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Two Teams, One Bench

As Jeremy Roenick put it in yesterday’s post-game show, “The Flyers need to put together an entire 60 minutes of hockey.” He’s right. Besides the deciding game last series, the Flyers haven’t played a complete three periods of hockey since the playoffs began. Last night couldn’t have been a more perfect example. What we witnessed last night was two different Flyers teams playing in the same game.


The first ten minutes of the game was some of the most exciting Flyers hockey I’ve watched all year. No Devil could touch the puck without being hit. The forecheck was intimidating. The Devils were back on their heels. And when Matt Read scored less than 3 minutes into the game, things were looking positive. Now, not only did they have the Devils’ defense backed up, but they had Brodeur doing a little thinking, as well. At the end of the first period, the Flyers took a 1-0 lead into the locker room. But their play made it feel as though it was a 3-0 lead.

Then came the second period. And a continuation of the first period would have done wonders for the Flyers’ confidence, and would have had an inverse effect on the Devils’ confidence. But it didn’t quite turn out that way. The Flyers thought they would come out to the same Devils team that started the game. They didn’t. The Devils came out and played the way the Flyers played in the first, except better. No Flyer could touch the puck without being hit. And it flustered the Flyers. They didn’t know how to beat it. The defense was being pressured with the puck and every passing and shooting lane was being closed down. It took over 18 minutes of play for the Flyers to get their first shot; and it was not a quality shot. The buzzer finally sounded. The Flyers escaped the period still leading 1-0, thanks completely to Ilya Bryzgalov.

Anyone watching this game knew the Flyers wouldn’t come out that flat in the third. There’s no way a team doesn’t come out fired up after being embarrassed like that on home ice, but they did. The Flyers came out just as pathetic as they did in the second period. They were beat to every puck, out-hit, out-played, out-matched. Only this period, Bryzgalov couldn’t hold off another onslaught of shots. The Devils ended up putting three pucks past Bryz, followed by one empty netter. The end result, a 4-1 Devils lead and a tied series heading back to New Jersey. But even worse, a huge swing of momentum toward the Devils’ side.

Tomorrow night is a different night. It is in New Jersey, but that isn’t too much of a worry for the Flyers. They ended the regular season with the best road record and have performed well in the three road games they’ve played in this year’s playoffs. With the play of Bryzgalov finally starting to pick up, all the Flyers have to do is listen to J.R. and put together a complete game of hockey.

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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