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Flyers Tie Series in Penalty Riddled Game Two

The second meeting of the 2011 playoffs between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres was a much more belligerent affair than the first, with a 3-3 score, a fight, and Philadelphia’s goaltender pulled within the first fifteen minutes. The Flyers held on for the victory, though, and tied the series with a 5-4 win.

Coach Peter Laviolette opted to keep the line-up intact after game one’s loss, meaning that Chris Pronger was still too hurt to play and Nikolai Zherdev was still considered too risky for playoff hockey.

The Flyers offense sputtered at the start, but Claude Giroux got the ball rolling at the 4:00 mark after weaving through Buffalo’s defense and firing high on goaltender Ryan Miller.

An ill-timed roughing penalty on Scott Hartnell and a questionable hooking call on Kimmo Timonen shortly after presented Thomas Vanek the opportunity to tie the game with the man advantage. Sergei Bobrovsky, scrambling between the pipes, lost his ground and couldn’t stay positioned. In his defense, neither could his teammates.

“It was a little bit chaotic in the first,” said Sean O’Donnell. “It seemed like we worked hard for our [goals], and then we would get ourselves behind the eight ball with some bad penalties and some bad pinches.”

Dan Carcillo, whose presence in the line-up is regularly debated whenever Zherdev’s name is brought up, followed a strong start to the period with the third goal of the night, giving the Flyers the lead again. Kris Versteeg threw the puck through the crease and “Carbomb” stopped it with his skate, pushed it to his stick, and scored while pinned by the Sabres defense.

Although he isn’t what you’d call a “difference maker,” Carcillo has matured considerably over the last season and a half. He’s not the liability to the referees that he used to be and chipped in well tonight in a fourth line role. His goal easily falls into the category of what the team spoke about needing after game one- the second and third opportunities around the net.

“A goal like Danny Carcillo’s is a goal we’re going to have to score in the playoffs,” said O’Donnell. “McCormick, for them, got one in the 3rd period. It’s not a fancy goal. You just throw it through the middle, through the paint and just battle your guy. Whoever wins gets the goal. Danny’s goal, we need more of those kind, where you just go in, stop in front, wait for something, and bang away.”

The Sabres were soon awarded another powerplay and, for the second time in less than 10 minutes, Vanek scored. Bob was unable to corral the puck from the side of the net and no one could control Vanek, who hacked at the puck until he sneaked it through Bob’s pads.

Bobrovsky didn’t last much longer as a 3-on-1 caught the Flyers off guard and the Sabres took the lead for the first time. Sekera, holding on to the puck, waited until Bob went down in the butterfly and then roofed it over his shoulder. Bob, having let in 3 goals on 7 shots, was relieved by Brian Boucher.

James Van Riemsdyk, showing haters why he’s every bit the player that Patrick Kane is, tied it minutes later. Although Bob deserved to be pulled, it’s fair to point out that Miller also let in 3 goals on 9 shots by then.

The second period was marred by penalties for the Sabres, who paraded to the sin bin for 9:49 of the period. Though the mess that is the Flyers’ powerplay was only marginally successful (it was 1-for-10 on the night), it tired the Sabres out. Leino gave the Flyers the lead while his linemates teamed up for the 8th goal of the night, when Hartnell threw the puck on goal and it bounced off of Briere’s skate.

A too many men penalty called late in the second was only the first of a string of penalties that would plague the Flyers for the remainder of the game. The Flyers went shorthanded three more times in the third period, as the referees attempted to even up the calls made against the Sabres.

“To the ref’s defense, it was a very chippy game,” said Danny Briere. “It was a tough one to ref. They were put into a tough position… at the end of the night, it all evened out.”

In the end, Philadelphia skated away with the win, but neither team left the Wells Fargo Center with the momentum. Both games thus far have been decided by one goal, and each team has its own issues to deal with. For Philadelphia, it comes down to the powerplay and goaltending.

Laviolette wouldn’t comment about who his starter will be for game three, commenting, “We don’t have a starter, per se. Are you asking for the #1? We skirted that #1 question for the whole year. Yeah, we don’t talk about goaltenders.” Logic says that Laviolette will go with Boucher, but Bobrovsky has also been given opportunities to bounce back after tough losses, and the same may come into play here.

At the other end of the ice, Miller played an average game. His shutout in game one didn’t phase the orange and black.

“You have to give [Miller] credit,” said Danny Briere. “He was very good in game one, but if we keep taking 75 attempts on net every night, he’s not going to be able to save every single shot.”

For in-game updates and post-game video and quotes, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

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Profile photo of Josh Janet Posted by on Apr 16 2011. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

10 Comments for “Flyers Tie Series in Penalty Riddled Game Two”

  1. What a great game and a very important win for the Flyers.. Series back at even and now the Flyers need to win one of the next 2 up in Buffalo to get home Ice advantage back.. That 1st period reminded me on of the early games last year in the Stanly Cup Finals versus the Blackhawks were goals were being scored almost every other shift.. Boucher came in and settled the team down and played very well in replacing “Bobs”.. I would think BOucher will be the Goalie in game 3 and will probably start from here on out if he continues to play well

  2. Main problems
    1). We have a stable of #2 goalies and no #1
    2). Our captain is paid like a superstar, but too often plays like a 3rd liner
    3). Missing Pronger’s point shot on the power play

  3. Paulman, glad to hear the optimism return. Even though they didn’t win game one, I always remember back to the beginning of the 2009 playoffs, when the Flyers played like they didn’t give a damn against the Penguins until they had already dug themselves into a hole. This year, the compete level is there, if not all the pieces of the puzzle.

    Those pieces, of course, being Pronger and, as Kolchak said, a consistent #1. For what its worth, Bob could still start on Monday as a bounce back attempt by Lavi, but indications from today’s optional skate are that Boosh will be given the nod.

  4. If the Flyers play with the energy and passion as they did yesterday, they will be fine and will hopefully get Pronger back in another week or so to close out the Series,.. Game 3 will be a huge game and determine the momentum for the remainder of the Series..Lots of teams playing very well right now so each game and series will be a dogfight, as it should be, which is why the NHL Playoffs are probably the best type of Playoffs that determine a true Champion in all of Sports..

  5. Paul, what about your prediction that flyers lose series 4-2? Are you back from the dark side and for how long?

  6. Game 3 Winner will determines the Series Winner..
    I like the Sabres to win the game 4-2 and the Series 4-2 as predicted..
    If Flyers win Game 3, then a whole different series with Flyers winning in 7 ..

  7. I was at the game on Saturday and didn’t feel like it was Bob’s fault on those 3 goals (obviously he is the goalie, but…). I mean two of the goals were Vanek smashing and hacking the puck repeatedly without any defensemen to stop him and the 3rd goal was a 3 on 1 advantage while the Flyers were on the power play. I haven’t seen the goals on TV, so where they “soft” goals and that’s why Bob was pulled? Or was it a move to just settle the whole team down? Defense seemed to play much better after Boucher came in and offense worked harder to back check

  8. ***UPDATE***

    *****According to sources, Paulman has now re-adjusted his Flyers-Sabres prediction to the Flyers winning in 7*****

  9. ***UPDATE TO PAULMAN***

    ******It’s not a prediction on who wins if you keep changing your prediction after every game is played***

  10. I think the Flyers have found their legs now and have their mojo back and will put away the lesser talented Sabres in quick order now..Flyers need to improve their Special Teams and Winning Face-Offs if they are to beat the better teams like the Penquins,Capitals,Canadiens in the next Series..
    If they can get by Sabres while Pronger continues to get healthy and then get him back for next Series, they will be that much more confident moving forward..

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