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Flyers Advance to Semifinals

With a 5-1 win Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Flyers have done what no one in the hockey world would have guessed; they knocked the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs. When looking at the regular season statistics, the Flyers defeating the Pens doesn’t seem so far-fetched. But although the two teams were only separated in the standings by five points, the Penguins were a much hotter team down the stretch. Not only were they hot, they were getting some of their star players back from injury. Everything seemed to be falling into place for the Pens, which is why many analysts predicted them to hoist the cup this year. One little problem: the Flyers have heart.

 

With this series win, the Flyers have proven that big names can’t guarantee you a win. The biggest name on the Flyer’s roster is Chris Pronger, who hasn’t played since Nov. 19th. Another big name on the Flyers is Claude Giroux, but before the start of this season he was just your average NHL forward, in an outsider’s eye. And the final big name, Ilya Bryzgalov, has not played like a big name player; at least not consistently. Though Giroux was an absolute animal throughout this series, he was the only player expected to do so.

One of the players not expected to shine: Sean Couturier. Not only did he step up offensively, but he was given the responsibility of stopping the league’s leading scorer in Evgeni Malkin. For a rookie to be given this responsibility is huge. And he came up huge, ending the series with a +3 rating while holding Malkin to just 3 goals in a series that saw a total of 56. Another player who stepped up was Max Talbot. Although Flyers fans would have loved to see him put more than 3 pucks in the net against his old team, he played a huge defensive role being on a line with Couturier; and he exceled as well, ending the series with a +5 rating. One more player who was iffy when it came to expectations was Danny Briere. Mr. Playoffs showed up, as he does every year, but it was a toss-up on whether or not he would be able to this year after ending the regular season on a lengthy drought.

There are, of course, more players who contributed, but the list is too long naming each player’s positives. The main reason the Flyers were able to take care of the Penguins the way they did was because every player put their all into each shift…and it helped that Marc-Andre Fleury was terrible. But let’s stick with the size of the fight in the Flyer’s locker room. It was huge. It carried onto the ice and it showed.

As far as next round goes, we just have to wait. In a perfect world, the Senators would beat the Rangers, the Panthers would beat the Devils, and the Bruins would beat the Capitals, leaving the Flyers playing the Panthers. The Flyers were 3-1 against the Panthers this year with the one loss being by only one goal. I like that matchup. But now we’ll just have to sit back and watch other teams beat each other up for the next few days until round 2 is determined. Don’t mind if I do.

John Feldman

John Feldman

Avid Flyers fan, former hockey player, and current drinker. I'm 27 years old and I still act like I'm 12. I've chosen to watch regular season Flyers games over work, girlfriends, special family occasions, and proper hygiene. And when the playoffs start...well I'm sure you can imagine. It's no wonder I'm still single, unemployed, and living with my parents. But until something comes along and changes my opinion about the Flyers (nothing ever will), I'm totally cool with it. By the way, I wrote a book. It has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Unsuccessful-John-Feldman/dp/1469982269/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342974305&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+be+unsuccessful (I don't know how to hyperlink it. I'm not too smart.)
John Feldman

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