to the penalty box in only five games, being shorthanded 32 times. That’s nearly seven powerplays a game for the opposition. Discipline will be key for the Flyers moving forward. You can only dance the line for so long in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get away with it.

23
Apr
10

FLYERS: Orange and Black Advance With 3-0 KO of Devils

And just like that, this series is over!

The Flyers, a team that few people gave a chance to come out of this round, let alone in convincing fashion, have done just that, defeating the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center last night by a score of 3-0, to eliminate the Devils from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Flyers won the two teams’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Series by a count of four games to one. Overall, the Flyers finished an astounding 9-2-0 against New Jersey in the regular season and playoffs combined this year. Clearly, the “upset” by the Flyers in the first round was no fluke.

Briere's first period goal got the Flyers off and running

Game Five began with a different Flyers team that had taken the ice for Game Four. Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne – two of the Flyers’ top five forwards – are out for the playoffs in Carter’s case, and at least until the last couple games of the Conference SemiFinals for Gagne. Without two of their big guns, the Flyers called upon Ville Leino and David Laliberte to take their spots and take care of this series in New Jersey. In turn, two players in particular needed to come with even more desire than they had already shown, and needed to make their presence felt at The Rock immediately. Those two men were Danny Briere and Claude Giroux, and boy, did they ever answer the bell.

After a stupid penalty by Danny Carcillo gave the Devils a powerplay not even thirty seconds into the game, it was up to the Flyers to kill off the Devils’ first real opportunity of the game. Thanks to some incredible goaltending from Brian Boucher in the game yet again, the Flyers were able to dodge an early bullet, and just a minute or so later got their first power play of the game. It didn’t take long for the Orange and Black to come through and put an uneasy feeling in both the Devils and their fans. Three players that had to be big for the Flyers came up huge on the first power play, as Mike Richards found Claude Giroux at the top of the circles who then made a spinning pass directly into the slot to a wide-open Danny Briere who did a nifty job of kicking the puck to his stick and redirecting the shot past Martin Brodeur for the early Philadelphia lead.

The Flyers and Devils shake hands after the Flyers won Game 5, 3-0

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead into the locker room, and in watching the game, the feeling started to abound that the next goal could either suck all the life out of the Devils if it was scored by someone in a white jersey, or it could give “Jersey’s Team” some newfound life were it scored by a Devils player. New Jersey certainly had their chances yet again, thanks to an early powerplay that came off a David Laliberte hook, and a scramble in front in the early stages of the second period saw a Zach Parise shot beat Brian Boucher but, fortunately for the Flyers, find it’s way to the post and stay clear from danger. The game remained at a score of 1-0 until Mike Richards and Claude Giroux were able once again to create havoc in the Devils’ zone. Richards did a great job of drawing the Devils defensemen towards him, and attempted to get a shot in on Martin Brodeur, but his attempt was thwarted as it was blocked by a defender. To the Flyers fortunes, however, the puck slowly slid back into the slot area, where a charging Giroux put everything he had behind a blistering slapshot that went in and out of the net so fast that Brodeur never had a chance, and few people realized it was a goal in the first place. After a quick review, the score moved to 2-0 Philadelphia, and a lot of anxious energy on the part of the Devils started to settle in.

The Flyers celebrate their series victory Thursday night

The predicament only got tougher for New Jersey when Dean McAmmond’s high stick drew blood on Arron Asham and resulted in a four-minute powerplay for the Flyers with just six and a half minutes to go in the second period. A Claude Giroux goal on the first half of the powerplay was the ultimate back-breaker for New Jersey, making the score 3-0 Flyers, and sending them on their way to the second round. The Devils were unable to mount any real type of attack in the third period, despite the Flyers continuing to make trips to the penalty box. Boucher held strong in goal and picked up his first shutout of these playoffs as the Flyers, somewhat convincingly, advanced to round number two.

Now, it’s time for the Flyers to heal up, and rest. They’ll be back on the ice this weekend most likely and Coach Peter Laviolette will be looking to stir up some chemistry amongst his new look lines, now that Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter are each out for extended periods of time. Some how, some way, this team has made it to the second round.

Amidst all the injuries, the questioning of leadership in the locker room, and even the amazing amount of inconsistency this team has shown all season, the Flyers have shown up when it matters most, and are now guaranteed at least four more games of hockey.

21
Apr
10

FLYERS: No Gagne, Carter for Game Five

When the Flyers look to wrap up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils, it will be without two of their top forwards.  Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter are each nursing foot injuries that will keep them out of action for at least game five.  Ville Leino will take Gagne’s spot, and rumors are saying David Laliberte, who spent the majority of the season in Adirondack, will take Carter’s spot tomorrow night.

Check out the Flyers’ Press Release here: CARTER, GAGNE OUT FOR GAME 5




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