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Flyers: The Comeback Kids

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just when you start to count the Flyers out of a game, they can surprise you with a second gear. The Carolina Hurricanes could tell you about at the Wachovia Center. Or the Washington Capitals could add a few words on the difficulty of maintaining a lead over the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

And based on last night’s performance, the Boston Bruins should be added to the list of teams who are painfully aware of the Flyers’ counterattack.

We say so often that hockey is a game of mistakes, that success depends on “getting back to the basics.” Claude Julien’s Bruins take that mantra to heart. They play a simple system – solid defense, clean passing, and an aggressive forecheck. Once they take control of a game, they rarely surrender it. Moreover, the Bruins know how to utilize their home ice; the Bs had only lost four games at the TD Banknorth Garden prior to last night’s tilt.

It seemed unlikely that the Flyers, struggling to find a rhythm with all the injury and flu casualties, could overcome even a one-goal deficit against the East’s best team in their own barn. But that’s where the counterattack began.

Scottie Upshall intercepted a Marc Savard pass, coverting that turnover into a perfect shot to beat Manny Fernandez and tie the game. Capitalizing on that one Bruin error shifted the momentum into the Flyers’ hands.

The Flyers were able to maintain team composure —even while facing a deficit—to wait for that mistake to happen. Upshall and his teammates had the presence of mind to act swiftly in response to the error (Knuble was driving towards the net from the opposite wing, drawing Chara’s attention and giving Upshall the option to shoot or pass).  That’s the stuff that makes a playoff caliber team.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 1:51 pm

    Well, there goes Leopold.. Good riddance! We got a 22-year old defensive prospect, a second rounder, and some 29-year old Defenseman named Nycholat. Not a terrible deal really. We get some youth and a draft pick, and dump a guy who has been more of an injury problem than an asset.

    No word on Hejduk or Smyth so far.

    • John permalink
      Wednesday, March 4, 2009 2:10 pm

      ESPN is reporting that we are keeping both Hejduk and Smyth, but let’s just say I don’t trust ESPN for my NHL news.

      • John permalink
        Wednesday, March 4, 2009 2:45 pm

        Great, I just found out that the Flaming F*gs had signed the Nycholat guy off of waivers yesterday before trading him to the Avs. If we wanted him so bad, why couldn’t we just claim him in the first place?! Then we could have milked a little extra out of Calgary in this deal.

  2. John permalink
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:45 pm

    Man, I hate to pop everyone’s bubble and all, but how did the Flames come out on top of the Trade Deadline? They acquired an injury-prone defenseman and a guy with absolutely zero Playoff experience.. Maybe I’m biased being an Avs fan, but I fail to see how this is worthy of high praise..

  3. John permalink
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:48 pm

    Anyway, I got my wish and we kept Hejduk and Smyth around. Laperriere was involved in some trade rumors, but he’s still in Colorado, which I can’t say I’m very disappointed about. Sadly though, Budaj wasn’t shipped off at the first decent offer. Is Giguere really THAT convinced that Peter is going to develop into a top-notch netminder?!

  4. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:18 pm

    The Flames are one of those teams the hockey journalists love, and they’ve performed respectably in a tough Western conference. Thus, no matter what they do, it’s a good move. Just like Brian Burke is a genius, regardless of the fact that the designation is derived from one lucky off-season in which he snagged Pronger and Niedermayer.

    The Avs could pick up a goalie in the off-season. Niitymaki, Biron, Lehtonen, Thomas, and Anderson (who’s been good for Florida) will all be available. But since you kept everyone, you’ll need some young guys to move into positions vacated by the old ones, like Foote. Do the Avs have much depth in their system?

    • John permalink
      Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:52 pm

      Yeah well, lucky for me I don’t buy into the hype. I couldn’t help but laugh when they lost to Tampa the other day. It was like 2004 all over again. 😉 Trust me, Brian Burke will never have a place in my heart. He’s the one who made me hate the F*cks, and I don’t see how him inheriting Murray’s team makes him a genius.

      Well I don’t really get the chance to see our affiliate teams in action, but based on what I do know, and as far as ‘much depth’, I’m not sure I’d say yes. We have a few guys on the back end, but like I’ve said, the vast majority of our young talent is on offense. That’s why I’ve been looking for the team to try and improve that aspect. I’d have loved to see us trade Budaj for some youth on defense {Or picks if that was the case} and then call up Weiman or Bacashihua to serve as Raycroft’s backup the rest of the year. And who knows, maybe we’d get lucky and find that one of them was worthy of a full-time gig in net. Not saying I’d put money on that, just some wishful thinking. 🙂

      • Wednesday, March 4, 2009 9:11 pm

        My fingers feel a little tied up just typing Bacashihua. Glad I’m not the one broadcasting his games! 🙂

  5. Carmine permalink
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:24 pm

    In the second period last night you felt the momentum shift the Flyers way when they started to play physical. I knew they would win haha.

    • Wednesday, March 4, 2009 9:10 pm

      The Flyers do seem to derive energy from being physical. And I love watching it when they shift into that gear!

  6. John permalink
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 9:25 pm

    Hmm.. Looks like WP only allows a certain amount of space for replies. Oh well. Anyway, I got some practice with the name by calling him up for duty in PlayStation. If that’s to be relied on {Which I don’t know that many people would do so}, it’s “Bak-osh-shcwa”. I haven’t bothered to research whether that’s correct or not though. I figure Giguere is so enamored with Budaj that it doesn’t matter how to say any other goaltender’s name.. SIGH

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