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Flyers-Penguins Game 3: The Intermission Blog

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

End of 3rd period.  Penguins 4 – Flyers 1.

There’s not much I can add here.

Except to say that this has quickly become a depressing and deflating series.  As a fan, I hope to see the Flyers put up a fight before it ends.

Middle of 3rd period.  Penguins 3 – Flyers 1.

On Sunday I questioned John Steven’s decision to replace Patrick Thoresen with Steve Downie.  And it appears that doubt was justified.  Once again, Downie permits a turnover that leads directly to a Penguin goal. 

Let me clarify that I am not anti-Downie.  The rookie brings several admirable qualities to every game – incredibly strong puck possession along the boards, goal-scoring potential, and the capacity to irritate his opponents.  But like many rookies, Downie can be a major liability.  He takes ill-timed frustration penalties, commits unforced errors, and has an extremely limited control of his temper.  In comparison, Patrick Thoresen plays a disciplined, defensively responsible, and physical game; all he lacks is the all-important finishing ability. 

In the playoffs, a single mistake is the difference between winning and losing.  With the top two defensemen absent from the lineup, the Flyers really can’t afford a loose cannon like Downie among the forwards.

End of 2nd period.  Penguins 2 – Flyers 1.

End to end hockey for most of the period with sloppiness on both sides.  Randy Jones made a spectacular poke check during a 3-on-1 rush by Pittsburgh, keeping the Penguins’ lead to one. 

The call on the Richards breakaway could have gone either way.  Watching the replay, the Penguin defenseman caught Richards’ skate and the puck at about the same time.  Fortunately, Richards was uninjured in the play.

Richards looks tired.  Perhaps he’s trying to do too much in an effort to boost his team.  If only Jeff Carter would give too much . . . .

The Flyers will need to score early in the third for any hope of winning tonight.  The Penguins typically enact a one-four as soon as they get a lead in the third period, and it’s been a highly effective system against this Flyers squad in the playoffs.  We’ll see what happens.

End of 1st period.  Penguins 2 – Flyers 1.

My train was late today, so I didn’t catch enough of the first period to comment.  More to come following the 2nd and 3rd.

Ryan Parent is in the lineup tonight since Braydon Coburn is out.  The two are very similar in terms of size, but differ in style.  Where Coburn skates fast and can move the puck while remaining defensively responsible, Parent is a true stay-at-home D.  Parent only played about 20 games in the regular season during Derian Hatcher’s broken ankle injury.  He impressed me most with his strong ability to recover despite making the standard mistakes of a young defenseman.  In many ways, I feel he adds greater value to the Flyers roster than Jaroslav Modry.

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